Cubs Are Tenderly Happy


With the free agent market finally starting to develop, the Chicago Cubs probably will be active over the next two weeks looking to make signings and trades to improve their team for the 2011 season. Many expect the Cubs to make at least one move next week at the Winter Meetings. As we know, the Cubs are searching for a first baseman, a starting pitcher, and reliever. As we wait for the fire storm of rumors that’s known as the Winter Meetings, the Chicago Cubs are expected to announce several roster moves tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to all players, if a team fails to tender a contract to a player, that player will become a free agent at 11:01 Central Time on Friday morning. The Cubs have six players who are eligible for salary arbitration, and those six are Koyie Hill, Geovany Soto, Jeff Baker, Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, and Tom Gorzelanny. According to Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald, the Cubs will tender contracts to all six of them. Of the six, three of them in Marmol, Marshall, and Soto will likely see hefty pay increases.

Koyie Hill over the past couple of seasons has proven to be a serviceable backup for the Cubs. Given the fact that he is liked among the Cubs pitching staff, that is probably what led Jim Hendry to wanting to bring Hill back. While you can not complain about Koyie Hill’s defense, even though he is a tad overrated, you can complain over the lack of offense he brings. I know he is backup catcher, but a line of .214/.254/.298 does not sit well with me. Which is why I felt the Cubs should have non tendered Hill, and then gone with Wellington Castillo as the primary backup.

Geovany Soto will have a big pay increase, as he had a solid bounce back year with the Cubs in 2010. After a miserable year in 2009, Soto came back rejuvenated in 2010 as he hit .280/.393/.497 with 17 home runs. In fact, I would not be all that surprised if an extension is in line for Soto with the Cubs.

Jeff Baker will also be a welcomed back on the Cubs, as he will probably play a utility role off the bench next season for the Cubs. Baker fell in line with his career averages in 2010 as he hit .272/.326/.413 off the bench for the Cubs. Baker is a valuable guy to have on defense as well, since he can play any infield position, and the two corner outfield positions.

Tom Gorzelanny actually had an impressive year with the Chicago Cubs in 2010. Gorzelanny started 23 for games for the Cubs, and appeared in 29 all together. In 136 innings pitched, Gorzelanny had an ERA of 4.09 with a 7-9 record. It is tough to imagine where Gorzelanny fits in with the Cubs next season. To be honest, there probably is a good chance that the Cubs are shopping him to other teams. As he is a quality pitcher to have, he just may fall victim to a numbers game with the Cubs.

Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall go hand in hand. Last season, Marshall was the chain to the anchor for Carlos Marmol. Marshall blossomed last year as an eighth inning set up guy, in 74.2 innings he had an ERA of 2.65 with 22 holds and 90 strikeouts. Marshall would be followed by Carlos Marmol, who would come in, in the ninth inning and essentially shut down the opposing team. In 77 appearances, Marmol had an ERA of 2.55 with 38 saves and an astonishing 138 strikeouts. Both Marmol, and Marshall will be cornerstones in the Cubs bullpen next year.

Now, that Jim Hendry has tendered contracts to the six eligible players. Expect the Cubs to be active on the trade and free agent market over the next two weeks, especially next week at the Winter Meetings.