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Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Samardzija, Wood file for arbitration

By Jesse Rogers

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood were among eight players who filed for salary arbitration Tuesday.

Other Cubs to file were infielders Darwin Barney and Luis Valbuena, outfielders Justin Ruggiano and Nate Schierholtz and pitchers Pedro Strop and James Russell.

Samardzija might be the most interesting case, as he has been the subject of trade rumors all offseason. There's been no indication a long-term deal is in the works, as both sides remain far apart. However, the likelihood of Samardzija actually going before an arbiter is still unlikely, as both the team and player insist there's a good working relationship between them. The expectation is that Samardzija will sign a one-year deal, which would still place him on the trade block by midseason. He made $2.64 million last season and will be due for a raise despite a rough second half in which his ERA balloon to 4.34.

Wood is also in line for a raise in his first year of eligibility for arbitration after making $527,500 in 2013, just over the minimum salary. He vaulted near the top of the National League among starters after giving up only 163 hits in 200 innings pitched.

Barney is also a first-time arbitration-eligible player, but his salary might not be easily computed considering his .208 batting average but Gold Glove status as a second baseman. He won the award in 2012 and was a finalist in 2013.

Teams and players will exchange salary figures on Friday, and arbitration hearings are set to take place the first three weeks of February. At any time the sides can agree on a deal, otherwise an arbiter will choose one salary or the other and the player is then bound to that figure for one year. No Cubs player has gone to arbitration since the new front office took over after the 2011 season.