The Chicago Cubs have settled their first arbitration case of the year, signing catcher Geovany Soto for $4.3 million.

Soto, who turns 29 in a couple days, made $3 million last year, his first year of arbitration. He hit .228/.310/.411 (96 OPS+) in 2011, after going .280/.393/.497 in 2010. Even if he repeats last year’s down numbers, Soto is fairly productive for a catcher. His $4.3 million salary is still modest for a catcher of his ability, and is about what I expected in arbitration this year.

The Cubs still have six remaining arbitration-eligible players: infielders Jeff Baker, Blake DeWitt, and Ian Stewart, as well as pitchers Matt Garza, Randy Wells, and Chris Volstad. Today is the deadline for players and teams to exchange their requested salary figures for 2012 (which is why you frequently see a rash of settlements today).

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