The deadline for tendering a contract to a player who is arbitration-eligible is Monday, Dec. 2 at 10:59 p.m. CT for Major League teams. Players not tendered before the deadline will become free agents. The Chicago Cubs have eight players on that list: infielders Darwin Barney, Donnie Murphy, Luis Valbuena, outfielder Nate Schierholtz, and pitchers Pedro Strop, Travis Wood, Daniel Bard, James Russell and Jeff Samardzija.
According to MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat, pitchers Strop, Wood, Russell and Samardzija along with Valbuena and Shierholtz appear to have secured roster spots for the 2014 Cubs along with Darney Barney. The 2012 Gold Glove winner is a solid defender but is offensive has dropped recently.
The question surrounding the second baseman is his offense, which has declined considerably. Barney put together a slash line of .208/.266/.303 in 141 games this season. Compare that to his 2011 numbers: .276/.313/.353.
Despite that, the Cubs will likely tender Barney, who MLBTradeRumors.com projects will get $2.1 million next season. The team doesn’t have many in-house options at second base other than Valbuena, who is expected to get $1.5 million after batting .218 in 108 games with 12 home runs and 15 doubles. Valbuena has been playing second base in Venezuela this winter.
Bard is also expected to be tendered despite struggles this winter in Puerto Rico. The 28-year-old reliever was claimed off waivers on Sept. 4 by the Cubs and did not pitch in a game. Bard posted a career-best 1.93 ERA and three saves in 73 appearances during the 2010 season for the Boston Red Sox.
He pitched in only two games this season for the Red Sox and made 16 appearances at three different minor league levels. He walked 27 in 15 1/3 innings and posted a dismal 6.46 ERA.
In November, Bard appeared in three games for Caguas in Puerto Rico and gave up seven earned runs, walked nine, hit three batters and threw four wild pitches. He retired one of the 13 batters he faced over three outings.
According to salaries projected by MLBTradeRumors.com, if the Cubs tender contracts to Samardzija, Schierholtz, Wood, Barney, Bard, Russell, Valbuena, Strop and Murphy, they’ll be adding $21.5 million to the payroll. The Cubs have committed $49 million to six players for 2014 and will be paying $14 million to the Yankees to cover the last year of Alfonso Soriano‘s contract.