The Chicago Cubs yesterday named Don Zimmer manager, giving him his fourth shot as a major league manager and reuniting him with the team he helped coach in 1984 to its first championship since 1945.

"The point is Jim Frey {recently appointed Cubs' director of baseball operations} has got the biggest job he's ever had," Zimmer said at a Wrigley Field news conference. "I don't think Jim Frey would hire me if he didn't think I could do the job. . . . I think this ball club has got to be picked up a little bit to where they're going to have fun just like I'm going to have fun."

Zimmer had just signed a two-year contract as third base coach with the San Francisco Giants . . .

Dwight Gooden says he might consider leaving the New York Mets when he becomes a free agent in 1990 if he does not get a multiyear contract, while the team appears reluctant to offer such a package, according to reports in Newsday. The newspaper quoted Gooden as saying that if he didn't get a multiyear contract this winter, "I won't bother asking next year."

Gooden signed a one-year contract last spring for $1.5 million. He did not pitch until June because of cocaine rehabilitation. He was 15-7 with a 3.21 ERA . . .

The payrolls of half the major league teams dropped last season while the World Series champion Minnesota Twins showed the sharpest increase, according to figures released by the Player Relations Committee to teams.

The New York Yankees had the top payroll at $18.5 million and Seattle the lowest at $5.6 million. Atlanta was second at $14.4 million with Los Angeles and the New York Mets also over $14 million. The Twins' payroll increased nearly $3.5 million to $13.3 million.

The average player's salary dropped from $410,517 in 1986 to $402,094, according to the PRC.