From the Wire: Cubs Avoid Arbitration with Travis Wood

According to multiple reports, the Cubs and Travis Wood have avoided arbitration. Wood agreed to a one-year contract for the upcoming season worth $3.9 million. The two sides were not able to agree to a deal prior to last Friday’s deadline to file salary arbitration numbers. Wood filed at $4.25 million and the Cubs submitted a $3.5 million figure.

The Cubs and Wood were rumored to be working on a multi-year contract earlier in the off-season, but those rumblings quieted soon after they surfaced. Wood received a nice bump in pay from the $527,000 he earned last season is his first year of arbitration eligibility.

The Cubs have avoided arbitration with seven of their 10 arbitration eligible players for the upcoming season. Donnie Murphy ($825,000, plus incentives), George Kottaras ($1.075 million), Luis Valbuena ($1.71 million), Pedro Strop ($1.325 million), Nate Schierholtz ($5 million) and James Russell ($1.775 million) have already agreed to contracts for the 2014 season.

The Cubs have three arbitration eligible players unsigned … Jeff Samardzija, Darwin Barney and Justin Ruggiano. Jeff Samardzija filed a $6.2 million figure last week and the Cubs filed at $4.4 million. Darwin Barney filed at $2.8 million and the Cubs submitted a $1.8 salary arbitration number. Justin Ruggiano filed at $2.45 million while the Cubs countered at $1.6 million.

Teams can avoid salary arbitration with players until the two sides walk into the hearing. Salary arbitration hearings will be scheduled between Feb. 1 and Feb. 21 this year. Players and clubs typically meet in the middle of the two filing numbers in order to avoid the hearing. If the player goes to arbitration the independent arbiter can either rule in favor of the team or in favor of the player.

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  • CubbyDenCritic

    To save money, because I know Ricketts is cash poor, I would trade/waive Barney and put Watkins at second until Alcantara is ready……..we are not going anywhere in 2014, so why carry Barney!……Weak hitting Gold Gloves don’t do much for a team in last place anyway.

    • jtrain23

      I wonder what the trade market would be for Barney at this point. He has a great glove, and if it were last offseason, his offensive numbers were respectable enough to give him some value. But at this point, I think the market would be rock bottom for him.
      I say play him and hope he comes out with a solid average the first month or two and then move him. A fast start would help his value, plus there could be a team desperate for infield depth by then.

      • daverj

        You could probably get a C-C+ level reliever prospect for Barney from a contender that would use him in a utility roles. I’d rather hold on to him for now.

        • jtrain23

          I feel the same way. His value can only go up. All it takes is one injury and a team will be willing to overpay for the services of a guy like Barney.

    • paulcatanese

      And what kind of money are they saving on Barney? It’s chump change in regards what the Cubs have dealt out to non-productive players over the last two years. Players that have been injured, surgeries, etc. Just Baker alone outshines the contract that Barney is asking for. Plus Barney is here, ready to go out on the field to play, VS the ones that have signed and who knows when and if they will play.
      While I agree there needs to be an upgrade if Barney in fact does not hit, his contract and the paltry sum he is asking for should be a moot point.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Oh come on, Paul! What are you doing–talking common sense when you are speaking about the Cubs? Don’t you know those two things do not go together???? LOL

        Yup. Scott Baker and his $6.5 million for 3 starts. Fastball off 6 MPH. Not coming back. Theo bought a lot of good will with that move, didn’t he? LOL

        • paulcatanese

          Bring back Campana:)

          • Ripsnorter1

            I guess you can talk silly if you want to….
            : )

            Here’s what they should do for 2014–just bring up Brett Jackson and say, “Play CF everyday.” If he hits .106, he hits .106. He can catch the ball. Forget paying Ruggiano any arby money. Forget playing Coughlan. Bring up Vitters, too. Let ‘em play.

          • paulcatanese

            I think we all (at least a lot of us) said the same thing a couple of years ago and Quade did, but did not play them,
            But agree, let these guys play, it could not be worse. The difference is, these guys have upside instead of trying to bring the old “lightning in a bottle” syndrome with the re-treads.

      • Ripsnorter1

        They traded Ryan Theriot away for nothing just because he took his arby case vs. Jim Hendry to the arbitrator. And Theriot wanted $2.8 million, if I recall correctly. He lost, but Hendry was sore about it, and dealt him away. The Cubs got exactly nothing for him and Ted Lilly. Wait, they got $2.5 million and Mr. DeWitt, who did not work out for us.

        • Dorasaga

          I concur. Hendry didn’t like Theriot a bit.

          • Eugene Debs

            Why would he?

          • Dorasaga

            Because Theriot helped the team win. Hendry would not like any player who took his own case to arbitration. He took issues more personal than business. He would rather create a happy family with the smallest front office in baseball, rather than build a winning organization top to bottom.

  • cubtex

    Mooney adds in a separate tweet that he hears Wood’s preference is to go year-to-year with the Cubs rather than discuss a long-term deal.

    Another pitcher who is not sold on the “rebuild”

    • CubbyDenCritic

      He is 26…..
      Left Handed starting pitcher…..
      Does not have arm issues….
      Will make more later then signing now….
      But we do have him until 2017…..
      and Wood can always change his mind.
      Otherwise, he has great trade value if he refuses to sign long term at the end.

    • J Daniel

      If you were a pitcher and the offense and defense provided to you is the one they are currently providing, would you want to go any more than a year? Especially when they are asking for a home town discount?

      • cubtex

        If I was a guy like Wood I might. He doesn’t throw mid 90’s. He had a great year(It could be the best numbers that he will ever put up in his career) It is a gamble that any soft tossing pitcher faces. What happens if he re-gresses the next couple of years? Do you not think that is possible? Obviously he is willing to gamble that he doesn’t and isn’t ready to commit long term to the organization based on the current state of the team.

        • J Daniel

          I do agree and think he will regress but you know how athletes think.

        • BosephHeyden

          Even if he regresses, he’s still going to have an above average shot at a very nice pay day should he choose to hit free agency. He’s a left handed starter and he’s playing for a Cubs team that doesn’t project to do well in most parts of the game: a good agent can sell any shortcoming he may have on the Cubs.

        • Ripsnorter1

          He’s going to regress. Sorry, but he will.

          • Eugene Debs

            I hope not!

    • TheWrongGuy

      Until the rooftop association/owners back-off and the 20 year bad contract is gone or removed. I believe we will see this as a normality, Ray. All players know and read the news about what is going on in the Wrigleyville community. At least the players responses closely resemble the rooftops reluctance to give-in. As the rooftop association/owners battle The Rickett’s, the CUBS players show the same reluctance to sign and or remain with the CUBS. This is at least this is my observation. Now with lawsuits beginning to come about I believe we will see less CUBS FA signings and players wanting to stick around till the end of the rebuild.
      From my point of view on The Ricketts': I wouldn’t want to spend money on a better product at the MLB level either if I am wanting the rooftop association/owners to sell or go bankrupt. Just a thought about the 2 different views.
      1. Yes a better team on the field will bring more money to the team. but it will not remove the rooftops from the picture.
      2. A bad product on the field for rooftop owners means bad sales for them.

      • JasonPen

        True fans would boycott the rooftops anyways…

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Roof Top owners will not back down….they have a signed contract from both sides, and want the Cubs to live up to that contract……courts always side with a signed contract……what the Roof Top owners want from the Cubs is extorting more money with putting these bleacher signs on their roofs and getting a percentage from the revenue……that won’t happen……….there is talk that several of these roof top owners are near to foreclosure……will the Ricketts go in and buy these properties at auction?…could happen…….and there is a boycott list that will be published by another Cubs site of which Wrigleyville businesses that want to sue the Cubs……….we might see more action outside the park this year then inside.

    • daverj

      Enforcing rights under a contract is not “extortion”.

      • cc002600

        It’s funny you say that, b/c I agree. First off, let me say that I do not like the rooftops and wish they would go away, just like everyone else. But, but, but here’s the thing. They DO have a contract. A 20 year contract that they signed and invested money into their businesses after it was signed. I cannot blame them one bit for being pissed that the cubs are now trying to block their view. Anyone else in their shoes would be pissed as well. Yes, they would have no product without the cubs, but the cubs did sign a contract with them. It is what it is.

        Having said that, I hope like hell they can resolve this thing and the cubs can move forward, Its mind-boggling at how long its taking.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Threatening the Cubs with lawsuits if they do not get the revenue from the new Cubs signs and holding up the Cubs progress…….yeah, that is “extortion”.

        • daverj

          I don’t particularly like the rooftop owners, but the Cubs are responsible for creating part of this mess with the contract they signed. There is nothing wrong with the rooftop owners pursuing court action with respect to any legal right they may have under contract or at law. That is not extortion.

          • CubbyDenCritic

            So let the Cubs add the bleacher signs and if the Roof Top owners don’t like it, Tuff S***…..those billboards are on Cubs property, and there are no city restrictions on the Cubs to block Roof Top owners views……let the Roof Top owner build higher elevated seat on their buildings.

          • daverj

            Even if there are no city restrictions, the rooftop owners may be able to stop the Cubs from doing so or may be able to pursue the Cubs for damages. The contract with the rooftop owners may contains language that prevents the Cubs from doing so. In addition, the rooftop owners may have certain rights under the law which they could pursue in court if the Cubs added the bleacher signs.

            I’m guessing (pure speculation since I don’t know the details) that the Cubs were concerned about the legal rights of the rooftop owners under law and that is why the Cubs decided to enter into the 20 year contract with the rooftop owners in the first place.

          • Dorasaga

            I agree. I also found the rooftops respectable for uniting under a common, short-term goal (value of property and venue, instead of the long-term development for the neighborhood). Too bad it’s just that the Cubs need to fight them in court.

      • JasonPen

        Maybe someone on here is a lawyer and can explain how the Ricketts got stuck with that 20 year contract when they bought the team… They weren’t the one’s who signed it… I would think there would have had to have been a clause in there somewhere.

        • daverj

          Generally, when an entity is acquired, the new owner takes on all the contracts previously signed by the entity. During the due diligence period of the transaction prior to closing, Ricketts would typically have the opportunity to review all of the contracts entered into by the Cubs ownership so he could decide whether or not to proceed with the transaction.

          Edited: To add “generally” to the beginning of the first sentence.

          • daverj

            The are exceptions when the buyer would not be bound by the contract entered into by the seller, but without knowledge of all the facts, I doubt any of them would apply here.

            Think about what the ramifications would be if a buyer could get out of contract made by the prior owner. Ricketts wouldn’t have been bound to pay Soriano or the other “bad” player contracts.

          • paulcatanese

            I believe you are correct. The only thing that stands out is left to the imagination that Ricketts needed a better attorney or did not explore all of the ramifications of the future and what could the transaction could bring. Someone dropped the ball at the very beginning.
            Not giving any fault here as this may have been the dream of a lifetime for Ricketts, just maybe he should have taken a little more time and looked things over.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    By my calculations, Barney and his agent must think the gold glove is worth about $2.7m.

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  • Eugene Debs

    It’s funny, but when we were a 90 win team, the rooftops were cool and eclectic and it was a good move to share in their revenues.

    Then, we get bought with a credit card and the wizards that made the purchase just assumed everyone would love their vision of the future and roll over to accommodate their wishes.

    Now, we are a 90 loss team with no money and “oops I guess we didn’t read the contract.” Meanwhile, fans are staying away, tv ratings are tanking (threatening a good payday there as well), the remodel is years away and we have no money.

    I do not relish this. It stinks. I think the Cubs needed the rebuild but we slashed and burned with a lot of assumptions about what others would be willing to do with us. Now there are rumors that the Cubs are surprised by how much it takes to run a team? WHAT?!

    Who are these guys?

    • paulcatanese

      Good post, but these guys? They are the ones that are re-building with pebbles instead of bricks. It takes a lot longer to build with pebbles, but then they are cheaper than bricks.