as we approach the draft (check out erik's work at FRB) i thought some might be interested in a bit of financial information now available at: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2007/33/07mlb_The-Business-Of-Baseball_Rank.html
the short of it is those on the money making side of the cards operation appear to be doing a pretty good job. at $194M in revenues, they are 8th (cubs are 5th at $214M) vs. 21st ranked tv market. nonetheless, cards are estimated to be the 6th most valuable franchise in baseball ($484M; cubs are 5th here too). the cards, however, are in the upper (bad) half of all teams in terms of debt burden, as are many teams that financed their own stadiums (51% vs 0% for the cubs).
i have not looked up payrolls, but i suspect the cards and other teams with high debt/equity ratios do have difficulty allocating the same fraction of revenue to payroll or draft/free-agent signings. overall, mo and jeff have their work cut out for them, if they intend to contend with the higher net revenue teams like the cubs. it will be interesting to see how they go in the draft. i suspect they are actually one of the teams that would like to see slot limits more uniformly applied. hence the age-old question remains: where should they spend their money tomorrow, major league roster or the draft/free agent process with an eye toward a cost effective future?