November 30th is always an exciting day in baseball.
All MLB franchises have until 11:59pm ET to either tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players or non-tender them and set them loose as free agents. This has some bigtime implications for a lot of teams who will be looking to lock down their players or release them in order to free up space on the 40-man roster.
The Cubs are no stranger to this situation and have a few players who need to be addressed before tonight.
- 3B Ian Stewart ($2.237 million in 2012)
- RHP Matt Garza ($9.5 million in 2012)
- RHP Jeff Samardzija ($2.64 million in 2012)
- LHP James Russell ($512,500 in 2012)
- IF Luis Valbuena ($495,200 in 2012)
The most obvious of the question marks is Ian Stewart who was injured for the majority of the 2012 season and may not be welcomed back to the team. All other players will likely be tendered contracts and return for 2013.
Mid-day, it seemed as though Jed Hoyer was unlikely to tender Ian Stewart a contract. He was quoted saying:
It’s very likely we’ll have a couple non-tenders. I think we’ll see ourselves below 40 (on the roster) when we get into tomorrow. It’s also difficult to speculate which players those might be.
This could mean just about anything, but it’s certainly hard to ignore. Stewart was essentially a bust for the team last season and his injury has held him back for many years now. Tendering him a deal would be a gamble… but the only other option to play third base would be either Luis Valbuena or Josh Vitters. Either way, it’s not a pretty situation.
As of right now, no moves have been made, so stay tuned for up to date coverage as it breaks tonight.