Bruce Miles of The Daily Herald has a few tidbits of information about the Chicago Cubs in his latest blog post.
Miles notes that the Cubs have an unusually high number of arbitration-eligible players this offseason, and singles out Carlos Marmol as an important case. Miles figures that the Cubs and Marmol's agent Barry Praver could disagree about the reliever's value, since his holds total and opponents' average are so strong, while his control is so unpredictable. The Cubs haven't had an arbitration case go to a hearing since early in the 1990s, but this one is a candidate for it.
Miles also writes that the number of raises through arbitration could affect the Cubs' payroll flexibility. GM Jim Hendry points out that since most of the players are in the first year of arbitration eligibility, there shouldn't be many massive raises, but says, "You do have guys that certainly are going to command an increase in salary, and yeah, you have to factor that all in with your total payroll. We'll see what the numbers look like."
Hendry was also asked whether middle infield was a priority this winter, and replies: "Not necessarily. I'm very happy with Ryan [Theriot]." He adds that Mike Fontenot and Aaron Miles had disappointing 2009 seasons, but that he expects them to bounce back next year.