Cubs avoid arbitration with Chris Coghlan and Welington Castillo


The Chicago Cubs are steadily working their way through the list of arbitration eligible players. As well as settling with Jake Arrieta earlier today, they have also come to terms with Chris Coghlan ($.2.505) and Welington Castillo ($2.1)  on one-year deals.

Coghlan had a comeback year for the Cubs, as the former NL Rookie of the Year batted .283 with nine home runs, 28 doubles and five triples in 125 games. After being the odd man out to start the year and beginning an Triple-A Iowa, he finished with the most games and at-bats of all Cubs’ outfielders. After a slow start, from July on Coghlan hit .312, playing in almost every game.

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With the acquisition of Chris Denorfia, he’s expected to platoon in left field. But after the way last season went, it’s unlikely that Coghlan will simply settle for that.

The case of Welington Castillo is all the more intriguing. After trading with the Arizona Diamondbacks for Miguel Montero then signing veteran backstop David Ross, it’s hard to see where the former starter will fit in, if at all.

The Cubs have been fielding calls on Castillo, but to this point nothing has materialized. Ideally they would like to have dealt him before the Ross signing, but time dictated that move as other teams were closing in on his services. Now the Cubs have less advantage as most teams perceive they need to deal him, and won’t give up as much.

At this point, the Cubs have a full outfield, and it’s a little cramped behind the dish as well. As they learned last year with the outfield, things can change in an instant, and it’s good to have plenty of depth. Add to it that starting center fielder Arismendy Alcantara is the back-up second baseman and it becomes more important to have them.

I would be surprised to see Castillo at spring training, as that would have to be an awkward situation to be in. But, if the Cubs can’t find a suitable deal, that is exactly what will happen here in about a month.

Next: Cubs can learn from the Evan Gattis trade