Today is the so-called non-tender deadline in baseball (I love that baseball has so many “deadlines” – must be the former lawyer in me), and teams must decide by 11pm CT whether to tender contracts for 2013 to their arbitration-eligible players. The Cubs have five arbitration-eligible players – Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, James Russell, Luis Valbuena, and Ian Stewart – the first four of whom are relatively certain to be tendered a contract today. From there, the Cubs will work with those guys to try and settle on a deal for 2013, short of actually going to arbitration early next year.

And then there’s third baseman Ian Stewart. I spoke at length earlier this week on the relative merits and demerits of tendering Stewart a contract in this market (or trying to work out a pre-tender deal), so I won’t rehash it here.

I feel like I’m not doing my job if I don’t tell you which way I think the Cubs are leaning on this one, but, given the analysis I did earlier in the week, what once looked like an obvious non-tender doesn’t feel that way to me anymore. I’d say 50.1% they tender/re-sign him before tonight, 49.9% they non-tender him. It’s that close.

We’ll see what happens today. If the Cubs decide to non-tender Stewart, the two sides could continue trying to work out a deal, but Stewart, as a free agent, would be able to negotiate with every other interested team.

Obviously the Cubs aren’t the only club with tender decisions to make, and it will be very interesting to see if any surprise tender/non-tenders are made around the league. They can have a big impact on the free agent market, particularly in the middle tier range where the Cubs are doing most of their shopping. Once those decisions come down, we can discuss the implications of the newest entrants into the free agent pool.

  • EQ76

    I still think Stewart can be a good option at 3B if healthy.

  • Barry

    Non-tender. It seem that they like Keppinger better.

    • MaxM1908

      Of course they do. Keppinger’s middle name is Scott.

      • Carne Harris

        And his favorite band is Southern Culture on the Skids. No brainer.

  • Fishin Phil

    I’m putting my $1.00 on them tendering him a contract.

    • Believe in 2015

      Guess I’m going to have to take your $1 then.

      • King Jeff

        Puppet dollars have no monetary value.

        • Fishin Phil

          Don’t let the picture of Howdy Doody on the $1 bill fool you. They are big collector items.

    • Brett

      If I were forced to bet on any singular outcome, I’d bet on them reaching an agreement today in the $1.5 million range. But I’d want 3:1 odds.

    • CubFan Paul

      Non tender, then a quick re-sign for about $1.325M

  • cubchymyst

    Tender him and get Keppinger, corner the market on 3rd basemen.

    • justinjabs

      Love it!

  • justinjabs

    Tender him. It doesn’t seem like there’s much to lose.

  • cheryl

    Any others besides Keppinger and Stewart that might interest them? Could they decide on neither and look for more pitching? If Fujikawa is offered a contract and accepts they’ll have to cut someone from the roster and it might be Stewart if they tender him might it not?

  • Kyle

    Prediction: Non-tender with the intent to re-sign at a cheaper rate.

    Wish: Launched on a rocket into the sun.

  • Bill

    Non tender him. I’d rather start Valbuena/Keppinger than Stewart.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    On a related note, the Wright fantasy is in the volcano.

  • Mac

    What about Mark Reynolds, supposedly he’ll be non tendered

  • Joker

    Non-tendered and not resigned.

    A procedurial question: Are the non-tendered players immediate FA’s or is there a built-in dead period before they can sign? For the life of me, I cannot recall and I’m just too darn lazy to research it.

  • Curt

    omg, where are Gary Scott,Ron cey when u need them or idk is bill madlock still alive is there no other way than to give this bum a job.

  • Brian

    Keep Stewart, (not expensive this day and age) in case options A,B,C, if they exist, don’t pan out!

  • Beer Baron

    I have to assume with all the cuts to the 40-man they’ve made this month, if they didn’t want him back they would have already dropped him (ok – “want” is probably a bit strong – if they didn’t accept that he is the best of a bunch of really bad options). I mean Brian LaHair might have had a little value — especially if they’re able to trade Soriano you need a corner outfielder — and they chose to keep Stewart instead. My guess is they prefer to negotiate a better deal, but if push comes to shove they’ll tender him by the deadline (unless they are somehow able to acquire a better 3B first)

  • Fastball

    Sign Stewart and Keppinger. Just so you get them both off the market. Wait til later in the winter and see which teams are short a 3B and then make a trade with one of them. Nothing wrong with that. Once the dust settles late today there may be several guys who are more intriguing than what we are looking at right now. I think we will find more pitching available tonight.

    • baseballet

      They could have an infield of Stewie, Kepp, Valbuena and Vitters. They could all huddle near third base and scramble once the ball’s in play.

    • hcs

      The only drawback in that scenario is the rule preventing teams from trading free agent signings until June. So that could apply to Stewart if non-tendered and signed, and definitely to Keppinger.

  • KidCubbie

    Tommy Hanson was just traded to the Angels for Jordan Walden.

    • KidCubbie

      Why couldnt we make this trade with Marmol for Hanson? Maybe throw in a lesser prospect.

      • AB

        Whats Atlanta going to do with Marmol?? They’ve already got 4-5 guys in the pen better than he is.

      • Tremendous Slouch

        If this is true – it’s depressing… One, because it means Hanson was available and I’m not sure why the Cubs wouldn’t have been agressively trying to get him… Especially if all it took was a 25 year old hard throwing reliever with control issues… Two, this probably makes it less likely we could eventually get back in on Randall Delgado… Sigh.

        • ETS

          you need to forget about delgado. That’s long gone.

        • Jeremy

          They probably didn’t get in on Hanson because his arm is about to fall off. His velocity is way down, looks like he is going to need another surgery in about a year.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Walden is worth much more than Marmol is because Walden is 5 years younger, he is over $5M /year cheaper, and Walden has much better control than does Marmol.

          Adding a lesser prospect doesn’t change things: you go for quality, not quantity!

        • Justin

          Hanson sucks. i would take Walden for the Cubs. I’ll take anyone compared to Marmol. His pitching is as bad as his salary

          • KidCubbie

            Marmol might have sucked in the first half but he was pretty outstanding after the break if you recall. There is some value left there.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              A $5 bill is worth less than a $20 bill. It does not follow from this that a $5 bill has no value.

              The same logic applies here: Marmol << Walden.

              • KidCubbie

                Roger Doc. It wasnt in response to your reply. I totally agree whith what you are saying. I was just saying hes not completely without value. I just whish we could flip him for an asset.

            • AB

              That’s true, but Atlanta is not going to trade for a guy like Marmol. He had issued about 20 more walks than anybody in their pen that threw the same or greater amount of innings.

  • Tremendous Slouch

    I think it comes down to wether or not they like Stewart better than the guy they would have to drop from the 40 man in order to keep him… Yes I realize he is currently on the roster, but they’re clearly not done making moves… If they keep Stewart it would be at the expense of someone else currently rostered (Perhaps Clevenger?)…

    • Rcleven

      Clevenger is the next logical bump.

      • George Altman

        Clevener isn’t getting DFA’d……….traded in a package deal, maybe, but not cut off the roster.

  • Idaho Razorback

    I know Mark Reynolds is not a Theo type of guy. What would it cost to get him on a one year deal?

  • Jeff

    I hope they find a way to keep Stewart. I have a feeling they will regret it if they don’t. His ceiling is very high – especially now that his wrist is healed. A bad wrist is terrible for a hitter – especially a power hitter. But good defense. Good plate discipline. Healthy wrist. Good attitude. Let’s take a chance on a guy who could feasibly give you 20+ HR and 85 RBI and if we sign Keppinger use him as a super sub. Or better yet, forget Keppinger and find someone who can effectively back up Castro. Vallbuena can back up Stewart and Barney.

  • KidCubbie

    Question. Who backs up 1B if Rizzo needs a day off?

    • Brett

      Still waiting on that player.

      • KidCubbie

        Could Stewart potentially do that if we keep him as a utility guy?

        • Brett

          He’s never played 1B, and, even if he could learn it, he’s a lefty like Rizzo – not much point in him being the backup. Ideally, you’d find a righty.

        • DarthHater

          According to, Stewart has never played first base. I hear that Billy Beane thinks it’s easy, but others contend its incredibly hard.

    • BD

      I think at this very minute it might be Dioner Navarro.

    • Luke

      I think it would be Clevenger if he’s still on the roster.

  • EQ76

    Koyie Hill..

    • KidCubbie

      Lol. Thanks guys.

  • North Side Irish

    Jordan Bernfield ‏@JordanBernfield
    #Cubs Hoyer says very likely they’ll have a couple of non tenders, they will certainly be below 40 on roster. Have till midnight.

    “A couple”? Interesting…