Players File for Salary Arbitration and Other Cubs News and Notes

Tuesday was the deadline for eligible players to file for salary arbitration. 146 players across the league filed for salary arbitration, including the eight remaining players on the Cubs’ roster. It is not believed the front office will end up in an arbitration hearing in February (Feb. 1 – Feb. 21) with Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Darwin Barney, Luis Valbuena, Justin Ruggiano, Pedro Strop, Nate Schierholtz or James Russell.

Darwin Barney said last month he has spoken with management about his contract for next season and indicated the two sides are on the same page with his salary number. The Cubs have spoken to Nate Schierholtz’s agent as well and there is not expected to be any delays on getting him under contract for one more year.

Travis Wood, Justin Ruggiano, Pedro Strop and Darwin Barney are arbitration eligible for the first time while James Russell, Jeff Samardzija and Luis Valbuena are eligible for the second time in their careers and remain under team control for two more seasons.

Friday is the deadline for players and teams to exchange salary arbitration numbers. And several of the Cubs arbitration eligible players will likely be under contract for next season by the time the Cubs Convention begins.

Masahiro Tanaka

It was a rather quiet Tuesday on the Masahiro Tanaka front. Teams are keeping the process quiet and the speculation continued. It is unknown at this point what exactly Masahiro Tanaka is looking for in terms of a contract or situation. And depending on the source, Team-X is the frontrunner or favorite to land Tanaka over Team-Y because of (fill in the blank) …

The Cubs are involved in the process and are expected to be one of the last teams standing on Jan. 24 when the announcement is made on which team signed Masahiro Tanaka.

Baseball America posted a report on why Daisuke Matsuzaka’s performance should encourage teams to sign Masahiro Tanaka. Daisuke Matsuzaka was effective prior to the shoulder injury that derailed his career in 2009 after he was named MVP of the World Baseball Classic. Ben Badler pointed out that any long-term contract for a pitcher is a risk.

Andrew Marchand spoke to a National League GM that thinks with the way the Yankees’ roster is currently constructed they are “more of an 80-win team than a 90-win team” and they need to sign Masahiro Tanaka.

In his report of the missing links for every NL team, Jim Bowden thinks the combination of Jeff Samardzija and Masahiro Tanaka at the top of the Cubs’ rotation “would give them a solid duo they will desperately need with their young position players are finally ready.”

Most are thinking the Yankees will win the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes and it could cost them $140 million over seven years, plus the $20 million release fee, to sign him. According to the Sun-Times, Tanaka could be out of the White Sox price range.

The deadline to sign Masahiro Tanaka is in nine days … Jan. 24 at 4:00pm CST.

Suk-Min Yoon

Earlier in the off-season the Cubs were thought to be one of the teams interested in signing RHP Suk-Min Yoon. Yoon returned to Korea prior to the holidays and left his big league future up to his agent, Scott Boras.

The Red Sox, Twins and two other teams have expressed interest in signing Yoon over the last week and he is expected back in the States on Wednesday (Jan. 15).

Reports and rumors surrounding Yoon are heating up and Major League Baseball requested a status check on Suk-Min Yoon. According to the report from Korea, the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization) has informed MLB that Yoon is eligible for free agency. “Under an agreement between MLB and the KBO, a big league team interested in a South Korean player must go through the background check through the league offices.”

News and Notes

Kevin Towers thinks the Cubs hired the right manager in Rick Renteria. According to a report from Patrick Mooney, Renteria was on Towers list to manage the D-Backs when he became the team’s GM. Patrick Mooney asked the question, is Rick Renteria the right manager at the right time for the Cubs?

The Cubs were not surprised by the criticism they received over the team’s new mascot, Clark the Cub. Julian Green addressed the backlash they received and said he is “disappointed at some of the unfortunate images” of Clark on the Internet “that went from negative to despicable.”

Former Cubs’ outfielder and minor league hitting coach, Jason Dubois was named the hitting coach for the Brewers’ short-season team in Helena.

According to Corey Brock, the Padres hired former Cubs’ bench coach Jamie Quirk to manage their High-A team, the Lake Elsinore Storm. And Jody Davis will be Quirk’s hitting coach.

Sports Illustrated gave the Cubs a preliminary grade of ‘C’ for their off-season but acknowledged “the grade is something of an incomplete.” SI said the small moves the team made “were solid ones and Rick Renteria arrives with an excellent reputation.”

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Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt