From the Wire: Cubs Avoid Arbitration with Nate Schierholtz and James Russell

According to a report from Jerry Crasnick, the Cubs avoided arbitration with Nate Schierholtz and have signed the outfielder to a one-year contract worth $5 million. The Cubs and Schierholtz agreed to the one-year contract that was expected for the final season he will be under team control. The report did not indicate if an incentives package is included in Schierholtz’s deal.

Nate Schierholtz earned $2.75 million last season ($2.25 million base and $500,000 in performance bonuses) in what ended up being a career year for Schierholtz. He hit .251/.301/.470/.770 with career highs in doubles (32), home runs (21), RBI (68) and plate appearances.

According to Joel Sherman, the Cubs avoided arbitration with James Russell and signed the lefty to a one-year, $1.775 million contract. Russell made $1.075 million in 2013 and the agreement falls in the middle of his projected salary for 2014 ($1.6-1.95 million).

James Russell posted a 1-6 record in 74 games last season with a 3.59 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Russell gave up 46 hits in 52 2/3 innings with 18 walks and 37 strikeouts.

The Cubs agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Luis Valbuena for $1.71 million to avoid arbitration as well on Friday.

The Cubs have avoided arbitration with five of the ten players on their roster arbitration eligible for the upcoming season. Donnie Murphy (one-year, $825,000 plus incentives) and George Kottaras (one-year, $1.075 million plus incentives) agreed to their contracts in December.

Friday (12:00pm CST) was the deadline for players and teams to exchange salary arbitration numbers. The Cubs have five arbitration eligible players the front office still has to work out a deal with for next season:

Jeff Samardzija ($5-6 million; $2.64 million base in 2013, plus $125,000 bonus), Travis Wood ($3.2-4 million; $527,000 in 2013), Darwin Barney ($1.8-2.2 million; $562,000), Justin Ruggiano ($825,000-$950,000; $494,500 in 2013) and Pedro Strop ($1-1.2 million; $503,000 in 2013)

Reports have suggested the Cubs and Jeff Samardzija might need a little more time to agree on a contract for the 2014 season. There have not been any indications the two sides are making progress on a long-term extension.

The Cubs and Darwin Barney could not reach an agreement on a contract for the 2014 season prior to Friday’s deadline. The two sides will exchange salary arbitration numbers. Barney recently said he and the team were on the same page on his salary number for next season. Something must have changed over the last month.

Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Pedro Strop and Justin Ruggiano have also exchanged salary arbitration numbers with the team.

Salary arbitration hearings take place from Feb. 1- Feb. 21 this year if they player and his team are not able to agree on a contract before entering the room. The team and the player can agree on a deal to avoid the hearings until they walk into the room. The Cubs have not gone to arbitration with a player under the Theo Epstein administration.

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  • paulcatanese

    Don’t understand the Barney situation, he (Barney) wants less money and the Cubs are insisting he take more, never going to get that one done:)

  • 07GreyDigger

    I wonder why the Cubs and Darwin Barney aren’t on the same page…

    • triple

      I’ve heard rumblings that Darwin wants a no-trade clause… and that he was upset that they wouldn’t let him wear the “Clark the Cub” costume on his off days.

      • 07GreyDigger

        At the rate his offensive abilities are going, Barney may have to find work as Clark the Cub.

        • triple

          That would be hilarious! Just imagine Barney dressed up as Clark the Cub going into a hospital wearing his Darwin Barney jersey! The kids would be doubly excited to realize their buddy Clark is a former ballplayer and gold glove winner.

          • Dorasaga

            “Barney the Clark,” hmmm, I like how this sounds!

      • paulcatanese

        I know he’s being knocked by many for his offensive woes, myself included, but one thing is constant, he does give 100%. I know it bothers him, and he is probably busting his butt to improve.
        And if asked, he would wear the costume, at this stage he would try anything. All said, I wish him well and
        hope he gets it together, he knows what’s in store for him if he can’t.

        • triple

          Paul, I know Barney isn’t great offensively, but I’ve never knocked his ability here. And as you do, I really appreciate his hustle. And there is no denying that he provides the best defense of the whole team. Pitchers gotta love having him at 2nd base.

          I remember back to the 80′s before the steroid era that it always seemed like most teams had at least one starter (usually a SS or C) that would bat in the .220s or .230s. And honestly, now that we are past the steroid era, I think some people need to accept and understand that there will be some players that don’t hit well, but can still contribute with their gloves, or by hitting about 20 HR’s. And especially due to the expansion of the 90′s. Those 4 new teams watered down the quality of major league ballplayers by 100 players. Remember that’s about 3-4 players per team that used to play in AAA. So there’s no reason that there still wouldn’t be some starters in the league with low BA’s that look like they don’t belong.

          Darwin plays the game the right way, and he’s proved he belongs. Unfortunately, in another year or two, if his BA doesn’t come back up, he will end up serving as a backup IF for the rest of his career.

  • triple

    I just heard on the MLB network that the vote was unanimously in favor of expanding replay.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    MLB pay is so odd…

    I feel Valbuena and Murphy were a lot more valuable than Schierholtz, yet he gets paid more than both combined.

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      I had to give myself an arrow up to combat the grumpy gus Schierholtz fan out there…

      Let’s face it…the guy had on OBP of under .310…if that is a career year, then he hasn’t had much of a career. That is a Dusty Baker kind of player. I thought Theo was about high OBP?

      We don’t need Nate.

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