1/17 Four Cubs sign; four swap numbers

The Cubs avoided arbitration with outfielder Nate Schierholtz, infielder Luis Valbuena and relievers James Russell and Pedro Strop on Friday, and exchanged salary figures with their other four arbitration eligible players, including Jeff Samardzija.

Schierholtz signed for $5 million, while Valbuena agreed to a $1.71 million contract and Russell signed a $1.775 million deal with the Cubs. Strop signed a $1.325 million contract.

The other four arbitration eligible players exchanged salary figures. The Cubs offered Samardzija $4.4 million, and he is seeking $6.2 million. Travis Wood filed for $4.25 million, and the Cubs countered at $3.5 million; Darwin Barney filed for $2.8 million, and the team offered $1.8 million. Justin Ruggiano, who the Cubs acquired in a trade with the Marlins for Brian Bogusevic, was seeking $2.45 million, and the team offered $1.6 million.

The players and the Cubs will continue to negotiate. Arbitration hearings are scheduled for Feb. 1-21 if no settlement is reached before then.

— Carrie Muskat


Carrie, I’m a big cubs fan, I would like to say that I’m the biggest cubs fan ever but I know u heard that before from other fans, but know body know the cubs like you do, so my question is do u really think that the cubs will get tanaka, and do u think that the cubs should spend that much money on tanaka, or do I think that they could use that money to get two pitcher like maybe, jimenez, or Santana, or maybe even try to get garza back, I just think that getting to qaulity arms is better than one…

Both Jimenez and Santana are over 30 and would cost the Cubs draft picks, so signing them is not likely to happen. And while Garza won’t cost a pick, he is 30 and has a recent injury history, which the Cubs know about all too well. They are going hard after Tanaka because he’s 25 and his best years are ahead of him, which would fit nicely into their rebuild window. If they don’t get him, look for them to get another Paul Maholm or Scott Feldman type, where they can get him for cheap, build up his value over the first three months of the season, then flip him for prospects at the deadline. Someone like a Jason Hammel or Jeff Nieman, or maybe even Paul Maholm again. Hopefully this will be the last season of the sign them and flip them strategy and the Cubs will be ready to compete in 2015, but for now they’re not quite there yet so keep the kids coming Theo!

@ Doug I don’t think that the cubs should pay this tanaka guy 25 or 26 mill a year, I don’t care how young he is, so what if he went 24-0 in japan, he has to prove him self in the U.S.A were u got guys like votto, and mcclutchin, and Giancarlo Stanton , and Ryan Bryan, I just don’t want him to be a bust like other japan players that have come to the USA, the only good japan pitcher that’s has lived up to his hype is YU from Texas, if this tanaka guy doesn’t live up to his hype in Chicago the cubs are stuck with paying this guy all that money, it’s just a chance I won’t take if I was theo, I would rather go for the maholm and Feldman, hammel, its just better to be safe then sorry

If he could only sign a one-year deal, then waiting to see if he can establish himself in the Majors makes sense. The problem with that train of thought is he’s not going to sign for less than 6 years and $100 million. So if the Cubs take the “we don’t want him until he proves himself in the Major Leagues” approach, they won’t have a shot at him again until he’s 31. He might have established himself by then, but then your concerns are you don’t want him on the downside of his career, paying for past performance over projected performance, and increased risk for injury. So pick your poison. Right now, I’m willing to take the chance that he is as good as advertised and go from there. And the beauty of it right now is, if he turns out to stink or be hurt, this one deal will not destroy any chance the Cubs have at spending any money, so there’s a lot more reward than risk involved here!
As for Japanese pitchers, the only massive failure I can recall is Hideki Irabu, and he was kind of a jerk from day one. Sure, Dice-K didn’t pan out, but that was due to injuries which could just as easily happen to any American pitcher his age. He was pretty solid his first two years before injuries caught up to him. Then there’s Hiroki Kuroda, who has been a solid middle of the rotation guy for the Dodgers and now the Yankees for the past six seasons. Then there’s Hisashi Iwakuma of the Mariners, who looks to be their #2 starter behind Felix Hernandez. Plus, I think scouting has advanced so much in today’s world from 20 years ago when Hideo Nomo was first looking to come over, that there’s a lot less guess work as to whether or not a certain player will succeed in the Big Leagues. Every team has a Pacific Rim scouting department now and every team has been watching this guy for at least a year now. Sure, there are still a few questions left unanswered, but ability wise I’m sure most teams have an extensive scouting book on Tanaka already (if not to sign him, then for when they face him for the first time next season) and know how he would stack up against big league hitting.

Go ahead Doug,i can feel it coming,BAM!

I’m sorry, but when was the last Japanese pitcher who transferred to the states and lead a team to a pennant or actually became the phenom every general manager thinks he was going to become? You want to spend 25 million? Spread it around with many good arms and increase your odds for success. I don’t think the Cubs will get Tanaka for a multitude of reasons, so the issue is moot in my opinion, but all the speculation adds to allowing Cub fans in particular and baseball fans in general to be part of the process and involved during the winter months when fantasies can be concocted. Eh, Theo?

Darvish, Ishawama (sp?)

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