Schierholtz, Valbuena, Russell, Strop sign


CHICAGO – Outfielder Nate Schierholtz, infielder Luis Valbuena and relievers James Russell and Pedro Strop avoided arbitration on Friday by agreeing to one-year deals with the Chicago Cubs.

Schierholtz will make $5 million in 2014 after setting career highs in home runs (21) and RBIs (68) last season. He made $2.25 million in 2013. He can become a free agent after this season.

Valbuena signed for $1.71 million after making $930,000 last season. Russell agreed to a deal for $1.77 million.

The Cubs and Jeff Samardzija, Darwin Barney, Justin Ruggiano and Travis Wood could not come to an agreement Friday so the sides exchanged salary figures in advance of an arbitration hearing in early February. A deal can still be struck between now and the hearing, and even during the hearing.