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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