Cubs sign 6 of 7 arbitration eligible players

The Cubs had 7 players who were arbitration eligible and on the day that teams and players must exchange arbitration figures, the Cubs signed all but Matt Garza.

The Cubs’ six other arbitration-eligible players all agreed to one-year deals. DeWitt, who batted .265 in 121 games last season, will make $1.1 million in 2012, while Baker, who batted .269 in 81 games, signed for $1.375 million.

Soto signed for $4.3 million, a boost from the $3 million he received in 2011. The catcher, who made $575,000 in 2010, batted .228 in 125 games last season, a drop from his .280 average in ’10.

Wells (7-6, 4.99 ERA) was sidelined after his first start because of a strained right forearm muscle, but he made 23 starts and was 4-0 with a 3.32 ERA in six August outings. He made $475,000 last season and will receive $2.705 million.

Stewart and Volstad are both new to the Cubs. Stewart, acquired from the Rockies for Tyler Colvin and D.J. LeMahieu, made $2.228 million last year and will receive $2.237 million, while Volstad, acquired from the Marlins for Carlos Zambrano, earned $445,000 last season and will make $2.655 million.

Matt Swartz had projected all of the arbitration eligible contracts awhile back and he had this for the Cubs players.

Swartz’s total projected salaries for the 6 who signed was $13.4 million. I’m unsure why he had just $2 million for Stewart since he made more than last year and I can’t remember a player who earned less the following year. The Cubs signed the 6 for a total of $14.4 million.

A player in arbitration typically receives 40% of his market value in his first year, 60% in his second year and 80% in his third year. Using the CAIRO projections, here are the expected contracts.

Player PA/IP WAR Value
DeWitt 327 1.1 3.3
Soto 399 2.3 6.9
Stewart 338 1 3
Baker 228 0.7 2.1
Wells 119 1.2 2.4
Volstad 114 0.8 1.6

That’s a total of 19.3 million. I had estimated a total of $21.3 million for 6 arbitration eligible players. That included Koyie Hill and the Cubs had not yet acquired Ian Stewart or Chris Volstad. If we plug Garza’s numbers in using his CAIRO projections (194 IP, 3.0 WAR) we get an estimated salary ranging somewhere between $9 to $12 million. Of course we already know that Garza will earn somewhere between $7.95 million and $10.225 million. If it goes to arbitration one of those figures would be chosen and myg uess is it would be Garza’s. I think it’s likely the Cubs try to settle somewhere in the middle, but probably closer to Garza’s figure than their own. I’m going to guess the Cubs and Garza agree at $9.3 million.

If that ends up being right, the Cubs will have signed their 7 arb eligible players for $23.7 million. I’ve updated the payroll page with the latest figures. As of now, the Cubs have 15 players under contract for 2012. The total they’re paying those players is $74.05 million. Carlos Pena is due $5 million this year and the Cubs pay the Marlins the difference between $18 million and Volstad’s salary. That’s $15.345 million. The total the Cubs are on the hook for right now is $94.4 million.

If we add an estimated $9.3 million for Garza and the other auto-renewal players we get a total of $108 million. There’s another $.75 million that goes to players on the 40-man roster who aren’t with the MLB team. So we have a total of $108.8 million at this point. The Cubs payroll last year was $134 million.

Tom Ricketts has said that the overall baseball expenses will remain about the same. The Cubs increased the money spent on front office excecutives by maybe $15 million. There may be a lot of truth to the rumors that the Cubs are quite interested in Yoenis Cespedes. They still have the money to sign him so it makes sense.