The Cubs closed a one-year deal with infielder Jeff Baker on Thursday and tendered contracts to each of their other five players eligible for arbitration. The club made the announcement hours ahead of the 10:59 p.m. CT deadline for teams to tender contracts to unsigned players under their control or release them to the free-agent market. Besides Baker, who avoided the arbitration process by signing for 2011, the Cubs retained the rights to closer Carlos Marmol, left-handers Sean Marshall and Tom Gorzelanny and catchers Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill. Baker, 29, who earned $975,000 last season in his first year of arbitration eligibility, will make $1.175 million in 2011, according to a FOXSports.com report.
Baker earned a slight raise after playing in 79 games for the Cubs and batting .272 with a .326 on-base percentage and hitting .350 against left-handed pitchers. Baker played third base, second base, first base and right field during the year. Since being acquired from the Rockies on July 2, 2009, Baker has batted .289 (118-for-409) with 28 doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 42 RBIs, a .344 on-base percentage and a .430 slugging percentage in 148 games with the Cubs. He broke into the big leagues with Colorado in 2005 and was a member of its '07 National League championship team. Of the Cubs' five remaining arbitration-eligible players, the costliest by far will be Marmol, who earned $2.125 million last season in his first year of eligibility and went on to save 38 games while posting a 2.55 ERA. Marshall ($950,000 salary in 2010) and Soto ($575,000) are also due hefty raises after solid seasons. Soto is arbitration-eligible for the first time.