Arbitration is Looming for Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs

As previously reported, Jeff Samardzija’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for Monday in St. Petersburg. And while the two sides are reportedly trying to agree on what Samardzija should be paid for the upcoming season, Bruce Levine indicated Friday the Cubs and Samardzija remain $100,000 apart in the negotiations.

Jeff Samardzija has been at the Cubs’ facility preparing for Spring Training and according to a report from Carrie Muskat, Theo Epstein “was in Arizona this week to get settled in the Cubs’ new Spring Training facility in Mesa.”

The Cubs have not gone to arbitration with a player since Ryan Theriot in 2010 and before Theriot the last Cubs player to go to arbitration was Mark Grace in 1993. Muskat reported, Theo Epstein “has never gone to arbitration with a player.”

When the arbitration numbers were exchanged, Samardzija and the Cubs were $1.8 million apart. Samardzija submitted a $6.2 million figure and the Cubs filed at $4.4 million. Samardzija ended up making $2.765 million last year ($2.64 million base; $125,000 for completing 200 innings). The $2.64 million base that was agreed upon was the same as Samardzija was paid in 2012.

If the two sides are as close on a deal as Bruce Levine has reported it would not make any sense for Samardzija to go to arbitration. While some claim an arbitration hearing is just part of the business of baseball, most players that go through the arbitration process one time say they will never do it again.

Sports Illustrated ran a report Thursday about the arbitration process and pointed out “most clubs, like the Cubs, will do whatever they can to settle with a player before his case is heard.” The report explained, “Preparing for hearings, which are held in conference rooms in either Florida (in even years) or Arizona (in odd ones), is both distracting and time-consuming.” Teams would rather focus on other things.

The Cubs and Samardzija can agree to terms on a contract and avoid the hearing right up to the time the two sides enter the room.

Bronson Arroyo

While it is unknown the level of interest the Cubs had in signing Bronson Arroyo, the former Red Sox and Reds starter agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday … and for now eliminated a possible destination for Jeff Samardzija in the process.

Kevin Towers has been trying to pry Samardzija away from the Cubs since last summer and while the two teams could rekindle those discussions during the season, the D-Backs appear to have enough depth in the rotation, for now, with the addition of Arroyo.

According to multiple reports, Arroyo agreed to terms on a two-year contract that will pay the veteran starter a guaranteed $23.5 million. The deal includes a club option for a third season worth $11 million that has a $4.5 million buyout attached to it. Arizona will pay Arroyo $9.5 million in both 2014 and 2015.

News, Notes and Rumors

According to Roch Kobatko, the Orioles remain in the mix for RHP Suk-Min Yoon.

The Cubs were connected to veteran reliever Mitchell Boggs during the Winter Meetings. The Cubs signed Jose Veras instead and on Friday the White Sox signed Boggs to a Major League contract. The former Cardinals’ hurler will be paid $1.1 million if he is on the 25-man roster. Boggs has one more arbitration season left before he becomes a free agent following the 2015 season.

Howard Megdal posted his list of baseball’s 10 best giveaways for the upcoming season.

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