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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"Pitching is the cornerstone of most championship teams." – Roger Craig

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  • GaryLeeT

    Hmmmm. I am sure everything is pretty much on hold, but I thought the Cubs would have worked out a long term, team friendly, contract with Wood by now. Oh well, those can be done at any time, even during the arbitration process.

    • daverj

      This offseason would be a very bad time to sign Wood long term. I would like to think Epstein and Hoyer are smart enough to pass on a long term extension for Wood. Wood’s underlying skill stats from 2013 indicate that there was a lot of luck involved in his ERA and WHIP numbers.

      Wood is a 4.00-4.50 ERA type pitcher (a lower end 4th or solid 5th starter). The Cubs should not pay him based on 2013.

      I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I’d bet that Edwin Jackson has a better 2014 than Travis Wood.

  • 07GreyDigger

    Don’t forget that mystery team for Tanaka….

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Can we get Clark pair of pants…he is scaring the kids.

    • cubtex

      Clark is absolutely getting blasted in the national media.

      • cc002600

        What is wrong with people today ? Are they that unhappy in their lives that causes them to be so angry about a freakin mascot ? OMG. These people need to get a life. It’s for kids, what is wrong with that ? And oh, by the way, most teams already have a mascot, I don’t hear people up in arms over those mascots.

        • CubbyDenCritic

          San Diego & Philadelphia mascots are great…….
          Rally Monkey at Angels games is not their mascot, but the screen films with him are funny.

          • cubtex

            Benny the Bull is cool as well.

          • GaryLeeT

            Let me know when the Yankees, Red Sox, or Dodgers get a mascot. I think most see it as a way to cheaply divert your eyes from the on field product..

          • CubbyDenCritic

            I think if the Cubs sold more liquor during the games, most fans will be blurry eye and forget where they are at by the sixth inning…….like Harry was when he was in the radio/tv booth.

          • GaryLeeT

            That would involve lowering prices, and we know there is no chance in hell of that ever happening.

          • cc002600

            Oh Please. Get over yourself.
            Yea, I’m sure when the games begin that everyone will be focused on Clark and not on the field. The Cardinals have FredBird, how have they done over the last 50 years or so ? And the yankees did have a mascot at one time. Is this really something that keeps people like you up at night ? Wow. It’s just amazing to me.

          • GaryLeeT

            Lighten up Francis. I really don’t give a crap about the whole thing, I just had a couple of extra minutes to banter.

          • GaryLeeT

            Tony, you up voted that stupid rant?

          • Tony_Hall

            Here you go.

            Wally the Green Monster


          • Tony_Hall

            Only 3 teams don’t have a mascot.


          • GaryLeeT

            1 down 2 to go.

          • Tony_Hall

            FYI – Wally the Green Monster debuted on April 13, 1997.

            Wally does wear shorts at least!

        • triple

          I agree, I couldn’t care less about their decision to have a mascot. So what? It’s marketing, and it will bring in money for the Cubs by selling overpriced dolls to kids who come to baseball games. Maybe it will pay for Paul Maholm or Scott Baker’s contract.

          There is one funny thing that came out of the “Clark the Cub” uproar. Apparently, there were a bunch of photoshopped pics making fun of the new mascot and Comcast sportsnet accidently aired a graphic picture of Clark to their DC viewers.


      • mutantbeast

        The ones who need a kick in the pants is the national “media”.

        • cubtex

          no pun intended with the word “pants”

      • CubbyDenCritic

        The “old timers” did not like the lights……then they yelled at having Marla Collins on the field giving balls to the Umpire……..then they were mad at more night games…then screaming at Milton Bradley……then the new billboards…….now Clark…… due time, Clark will be around until no groups or functions want to hire out his services.

      • cubtex

        Some of these tweets are pretty good. I like the one that describes Clark…No pants, Terrified Eyes….Yep…He’s a Cub.

    • Eugene Debs

      Bears don’t wear pants.

      • GaryLeeT

        So they can easily do their thing in the woods.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Donald Duck doesn’t wear pants and he’s one of the most beloved children characters of all time.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Darwin Barney will get triple salary raise this coming year………may I give Darwin some financial advice!……you my friend are in your final years as a MLB player if you keep on hitting .220…….please look in your rear view mirror and you will see Baez, Watkins & Alcantara on your heals……..all at much lower costs and can provide more offensive……you need to save your money…..invest some in some type of safe mutual fund market………..or you can end up poor and be dancing in a mascot outfit at minor league games.

    • Ripsnorter1

      .220 BA? Where were you last year?
      He hit .208, and .188 in the second half.

      Darwin’s job would be safe if he hit .220–as long as Team Theo runs the team.

    • daverj

      With his glove, Barney likely has a long term future in MLB as a utility infielder. He’ll make plenty of money with a career in that role.

    • Eugene Debs

      Heck, I’d take .220 from Barney…assuming I have to have Barney on my roster.

      To me, he’s a utility infielder. To assume he’s your starter on an MLB team, I hope you have a dynamic lineup around him. Unfortunately, that does not yet describe us.

      Barney is not getting any cheaper either.

  • Sanibelchuck

    Many of you have forgotten the Cubs bobblehead from the 1960s-1970s . Finally it has become a real mascot. Looks like Clark the Cub and the Minnesota Twins mascot are long lost cousins.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Cubs sign 2009 ROY Chris Coghlan !

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Cubs OF candidate list so far for 2014…..
    B Jackson
    C Wells