Non-Tender Decisions: Garza, Samardzija, Russell, Valbuena Tendered, Stewart, Chapman, Putnam Non-Tendered

Given GM Jed Hoyer’s comments earlier today, this shouldn’t come as a surprise: today the Cubs tendered contracts to pitchers Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija and James Russell, while non-tendering infielder Ian Stewart.

A mild surprise, though, in that Luis Valbuena does get tendered (which I’d expected all along until Jed’s comments threw me for a loop).

Also getting non-tendered are non-arbitration-eligible pitchers Zach Putnam and Jaye Chapman. The latter was the second piece in the Arodys Vizcaino trade with the Braves, and the former was a post-season waiver pick-up by the Cubs. Their non-tenders are really more in the “non-renewal” vein, as I mentioned in the comments to the post about Jed’s statement about non-tendered multiple people. Because the move is being called a non-tender, I’m assuming it means they’ve been let go completely (as opposed to DFA’d and waived – I suspect each had the right to reject an outright assignment to the minors, so the Cubs were going to have to grant them free agency even if they cleared waivers).

Stewart, Putnam and Chapman become free agents immediately, and the Cubs will presumably try to re-sign Stewart on a deal for less than he would have received in arbitration (he was set to get around $2.5 million). The Cubs will also presumably try to re-sign Putnam and Chapman, though they’d obviously be looking to get them on minor league deals.

The four tendered a contract remain under the Cubs’ control for 2013, and will need to work out an agreement with the Cubs or head to arbitration early next year.

With the decisions, the Cubs’ 40-man roster stands at 37. I’ll have more on the three non-tenders soon – I’m sure the Cubs will share some thoughts on why they were willing to let Chapman and Putnam go, and additional thoughts on where things stand with trying to re-sign Stewart.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

89 responses to “Non-Tender Decisions: Garza, Samardzija, Russell, Valbuena Tendered, Stewart, Chapman, Putnam Non-Tendered”

  1. CubFan Paul

    Chapman looked good last year (not including the walks) or good enough to be given another shot

  2. Tim

    It is a let down the Cubs decided to non-tender Stewart. I thought his upside was worth 2.5 mil. Maybe they will bring on a cheaper deal? I wouldn’t bet on it, there seems to be some bad blood between the FO and Stewart. Too bad.

    On a more positive note, I thought there were a higher number than usual non-tender players I find interesting. Should be interesting to see if the Cubs can pick up a nice cheap player.

    1. USS

      I know a lot of fans did not like Stewart. But to not tender him just is crazy. No upside there.

    2. ChicagoMike702

      I can’t imagine another team would pay him $2.5M the guy has been really bad and injured. He’s not worth more than the league minimum right now in my eyes. He’s 28 in April, I don’t think there’s much upside left.

      1. USS

        What’s the answer at third base now?

        1. King Jeff

          Keppinger makes even more sense than he did before. A Keppinger/Valbuena platoon might not be a bad way to go if they are truly looking to make a splash in the outfield.

          1. hansman1982

            Kevin Youkilis

          2. Tjtrigo

            Mark Reynolds was non-tenderend today. Anyone interested? Is he a bad fielding 3B?

            1. Colin

              I think bad fielding is a compliment. He’s pretty terrible.

              1. fromthemitten

                he wasn’t much as a 1B either

            2. Colin

              But…Bill James predicts 32 HRs and 90 RBIs and those are shiny. Pick up hope he crushes at Wrigley then see if anyone wants him.

              1. MichiganGoat

                And 100+ strikeouts – pass

                1. sdcoddi

                  and that’s only if he stays for half the year and gets traded. otherwise you’re looking at 200+ k’s!

                2. Colin

                  We should just go all out, bring Corey Patterson back, start Brett Jackson and Mark Reynolds. Them and Sori, I bet Castillo puts up some K numbers. Lets see how many K’s we can accumulate while getting some bombs. Fantasy baseball here we come! Should’ve kept LaHair for this…

          3. Rynomite

            Valbuena has negative splits. Platoon makes no sense. Maybe a Chavez/Keppinger platoon.

        2. hansman1982

          Clearly not Ian Stewart. The big thing is he just can’t stay healthy. Coming into the Winter Meetings and Rule 5 draft the roster spot is useful. I would like to see them bring him back on a Major/Minor split deal or a $1M 1 year deal to get a look in Spring but time to move on, I suppose.

          Can;t win em all. That’d make us the Car#$#ls

        3. ChicagoMike702

          I like Keppinger.

        4. Lou

          Jack Hanrahan, formerly of the Indians.

  3. TonyP

    so the 2 waivers claims, this fall, have already been de-rostered…

    1. AB

      Dime and nickel moves. every team does them.

      1. TonyP

        yeah, just seems like a ton this year. Until I found BN last off season, I didn’t keep so up to date with “lesser” transactions like now, so it probably just seems heavy because I’m just paying attention more.

        1. AB

          The rules (options, major and minor league service time, etc.) are alot to think about.

  4. johnny kelroy

    Then why trade for him in July? Was it that he was just possibly a throw-in with Vizacaino, and the FO was hoping that maybe some unsuspected would happen?

    I guess I’m just curious why you wouldn’t try to get a trade piece back that you would be giving more time to.

  5. frank hutch

    I wouldn’t mind mark reynolds on a 2 year deal. Just saw he got non tendered. If we signed him and another outfielder. Possibly bourn. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t go after annibel sanchez. Could be a pretty interesting team if some pitching went their way

  6. bluekoolaidaholic

    They do “try”. I think the “time” issue changes as personnel moves happen and needs change. I’m sure that the FO would love to only have trade pieces back that they would never need to weed out.

  7. dan

    more moves to come than this will make sense

  8. TonyP

    Brett- Willing you be doing a write-up on all the “non-tenders” that are options for the Cubs????

    1. TonyP

      I have to start proof reading….

  9. cubsin

    The reason Putnam and Chapman were removed from the roster is simple: the Cubs need at least three roster spots for future additions (3B,SP,OF). There are a glut of waived or non-rostered free agents out there now, so the Cubs may be able to re-sign their own and sign a few of the others to minor league contracts. If they sign Fujikama(?), they’ll have to clear an additional roster spot. If they see a prospect they really like in the Rule 5 draft, they’ll have to clear an additional roster spot. Personally, I nominate Tony Campana for the honor.

  10. fastball

    Hought the house cleaning would have gotten deeper. I think at least 2 more maybe 3 have to go. We need 3 more pitchers 2 outfielders and a 3b. I cant fathom Valbuena at 3b all year.

    1. mudge


  11. Psy

    Was Putnam not able to be DFA’d? Otherwise I don’t get why you wouldn’t just DFA him like Carlos Gutierrez on the 40-man deadline. I mean just seems pointless to non-tender him at this point and make him a free agent when he’d be making the minimum anyway.

    1. TonyP

      Maybe they didn’t think he would get through waivers and he would be lost. At least now we can resign him to a minor league deal, if someone had grabbed him on waivers then there is not change to retain him.

      1. TonyP

        on waivers then there is no chance to retain him.

      2. AB

        Is Putnam a free agent because he’s been outrigted twice?? he’s well below the required 3 years of MLB service time

        1. TonyP

          He is a FA because he wasn’t tendered a contract for next year. I believe that is how it works.

          1. AB

            But he had less than three years of MLB service time, thus optons remaining.

            I think if a player is outrighted twice (by the Rockies and Cubs) they are a FA, thus why Casey Coleman could not elect FA when he was outrighted a few days ago.

    2. wdcock2

      I agree, it does seem a little strange to just non-tender Putnam instead of dfa. My guess is the Cubs believe they will sign him to a minor league deal. By not dfa him, other teams do not have an oportunity to claim him off of waivers. Hopefully the Cubs sign him to a minor league contract with invite to spring training, and prevented the chance another team would claim and keep him.

  12. fastball

    I agree Campana can go. I whack Clevenger and one more. They should take it further than that. They will be wearing name tags in ST.

  13. cheryl

    The cubs keep subtracting players, granted it is necessary, but sooner rather than later, they’ll have to make a major move or two. Otherwise they’ll continue to be regarded as a second-rate team. Unfortunately it looks as if there’s nothing in the winds, Bourn doesn’t seem to fit and Fujikawa is rumored to be leaning toward signing with the Angels.

    1. TonyP

      The winter meetings are coming up soon. There is still time for a major move or two…

      1. cheryl

        Hope so.

  14. Carew

    Lannon has been non-tendered by the Nats…

    1. TonyP

      Gorzelanny also…

  15. TonyP

    Coleman cleared waivers and was out righted to Iowa…

  16. MacPete

    Upset they non tendered Chapman!

  17. Dude

    Jurjens is out there. 26 yr old with his success in MLB. Yes please

    1. Kyle


  18. Kyle

    I know it might not last, so I’m just going to bask in the afterglow knowing that Ian Stewart is not currently the property of the Chicago Cubs.

    1. TonyP


  19. Barry

    Jurjens FB tops out at about 88. No gracias.

  20. Mike S

    Nationals non-tendered John Lannan. Cubs interested?

    1. Lou

      I’d be.

  21. Crockett

    Rangers non-tendered Brigham too.

    I’d like to have him back in the organization too.

    Tons of interesting non-tenders.

    Oh…and hi again Bleacher Nation.

  22. mudge

    I keep waiting for the Cubs to sign a pitcher named Berger so they can flip him at the deadline.

  23. someday...2015?

    I think the consensus is that Chapman was a bit of a surprise. I think it was… My theory: the non-tender of Chapman is a pre-cursor of us signing Fujikawa.

    1. USS

      I don’t like it, but seems to be yes.

  24. Luke

    Twitter is saying Brian Wilson has been non-tendered.

    1. USS

      What does that mean? The guy sucks.

    2. someday...2015?

      Perfect fit for the Cubs in my opinion. Cheap, low years, low incentives, and an easy potential flip if he comes back to full strength.

      1. USS

        OMG. Are we going to be this bad?

        1. MichiganGoat

          So what moves should the Cubs be making?

          1. USS

            I don’t controll the money

            1. MichiganGoat

              But you’re on a Cubs blog saying no to all the names mentioned are you saying you have no opinions on what the Cubs should be doing.

              1. USS

                Yes. I have opinions. But my first is at 3rd base. I don’t see a quick fix there.

          2. CrAzyHorSe

            Michigan – if Theo makes this move. the Cubs will have a centerfielder that can leadoff -play defense – run and I am sure stats will show his metrics are good to above average. The Cubs at this point minus a reliable third baseman is a fair team. But the pieces to a contender is just a bullpen and starting rotation away. One can always buy 2/5′s of a starting rotation and (god wish we had Marshall still) sign RF pitchers with good metrics. And in 2-3 years if Theo’s draft choices works out and Hendry’s the Cubs are good to go. I actually would change my opinion of Theo if he does sign Bourn. Not because he’s a big free agent, He’s pivitol in what the Cubs need in a larger picture. I am confidant to say I’d rather have the Cubs sign Bourn then any power centerfielder..But if you sign Bourn and go on the cheap it’s a wasted move because Bourn won’t be the same player in 3-4 years.

            1. hansman1982

              Actually, the advanced metrics say that Bourn is roughly as valuable as DeJesus.

              Good, sure. Worth $18M a year for ages 31-37/38 not a chance.

        2. BWA

          How does a career 3.21 ERA, 171 Saves, 9.6 K/9 suck? Plus he’s an awesome personality.

        3. someday...2015?

          Last year when we had Dempster, Maholm and Samardzija pitching good to great we where 4th in the division. Dempster is gone. Maholm is gone. Baker and Feldman are supposed to be better then what Demp and Maholm gave us? That would be great but it’s doubtful… Its very possible the Cubs could be even worst this year then they were last year. Don’t forget we don’t get to play the Astros 18 times a year. I wouldn’t expect anything higher then a 3rd place finish next year, and in my opinion that would be a success finishing 3rd.

    3. MightyBear

      I think Mike Love non tendered him a few months ago.

  25. md8232

    Burke Badenhop is available. Seems destined to play 1st and let one thru his legs in the

  26. Tim

    Does anyone else think Jair jurrjens could be the pitcher on the cubs radar?

    1. CrAzyHorSe

      Under a rebuild minus bourn – then hell why not throw enough crap somthing is bound to stick.

    2. Chase S.

      I don’t see why he couldn’t be a decent bounce back candidate as his numbers are fairly consistent with an exception of last season (but I’m no stat pro). From what I’ve read he’s lost some velocity though which won’t help his cause. Plus the Cubs just signed two starters who are on the rebound so I don’t think he’ll be on the radar.

  27. steve

    I hope we bring back Chapman, I thought he looked good when we brought him up last season. Lannon is a guy I can see us signing as well. Putnam I don’t know anything on. Stewart was cut loose until we can find out whether we can trade for a 3B or not, if we can, he won’t be back, if we don’t, Stewart will be brought back.

  28. BD

    Is every non-tendered player a free agent? Or do some go to AAA? If it’s the first one, my targets would be:

    Ryan Sweeney (4th OF)
    John Lannan, Mike Pelfrey, Jair Jurrjens (SP/swing options)
    Brian Wilson, Peter Moylan (bullpen arms)

  29. Mike S

    Of all the non-tendered players, which ones are most likely to sign with the Cubs (if you had to guess)?

  30. USS

    I’m perplexed by the decision to let Jaye Chapman go. The kid is only 25, and in my eyes, seems to have crazy upside.

    1. #1lahairfan

      I know.