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Cubs sign Doubront, six others still arbitration-eligible

1/15/2015

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs avoided arbitration with left-handed pitcher Felix Doubront on Thursday, signing him to a one-year deal worth $1.925 million, the team confirmed.

Doubront was acquired from the Boston Red Sox last July, going 2-1 with a 3.98 ERA in four starts for the Cubs. He’s expected to compete for a fifth-starter role, or possibly a spot in the Cubs bullpen, this season.

Friday is the deadline for teams to exchange salary figures with arbitration-eligible players. Pitchers Jake Arrieta, Travis Wood and Pedro Strop along with catcher Welington Castillo, outfielder Chris Coghlan and infielder Luis Valbuena have all filed for arbitration. Hearings are held in February but usually the team and player settle before getting that far. The Cubs have not had an arbitration hearing under their current front office regime.

Wood and Arrieta’s situations will be the most interesting to watch as the Cubs settled with Wood before last season for $3.9 million, a raise of over 600 percent from the previous year. But Wood struggled in 2014 going 8-13 with a 5.03 ERA. Still, he’ll more than likely be due a slight raise if and when they settle. Expect him to make between $5-5.5 million in 2015.

Arrieta could be a candidate for a long-term deal, but that’s unlikely to happen as he’s just a first-year arbitration eligible player and is represented by Scott Boras. He made just $500,000 in 2014 while having a breakout season. His jump in salary could be about the same as Wood’s from a year ago.

Castillo is likely to be traded before the season starts, that could be before or after the Cubs settle on a 2015 salary with him.

Last year at this time, talk of former Cub Jeff Samardzija's situation dominated headlines as he and the team tried to figure out a way to keep him in Chicago. There was no progress on a long-term deal so the sides settled, though for a while it looked like Samardzija might be the first player to go to arbitration since Theo Epstein took over in 2011. Samardzija was eventually traded in July.