The Cubs' other arbitration-eligible players include infielder Jerry Hairston, outfielder Juan Pierre, and pitchers Will Ohman and Carlos Zambrano. Hendry and Cubs team president Andy MacPhail have never gone to arbitration with a player. Hendry said Friday he is continuing to negotiate with the players' representatives in hopes of reaching an agreement.
Players with at least three years of service in the Major Leagues, plus the most senior 17 percent of those with between two and three years service, are eligible for salary arbitration. Prior, for example, now has three years, 131 days of Major League service time. How does arbitration work? Players and teams exchange figures, and if no agreement is reached, the case is heard before an arbitrator.
Pierre, 28, whom the Cubs acquired from the Florida Marlins for three Minor League pitchers, made $3.7 million in 2005. He's coming off a season in which he batted .276 with two homers, 47 RBIs and 57 stolen bases in 162 games. The center fielder asked for $6.5 million, while the Cubs offered $5 million.
Zambrano, 24, made $3.76 million last season and led the Cubs with 14 wins. He established career highs in starts (33), innings pitched (223 1/3) and strikeouts (202). Zambrano asked for $7.2 million, while the Cubs countered with an offer of $6 million.
Hairston, 29, made $1.8 million last season, his first with the Cubs. He batted .261 with four homers, 25 doubles and 30 RBIs. Hairston has asked for $2.6 million in 2006, while the Cubs offered $1.95 million.
Ohman, 28, is seeking $775,000, while the Cubs offered $500,000. Ohman, who has three years, 40 days of Major League service time, made $320,000 in 2005 in his return to the big leagues. The left-hander, who had been sidelined by three elbow surgeries, was 2-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 69 games.
Arbitration hearings begin Feb. 1. The arbitrator will pick one figure or the other, and there is no compromise.