12/2 Roster moves

The Cubs signed infielder Donnie Murphy and catcher George Kottaras to one-year contracts on Monday, and tendered contracts to seven arbitration eligible players, including Darwin Barney, Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood. The Cubs non-tendered relievers Daniel Bard and Chang-Yong Lim as well as infielder Mat Gamel, who are now free agents. Lim was not eligible for arbitration.

Besides Barney, Samardzija and Wood, the other arbitration-eligible players tendered 2014 contracts include pitchers Pedro Strop and James Russell; infielder Luis Valbuena; and outfielder Nate Schierholtz. A total of 28 players from the Cubs’ 40-man roster were tendered 2014 contracts, including 21 not yet eligible for arbitration.

With all the moves, the Cubs’ 40-man roster now stands at 37 players.

Murphy, 30, who was arbitration eligible, agreed to terms on a $825,000 deal. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Iowa, where he batted .265. In 46 games with the Cubs, Murphy batted .255 and hit 11 home runs.

Kottaras, who also was arbitration eligible, signed a one-year, $1.075 million contract that includes incentives. Acquired last Tuesday from the Royals in a trade for cash considerations, Kottaras made $1 million last season. He is projected to back up Welington Castillo behind the plate.

According to MLBTradeRumors.com, Samardzija is projected to get $4.9 million in 2014, while Schierholtz is projected to get $4.4 million; Wood $3.6 million; Barney $2.1 million; Russell $1.7 million; Valbuena $1.5 million; and Strop $1 million.

The Cubs already have committed $49 million to six players for 2014 and will be paying $14 million to the Yankees to cover the last year of Alfonso Soriano’s contract.

The Cubs are keeping an eye on the now expanded list of free agents. Last year, they signed Schierholtz after he was non-tendered by the Phillies, and the outfielder became a regular in right field. Schierholtz set career highs in home runs (21), doubles (32) and RBIs (68), and led the team with a .259 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Bard, once a dominant set-up pitcher with the Red Sox, was claimed off waivers in September. At that time, Theo Epstein, who knew Bard from his Boston days, said the Cubs were committed to the right-hander for the long haul. Bard had struggled after the Red Sox tried to convert him to a starter and battled a strained abdominal muscle this season.

When he joined the Cubs, Bard did not get into a game but worked on the side with pitching coach Chris Bosio. They videotaped the sessions, even though Bard was unaware of the cameras as the Cubs hid one in the ivy and another in a door at Wrigley Field.

Bard, 28, appeared in three games in Puerto Rico last month, but retired only one of the 13 batters he faced. He walked nine, hit three batters, and threw four wild pitches in those outings. The Cubs could still re-sign Bard, who made $1.8625 million this year.

Gamel, 28, sidelined most of this season because of a torn right anterior cruciate ligament, was acquired off waivers from the Brewers in early October. Lim, 37, signed as a free agent with the Cubs, and appeared in six games in September.

– Carrie Muskat

7 Comments

Well that was a busy day! Right down to the wire! Onward and upward from here. I am liking management decisions.

to Carrie Muskat
I’ve seen you write multiple times that the Cubs have $49 million committed to six players. According to baseball reference the number is $30.25 million. Jackson $13m, Castro $5m, Villanueva $5m, Fujikawa $4.5m, Sweeney $1.5m, and Rizzo $1.25m for a total of $30.25m. Please explain your numbers.

I haven’t looked into it, but the Cubs still owe Soriano most of his contract for next year. Maybe between his contract, international signings, and players on the 40-man roster who are pre-arbitration eligible, that’s where the difference in your numbers comes from?

She wrote $49m committed to SIX players. Those are the six players who were under contract as of the original time she wrote the story.

Well then I guess there’s no choice but to send her to Siberia for getting the wrong contract information. By the way, I just checked on baseball-reference.com and it says the Cubs are committed to 7 players at 47.5 million (the 7th is newly-signed Kottaras and it does not count Donnie Murphy who just signed too, and it counts $13 million for Soriano, $2 million to Soler, and $1.2 million to Gerardo Concepcion, but does not count any of them as player the Cubs are committed to since they will not be on the 25-man roster at the start of the season). Plus, contract info is not always easy to come by and can be off by a bit when you do come by it, thanks to extensions, buyouts, incentives, money owed to former players, ect. that may or may not be counted in the payroll. So it’s tough to get exact payroll info, especially at this point in the year when rosters are far from finalized. But yeah, I guess Bud Selig should suspend Carrie for 211 days. Of course, she’ll probably appeal and be allowed to write during the appeal process, and will probably just storm out of the arbitration hearing anyway.

I’m out of a job as hitting coach, but I luv to read that Theo has to pay these certain players because they had carrier years, and There’s a few of em….? Cash in boys!!!

I for one am glad your gone Rob Deer. OBP and BA of the youngsters took a huge nose dive in your one year as hitting coach.
I dont know what a carrier year is, but the best of luck to Rizzo, Castro and Barney coming back from your year of instructions.

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