With that start of spring training less than one week away, the Cubs have all but one of their arbitration-eligible players in the fold.
On Thursday, the team and second baseman Darwin Barney agreed on a one-year deal worth $2.3 million. Barney had been seeking $2.8 million while the Cubs were offering $1.8 million.
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Pitchers and catchers report to Mesa, Ariz., next Thursday, and right-hander Jeff Samardzija remains the only unsigned player who is eligible for salary arbitration. He is asking for $6.2 million, and the Cubs' offer is $4.4 million.
Barney, 28, fell short last year in his bid to win a second straight Gold Glove. He also had a poor year offensively, with a hitting line of .208/.266/.303. Barney hit 7 home runs and drove in 41.
Samardzija was the Cubs' opening-day starter last year, and he figures to get that nod again March 31 at Pittsburgh. He went 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA and a WHIP of 1.35, pitching a career-high 2132⁄3 innings. The Cubs' management team, headed by president Theo Epstein, has not had a player go to an arbitration hearing in its three off-seasons at the helm.
The Cubs have rescheduled their Sunday, June 29, game at Wrigley Field against Washington for the previous day as part of a day-night doubleheader. There is a separate admission for each game of the twin bill. That leaves the Cubs with an unheard of Sunday off during the regular season.
The Cubs say the switch was made at the request of Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney "in consideration of neighborhood traffic and congestion in connection with the annual Pride Parade in Chicago on June 29."
The first game of the Saturday doubleheader will begin at 12:05 p.m. The second game will start at 6:15 p.m. According to research historian Ed Hartig, the Cubs' last regularly scheduled doubleheader was July 4, 1983 against Montreal.
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