Arbitration Eligibles: Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are next in our arbitration eligibles series.

Hill is the most likely non-tender in this group.  However, he'd only get a mild raise to $850K, and it's quite possible the Cubs keep him around due to defense, familiarity with the pitching staff, and other intangibles.  

Wells ($2.2MM), Soto ($4MM), and Baker ($1.4MM) had disappointing seasons, but should be part of the 2012 club.  DeWitt showed enough promise to be worth $1.2MM.  Garza represents the Cubs' headline arbitration case, and we project $8.7MM for him.  Jeremy Guthrie and John Danks will be current comparables for Garza.  There is not much recent precedent for a pitcher with this type of track record to make it to his third arbitration year.

If the Cubs retain all six of their arbitration eligibles, we project $18.4MM in total salary.  Assuming Ryan Dempster exercises his player option and Aramis Ramirez doesn't get a new contract prior to his option decision, the Cubs have around $91MM in 2012 commitments before accounting for minimum salary players.  If payroll remains in the $134MM range, the Cubs would have around $40MM to spend in 2012 salaries.

Matt Swartz contributed to this post.


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24 Comments on "Arbitration Eligibles: Chicago Cubs"


3 years 11 months ago

Normally I would think the Hill would make the roster next year, but since Hendry is gone I think Koyie is as well.

gunsnascar
3 years 11 months ago

Ive never liked koyie hill as a batter. The back up catcher is better served being a minor league call up like castillo. So for that reason alone I see hill gone also this winter maybe  as a resign then trade for a prospect. What I dont understand is why quade still is the mlb manager of the cubs, he should be demoted to AAA where he did a good job. This GM situation is rough on the cubs now. The bosox want the cubs to compensate them if they sign epstein as new GM and most guess that epstein is gone if the cubs or angels dont get him. It looks like beene may stay in oakland and honor his contract with them so IMO it leaves rick hahn as 1 of the 2 front runners to be the cubs next GM because cherrington will be getting some type of promotion this winter it seems.

rxbrgr
3 years 11 months ago

What kind of prospect do you expect to get for koyie hill? The only return I see possible for this guy is for a minor league lifer OLDER than he is. There’s a difference between non-tenders with value who are tradeable and non-tenders like Koyie Hill.

gunsnascar
3 years 11 months ago

he is a good defensive catcher and the entire mlb was starving for that in 2011.

BlueCatuli
3 years 11 months ago

I can’t think of a single team that was seeking a defense first starting catcher at the deadline. Koyie Hill’s biggest asset to the Cubs is that he knows the pitching staff, not his defensive prowess. No team would trade anything of value for him.

Anthony Hoffman
3 years 11 months ago

Garza, Wells, Soto, yes. Everyone else, no.

gunsnascar
3 years 11 months ago

Baker is a great bench guy and dewitt may be the guy left out but definitly hill out.

3 years 11 months ago

they need someone to play 3rd next year

Bobby P
3 years 10 months ago

You can pick up a journeyman somewhere and develop a guy in the minors in the meantime. I don’t believe in the notion of moving Starlin to 3rd some people are peddling. He has range and a great arm, and he can eliminate bad decisions.

I’d add Baker to the list of Garza, Wells and Soto. I don’t see anything problematic in offering DeWitt arbitration too, but with Castillo in the minors, you’d have to let Koyie go and let him be a defensive backup somewhere else.

jb226
3 years 11 months ago

There’s nobody in the group that I wouldn’t tender a contract to, as a Cubs fan — though sometimes for various reasons.

Wells – He has had his moments of… well, not dominance, but strong pitching and his salary isn’t going to jump that much.  He deserves another chance.  Plus, the starting pitching situation is COMPLETELY up in the air.  Zambrano and Dempster could both be gone.  Even rebuilding, I’m not sure I want a rotation of Garza, Samardzjia, Lopez,  Cashner and somebody we can’t even fathom right now.  Plus I have serious questions about whether or not Cashner wil be able to be a starter long-term, health-wise.  (Performance-wise is a question too, but that’s true of most pitching prospects.)

DeWitt – Again, because of the uncertainty involving the roster.  If Ramirez leaves, DeWitt may end up being the starting third baseman; the Cubs don’t have a lot to get excited about in the minors.  Even if he isn’t, he’s not a terrible backup at second and third and maybe a new GM can get something for him.

Soto – He’s about as up-and-down as a player gets, but even down he still has value that is currently in excess of his salary.  I’d start looking to move him, personally, but in any event he should get another year.

Garza – No brainer.  Keep him or deal him, you have to tender him first.

Baker – He’s a decent utility player and would make a nice platoon with Pena if he returns.  Either way, there was trade interest in him last season and I have to imagine there would be interest again this offseason or at the deadline.  The club doesn’t need the money elsewhere, so tender and look to move him.

Hill – This is the hardest call.  I tender him just because of the GM uncertainty, to keep options open.  It would allow Soto to be dealt, or Castillo.  It also allows for the possibility that they are both kept but a new GM isn’t comfortable letting one be the backup for the other.  There are a lot of free agent catchers available if somebody wants to make a change, but certainly no names to get excited about.  Just keep him.  If the GM wants him gone, he won’t be hard to get rid of.

3 years 11 months ago

Wells & DeWitt are still relatively young & cheap, and Wells in particular would be hard to replace given the amount of uncertainty facing next year’s rotation.  Soto could bounce back, or he could be a decent trade chip given that you have Castillo who made strides offensively in AAA, and Clevenger, who’d be an ideal backup in the majors.  Garza is your ace next year.  Baker & Hill are a dime a dozen.  Yes they’re cheap, but you can replace them with players in your farm system who will give you as good or better production at a fraction of the cost.  Plus it’s time to clean out the deadwood on the 40 man roster to make room for guys who are Rule V eligible this year like Matt Szczur, Jay Jackson, Josh Vitters, Marwin Gonzalez, Jeff Beliveau, Jeff Antigua, Dae-Eun Rhee, Marquez Smith, Blake Parker, Ryan Flaherty & Luis Flores.  Not to mention Brett Jackson, who will likely be starting in the OF next year.

rayking
3 years 11 months ago

I agree – they should non-tender Baker and Hill, “clean out the deadwood” as you say. Well stated.

WrigleyTerror37
3 years 11 months ago

that many young guys are out of options?!

mmontice
3 years 11 months ago

$40M left to spend on the 2012 roster.  No matter what is said, I still fear the win this year attitude which will require huge spending, probably with a lot of it deferred.  I hope I am wrong.

Either way, the upper minor league levels are so completely uninspiring, the Cubs would need $90M to spend on the 2012 roster to fix the team.

Alex
3 years 11 months ago

Koyies a good guy, he gave me an auto at spring training 😀

bmoneyy20
3 years 11 months ago

he can be a good guy selling you an auto next year

matt78311
3 years 11 months ago

I know this sounds strange but what about the cubs signing buerhle? I think it makes a lot of sense. The cubs get a pitcher who has thrown 200 innings 11 straight years and could show the young pitchers what it takes to succeed at the  major league level. I dont think the white sox will bring him back and the cardinals can’t afford him so I really don’t know where else he would go. A rotation of Garza, Buerhle, possibly dempster, wells and one of cashner or samardzjia actually looks pretty solid on paper. Also, in his limited at bats buerhle has shown that he can handle the bat pretty well.  

matt78311
3 years 11 months ago

I know this sounds strange but what about the cubs signing buerhle? I think it makes a lot of sense. The cubs get a pitcher who has thrown 200 innings 11 straight years and could show the young pitchers what it takes to succeed at the  major league level. I dont think the white sox will bring him back and I don’t think the cardinals can’t afford him so I really don’t know where else he would go. A rotation of Garza, Buerhle, possibly dempster, wells and one of cashner or samardzjia actually looks pretty solid on paper. Also, in his limited at bats buerhle has shown that he can handle the bat pretty well.  

Bobby P
3 years 10 months ago

Assuming Buerhle wants to go to a non-contending team, it’d be a good signing. Doubt he wants to move to the northside. Can’t really blame him, either.

stewie75
3 years 11 months ago

Cubs need to flip that extra $40M into Latin America, scouting and a Jon Garland-type. Non-tender Hill, and keep the rest around as assets. Especially Soto & Wells, I’d love to see a hot-start by at least Soto so we can get some value from him, he is just entirely too inconsistent a player. We’ve got a few catchers in the minors who can hang around as backup and put some pressure on Geo in the meantime, he is way too comfortable in that starting lineup given how up-and-down he is. 

Bob George
3 years 11 months ago

It’s time the media and MLBTR start paying attention: Koyie Hill stinks in all aspects of the game. He can’t hit, he can’t block balls in the dirt, and he can’t throw runners out. Stop saying he’s a good defensive catcher, he’s not.

Bobby P
3 years 10 months ago

Better than Soto. Defensively. I will give you that he has regressed. Maybe it’s the fact that he sawed off his fingers.

Beatlecub
3 years 10 months ago

Out of all the guys Pinky mentioned, only Jackson may be rule 5 eligible.  The rest are A/AA players with little service time.  I think a player has to be in your system for 5 years to be rule 5 eligible.

daveineg
3 years 10 months ago

I doubt Ricketts is going to keep the payroll at $134 million.  Even though attendance wasn’t down significantly, the actual number of bodies in the seats was way down and that affects revenue.  It’s payroll inflexibility that put his team in it’s current position and he’s going to have to pay to get a big time GM and replace a manager who has another year on his deal