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Thursday, December 2, 2010
Cubs sign Baker; line up arbitration cases

By Bruce Levine

Carlos Marmol
Carlos Marmol is in position to get a substantial raise after a strong 2010.
The Chicago Cubs will offer contracts to all of the 25 players on their roster today. That list includes offering arbitration to right-handed pitcher Carlos Marmol, left-handed pitcher Sean Marshall, left-handed pitcher Tom Gorzelanny and catchers Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill.

Of that group, Marmol, Marshall and Soto are due substantial raises. Marmol and his agent will come in at the highest figure of any of the arbitration-eligible players. The Cubs closer set a franchise record for strikeouts by a relief pitcher in 2010. Marmol made $2.25 million last season. Now among the game’s elite closers, his arbitration number may be as high as $5 million this time. The Cubs may come in at $4 million or $4.5 million.

Infielder Jeff Baker signed a one-year, $1.175 million contract on Thursday.

Marshall, in his second year of arbitration, made $950,000 last season. Although not as sensational as Marmol, he was as effective as a set-up man. It would be hard to point out a left-handed reliever who had a better year. Marshall struck out 90 batters in 74 2/3 innings. Only eight inherited runners scored on Marshall. His arbitration number will be somewhere between $2.3 million and $2.5 million.

Soto, who caught only 104 games dues to injury at the end of the season, enjoyed a resurgent year in 2010. The Cubs’ starting catcher hit .280 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs. His .393 on-base percentage led the team. It will be Soto’s first year of arbitration, and his agents may come in as high as $3 million. The Cubs may go between $2 million and $2.5 million.

Gorzelanny and Hill probably will get marginal raises through arbitration.

The Cubs have $108 million committed to nine players, with Alfonso Soriano due to make $19 million and Carlos Zambrano due to make $18.875 million.

With six arbitration players who will make close to $13 million, the Cubs already will be committed in the area of $121 million for just 15 players. Somehow, general manager Jim Hendry will have to find a way to pay 10 other players on his 25-man roster, and 15 more in the minor leagues with $12 million-$14 million. The guess here is the Cubs’ payroll will be between $135-$138 million, down from $144 million in 2010.