The Cubs are next in our arbitration eligibles series.
- First time: Randy Wells, Blake DeWitt
- Second time: Geovany Soto
- Third time: Matt Garza, Jeff Baker, Koyie Hill
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.