The Chicago Cubs will not take part in any arbitration hearings in February. After signing starting pitcher Matt Garza to a one year, $10.25 million contract earlier this week; the remaining players that were eligible for an arbitration hearing were pitchers Jeff Samardzija and James Russell. On Friday, the Cubs signed both pitchers to new contracts.
The Cubs began talking about a long-term extension for Samardzija in December, however, talks between the two sides made little progress. Samardzija’s new contract is for one year and is worth $2.64 million. 2013 figures to be a pivotal season for Samardzija’s status not only with the Cubs, but as a top-tier starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. In 2012, Samardzija posted a record of 9-13 to go along with an ERA of 3.81. There has been some speculation that the Cubs could look to trade Samardzija, who is expected to be their Opening Day starting pitcher, but chances are the team will look to build the pitching staff around the 27 year old starting pitcher.
Russell, on the other hand, blossomed into the Cubs’ top left handed reliever during the 2012 season. In 77 appearances for the Cubs in 2012, Russell posted an ERA of 3.25 to go along with a WHIP of 1.30. The Cubs bullpen is expected to be significantly better this season than it was last season, and Russell figures to be one of the main reasons why. Russell will likely serve as the Cubs’ primary left handed reliever in 2013. Russell will earn $1.075 million in 2013.