Arbitration, Compensation, Cespedes … and Other Cubs News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs avoided arbitration with six players on Tuesday. Jeff Baker ($1.375 million), Blake DeWitt ($1.1 million), Geovany Soto ($4.3 million), Ian Stewart ($2.3755 million), Chris Volstad ($2.655 million) and Randy Wells ($2.705 million) received pay increases from their 2011 salary. The Cubs exchanged salary arbitration figures with Matt Garza but did not agree to a contract. Garza submitted a $10.255 million arbitration number and the Cubs countered with $7.95 million. Garza was paid $5.95 million last season.

With Volstad’s salary figure for 2012 settled, the Cubs can complete the trade for Carlos Zambrano. The Cubs will end up paying $15.345 million of Zambrano’s $18 million salary for the upcoming season.

Speaking of compensation … according to a report from the Sun-Times, the Cubs and Red Sox have asked Bud Selig to set compensation for Theo Epstein. The Red Sox have asked for the nearly three-month stalemate to be resolved by the commissioner. The request for the compensation to be settled was apparently made last month by the Red Sox’s President and CEO Larry Lacchino.

The Cubs have not announced the corresponding roster move in order to officially add Kerry Wood to the 40-man roster. The Cubs and Wood agreed to a one-year contract for $3 million that includes a club option for 2013 worth $3 million last week … and announced the deal at the convention.

Pitchers and Catchers officially report to Fitch Park in one month … February 18.

Here’s the update …

Yoenis Cespedes
Multiple reports have the Cubs being extremely interested in Yoenis Cespedes, even one in Spanish with the details coming from the Cuban outfielder.

Cespedes is in the process of establishing residency in the Dominican Republic. Once he does he will be able to apply for free agency and sign with a Major League team.

Jason McLeod told that he is impressed with Cespedes and compared him to a younger, faster Marlon Byrd.

“It’s funny, because we have a guy on the Cubs now that compares to him when he was younger,” McLeod said. “He reminds me somewhat of Marlon Byrd. Cespedes is a better runner than Marlon was when he was younger, but he’s a stocky, strong right-handed hitter who can play center field. He has power and he can throw. He’s built like an NFL running back. He’s really put together well. He has a chance to play center field in the major leagues, to hit and to hit for power..”

According to McLeod in an ideal world Yoenis Cespedes would play in the minors before joining a big league team but that would depend how he performs in Spring Training … if he’s signed and in camp in time.

Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein ranked the Cubs as the team most likely to sign Yoenis Cespedes … and FanGraphs asked the question, is Yoenis Cespedes a good fit for the Chicago Cubs?

Chattin’ with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat on, here are the highlights:

  • If the Cubs are able to trade Alfonso Soriano and if Brett Jackson is ready out of Spring Training, Marlon Byrd can be moved around the Cubs outfield … that is, if Byrd is not traded.
  • Jason McLeod told Bruce Levine that he thinks Jorge Soler has a chance to be a big-time power hitter.
  • According to Levine, Theo Epstein has said they are in the stage of exploring the possibility of signing Matt Garza to a long-term deal … but a long-term deal would not necessarily mean they will not trade him.
  • Levine is not sure that Darwin Barney will be the Cubs’ starting second baseman on Opening Day. Levine thinks the consensus may be that Barney could be a terrific backup at short and second. The Cubs might have another idea for second base with a possible trade before Opening Day.
  • The Cubs have been shopping Marlon Byrd all winter.
  • As for trading Alfonso Soriano for another bad contract, Levine does not think that will happen. The Cubs’ new regime does not want to do that … a bad contract for a bad contract. So the Brian Roberts and Adam Dunn rumors are mostly fan driven.
  • The Cubs have seven options for their starting staff … Levine does not think they are looking at acquiring another veteran starting pitcher.

Compensation for Theo Epstein
The Red Sox have asked for Bud Selig to settle the three-month old issue, after Theo Epstein seemed to downplay his own compensation again last week on WEEI.

What is at issue is how much the Cubs should give the Red Sox for hiring Epstein away from Boston. According to the Sun-Times, it is unclear how long Selig will take and it is unclear whether the solution will involve sending a player or players to the Red Sox.

“Longtime baseball officials say they can’t recall a similar case of compensation for the hiring of a manager or front-office official being disputed to this degree for so long, particularly one involving such a high-profile exec as Epstein.”

2012 Cubs Convention
For those that missed the CCO’s coverage of the 2012 Cubs Convention, here are the links …

I also spent a little time with Tim Sheridan at the convention. Sheridan is the PA Announcer at HoHoKam Park and runs his own site, ‘Boys of Spring‘. Sheridan always has excellent coverage of Spring Training and provides the first info and photos from Mesa when pitchers and catchers report. For another view of the convention, visit ‘Boys of Spring‘.

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Edited 6:22am CT

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon