contractIn theory, arbitration hearings can begin within the next week, but it remains unlikely that the Cubs will actually take any of their arbitration cases that far. You can cross another off the list today as the Cubs have agreed on a one-year deal with outfielder Justin Ruggiano, per Joel Sherman. Ruggiano gets $2 million for 2014 after requesting $2.45 million, and after the Cubs offered $1.6 million. This is Ruggiano’s first arbitration year.

Ruggiano, 31, was acquired in December for Brian Bogusevic in what was largely a salary dump for the Marlins. He’s expected to fill a platoon role in the outfield this year, but his overall ability is that of a borderline starter. He’ll probably see more starts than your average right-handed platoon guy.

Left on the arbitration docket: Darwin Barney (requested $2.8 million, offered $1.8 million) and Jeff Samardzija (requested $6.2 million, offered $4.4 million).

  • newsguy23


  • Cubsin

    I don’t think the Cubs have ever actually gone to arbitration with a player before, but I really like their chances if the do with Barney. Yes, he plays great defense, but he gives back most of that value on offense.

    • Rmoody100

      I am pretty sure the last time we went to arbitration was with Ryan Theriot

    • On The Farm

      I have a good feeling about the Cubs chances in arbitration with Barney too. If he get’s a $2M deal he should feel like he won.

  • On The Farm

    A very fair compromise.

  • Bull Durham

    It looks like the Cubs will head into ST spending about $82 million + any money they spend on an additional SP. That’s definitely a big drop from the $106 million of last year and the $134 from 2011. Given the fact they don’t have any key guys hitting FA next year, and only Shark getting expensive, I sure hope we can spend on 2-3 of the bigger ticket folks next offseason. Some combination of two from the Lester/Bailey/Masterson/Scherzer/Shields group plus maybe a starting OF like Gardner or Span would allow us to compete provided a few of the prospects step forward.

    • Blackhawks1963

      The big problem with your theory is that Lester likely re-signs with Boston, ditto Bailey with Cincinnati, ditto Scherzer with Detroit BEFORE any of them even get to free agency. Shields is the only name on your pitcher list who has a decent shot of actually hitting the free agent market next winter.

      Guessing the Yankees want to keep Gardner, especially since Ichiro and Soriano will be gone after next season. Guessing Span is a keeper in Washington as well.

      • On The Farm

        The big problem with your theory is: Lester will likely re-sign in Boston because he is willing to accept a team friendly deal. However, Scherzer is repped by Boras so he will be wanting a nice big money deal. How many Boras clients do you know that signed extensions during the season?

        As for Bailey, he has been playing for the small market Reds and will probably be looking for his big payday on the market. There is a very good shot at Bailey, Scherzer, AND Shields will all be available during Free agency.

        • ari gold

          Don’t forget Masterson also.

          • On The Farm

            I did forget about him. With the Ohio teams being smaller market, it should help Masterson and Bailey at least making it to Free Agency. Scherzer is playing for a team that has big contracts already (Verlander, Miggy Cabrera, and Kinsler), and Shields playing for the cheap err.. small market Rays, I say there is a good chance all four of those guys will be available to sit down with other teams. At least three of them will.

            • davidalanu

              Shields plays for the cheap…err…Royals. Not the cheap Rays

          • Brett

            And Maeda. And Billingsley could be looking good again by then.

          • D-Rock

            I only see the Cubs signing one of those big name FA pitchers next year if we are lucky. And it won’t be Lester since he will re-sign. Signing even 1 of either Scherzer, Shields, Bailey, or Masterson would be huge.

            • On The Farm

              If it means they re-sign Samardzija to go one-two with one of Scherzer, Bailey, or Masterson I think only getting one of them is worth it.

        • Bull Durham

          Your right, Lester is probably a long shot, but we only need 2 of those guys. And I agree with OTF that Bailey and Scherzer are likely to hit the market. Cinci is a small market with a big payroll and they also have a fairly sizable option on Cueto to pick up next year. And Votto, Bruce, and Broxton all get more expensive. Reds are already at $70 million for 2015 with only 9 guys under contract.

          I can’t imagine Scherzer signing a deal if he makes it to ST this year without one in place. Boras wants him on the market.

          • hansman

            Scherzer has already said he won’t do extension talks during the season.

            • When The Musics Over

              I’m going to guess the Cubs aren’t too keen on giving a 30 year old starting pitcher with mechanics concerns (this thought has been around for a while, and there was a lot of talk he’d never hold up as starter) $20-25M+ per year for 5+ years.

        • Blackhawks1963

          I don’t agree with that. Bailey is said to already be talking about an extension with Walt Jocketty in Cincinnati. The Tigers have deep pockets and I have got to believe will move heaven and earth to sign Scherzer before he ever hits the open market, regardless Boras representation. They moved Fielder and Fister and have money space according to Dave Dombrowski. Even if Scherzer hits free agency, I would think the chances are very strong he stays in Detroit. He really likes it there and Justin Verlander and him are best friends too.

          But you are right…anything can happen. Shields might get traded at the deadline too, and if that happens the acquiring team might sign him to a new deal given that they will need to provide Kansas City with a huge haul in order to acquire him.

          • On The Farm

            ” Bailey is said to already be talking about an extension with Walt Jocketty in Cincinnati”

            And Samardzija and Garza had extension talks with Theo, they could still be a ways apart.

            “heaven and earth to sign Scherzer before he ever hits the open market, regardless Boras representation.”

            I think Boras would move heaven and earth to make sure Scherzer doesn’t do that. He will tell him if Detroit really wants him they can wait and make a competitive offer with every other team in baseball.

            • Ron Swansons Mustache

              Exactly. Strongly disagree with BH1963 here in regards to Bailey. Talking about an extension doesn’t necessarily mean a thing. Reds have some choices to make as they have a number of players coming up on free agency in a year or two. I’d be very surprised if Bailey doesn’t test the market.

          • Bull Durham

            Minimally you would think we should have $40 million available to spend in 2015. We only have $31 million on the books, and only Shark not under contract and expensive (even that will be only $9 mil or so depending on how he performs. Wood will be $5-6 mil. That means we’re only at $45 million with no one else costing much at all. So even if they only have a payroll of $100 million next year that is a TON of money to spend on the FA market.

            • YourResidentJag

              I just hope the Reds are in playoff contention come the deadline and they don’t trade him to some team that wants to keep him.

              • YourResidentJag


            • Ron Swansons Mustache

              And this money is going to have to be spent on pitching because the free agent market for hitters after the 2014 season is AWFUL.

              • Bull Durham

                Yep, it’s bad. Gardner and Span are the only two who would really interest me. I mean Schierholtz is one of the more attractive bats, if that tells you how bad it is.

    • When The Musics Over

      And if you remove Soriano (his net salary), Soler and Concepcion and use your $82M, the Cubs will likely be rolling into 2014 with an effective MLB payroll of around $64M. If they move Shark, the effective MLB payroll will move into the $50Ms.

      That’s wild, and not a chance 100% of that surplus is being rolled into other “baseball operations” and future payroll.

    • Kyle

      I just don’t see it happening.

      For better or for worse, they’ve drawn their line in the sand. The front office is looking at the aging curves and deciding that they’d rather leave money unspent than give a long-term, large deal to a guy in his early 30s.

      If it was just one guy when we already had a 90-win team? Maybe. But multiple such guys in a single offseason? I just don’t think they have any interest in doing that.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Say what you might about the 2014 Chicago Cubs, but man do we have the 5th outfielder market covered !!! We might not have a single legitimate everyday outfielder, but we can out 5th outfield guy ANY team in baseball !!!

    • dw8

      Maybe it’s just his handsome face, but I’m pretty bullish on R. Sweeney. Like 2.5 wins bullish (assuming ~450 PAs).

  • cubs2003

    Does anyone have info on how an arbitration hearing works? I understand the basics. For instance, would a fan favorite argue they make more money for the team even if the stats don’t hold up compared to a better statistical player who isn’t a fan favorite? Just curious what the hearings typically go on.

  • NorthSideIrish

    My only issue with signing Ruggiano is that I keep getting his name confused with Justin Germano and thinking about Germano makes my stomach clench.

  • Bixler51

    Cubs should sign Nelson Cruz to give developing Rizzo and Castro support. He could be had for 2-3 years, which fits the plan. The Parallel front of players developing at the major league level is failing because Castro and Rizzo are surrounded with absolutely no help. Rickettsia should invest in.some temporary help.

    • Soda Popinski

      This is not a very popular thought on this site but I agree with you, pal. I think Castro has the personality to perform better when he’s not “the man.” I have a feeling that his performance will pick up significantly when there are a couple studs around him (not saying that Cruz would be a stud- but you know…)

      • MichiganGoat

        Couple issues with Cruz 1-that draft pick compensation 2-the PED issue, not exactly a great role model 3-will he continue to be successful and therefore be worth a starting position or will he quickly decline.

        • Soda Popinski

          The PEDs will work to an advantage on a short contract to show that he can do it without them. That may not be the most ethical statement, but it’s true. He slugged .503 last year. He would still put up good power numbers even with a slight regression. And lock him up for 2 years and he becomes flippable- probably for something worth more than a second round pick. Let’s be honest, he’s not at all an example of “the cub’s way” at the plate, but I think it’s a low risk, high value sign.

    • mjhurdle

      Nelson Cruz had an above average 2009, a good 2010, and has been remarkably mediocre since.
      And that was with PEDs.

      Not sure what value he would bring now that he has to stop using.

      • Soda Popinski

        He’s been above average since 2010, and last year he had an OPS+ of 123.

        • mjhurdle

          His bat has been slightly above-average. His defense has been strongly below-average.
          And the value of his bat is entirely tied to his power, which is now in question.

          Best case scenario is he plays like he did last year, loses no power, and you get a 2 WAR OF.
          Worst case scenario is he loses a decent amount of power and turns into a low OBP, 15-20 HR, horrible defense corner OF that will be below-average across the board.

          On a cheap enough deal? sure, i’d have no problem. But a 3 year deal seems like a stretch to me.

    • Kyle

      My main concern with Cruz is that he’s just not good.

      I’d take him on a one-year deal with the intention of forfeiting the pick and hoping to get more than a 2nd-round-pick’s worth of talent at the deadline, but I don’t have a ton of desire to give him multiple years.

  • BennyTheJet

    i know the draft is quite a bit away but can anyone see a situation where the Marlins Astros and White Sox take a lesser prospect (not Rodon) because of money?

    • Xruben31

      Well considering it’s January, it’s all very possible. I do think if a guy like Alex Jackson has a big l he could possibly go #1 overall if they wanted a position prospect. Tyler Kolek may be the highest ceiling arm in the draft so he could be another early option. Hoffman and Beede also have #1 overall potential. Trea Turner too but I want him on the Cubs.

    • Cubsleeram

      Not an expert here, but I’d be surprised if those 3 teams put money considerations over the quality of player that early in the draft. Some thought the Astros would do that last year with their pick, and they surprised many by signing Mark Appel (basically the consensus #1 then). The first instance of such a move in last year’s draft, if I recall correctly, was when the Royals took Dozier with their pick.

      Hopefully that answered your question.

    • Chad

      I would say the only way that happens is if he is not quite as dominant this year and a few other prospects have Kris Bryant type seasons and catapult up the rankings. I still don’t see that happening, but you never know.

  • Diehardthefirst

    If you want to do that then go after big Papi too and let’s see if can score more than 2 runs a game

  • Fastball

    I think the Reds are going to extend Bailey before season starts. I have heard the Tigers want to get an extension done with Scherzer before season starts. Big reason they traded Fister was to ensure they could keep Scherzer and he wants to stay in Detroit. Lester has been on MLB radio saying he wants to play in Boston rest of his career. So the market on FA pitching for next year is going to dry up fast. I highly doubt we see any of the top pitchers hit FA market. The Reds can definitely get Bailey signed. They do have the money to make it happen from what I am hearing. Detroit isn’t going let Scherzer go anywhere IMO.

    • Chad

      Lester also said he won’t take that much of a hometown discount to make it happen. Has to be fair to all. Even if these guys make it to FA I can’t imagine how expensive they will be.

  • Fastball

    The Cubs have gone to arbitration recently with Theriot. That was big reason he got traded. Pissed Hendry off.

  • Jon

    Oliver has Ruggiano at a 4.5 Win season in 2014….if that brightens anyone’s day.