Cubs agree to terms with Ohman, Pierre

Cubs agree to terms with Ohman, Pierre

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry figures he has a good chance of keeping his streak intact.

Hendry and the Cubs finalized one-year contracts Thursday for outfielder Juan Pierre ($5.75 million) and left-handed reliever Will Ohman ($610,000), leaving right-hander Carlos Zambrano as the club's only arbitration-eligible player.

Hendry, who took over as Cubs GM in late 2002, has never gone to arbitration hearings with a player. In fact, no Cubs player has gone all the way to a hearing since Andy MacPhail took over as club president in 1994.

Zambrano has one scheduled for Feb. 18.

"I'm anticipating being able to come to a deal without going to a trial," Hendry said. "We're always trying to be as fair as possible to the player. I think that's our reputation in the business in terms of dealing with representatives."

Zambrano is represented by South Florida-based agents Scott Shapiro and Barry Praver.

The 24-year-old Zambrano filed for $7.2 million while the Cubs offered $6 million. If they are unable to reach a compromise, both sides will present written and oral cases to a three-person arbitration panel on Feb. 18 in St. Petersburg, Fla. The panel would then select one figure or another to be Zambrano's 2006 salary.

He nearly went that far with Ohman, whose hearing was scheduled for Friday. Hendry said that both sides agreed in principle to a deal on Wednesday night, and the paperwork was finalized Thursday morning.

"For a while, I thought we were going [to a hearing]," Hendry said.

Ohman, who had not pitched in the Majors since 2001 because of elbow injuries, returned to the Majors last April and went 2-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 69 appearances for the Cubs in 2005. He stranded 35 of 47 inherited runners, held opponents to a .201 batting average and made 58 scoreless appearances.

He made $320,000 last season and was looking for a bump to $775,000, while the team countered with an offer of $500,000.

Hendry characterized negotiations with the newly acquired Pierre, 28, as much easier than the numbers may have suggested. Pierre, who was acquired from the Florida Marlins during the Winter Meetings, was seeking $6.5 million in arbitration and the Cubs offered $5 million.

But according to Hendry, the sides were only $400,000-$500,000 apart when the filing deadline passed. He had "positive, solid negotiations" with Pierre's SFX Sports Group representatives, and both sides settled Thursday at the midpoint.

"There was never a threat of, 'We're going to a trial,'" Hendry said.

Pierre is one of the Cubs' most notable newcomers and is regarded as one of the most dangerous leadoff hitters in the National League. He batted .276 with 19 doubles, 13 triples and 47 RBIs in all 162 games for the Marlins last year.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.