Cubs notes: Ohman signs two-year deal

Cubs notes: Ohman signs two-year deal

CHICAGO -- The Cubs avoided arbitration with Will Ohman, signing the left-hander to a two-year, $2.5 million deal on Tuesday, and exchanged figures with Carlos Zambrano and Mark Prior, who are seeking raises.

Zambrano and Prior are the only arbitration-eligible players remaining for the Cubs, and they and the team submitted salary figures on Tuesday.

Zambrano, who was paid $6.5 million in 2006, is asking for $15.5 million in 2007. The Cubs countered with an offer of $11.025 million. The right-hander was 16-7 with a 3.41 ERA in 33 starts last season, matching his career high in wins. Zambrano, 25, will be eligible for free agency after the 2007 season, and the Cubs may try to reach an agreement on a long-term deal before Opening Day.

Prior, who is coming off an injury-shortened season in which he was 1-6 in nine starts, is asking for $3.875 million. The Cubs have countered with an offer of $3.4 million. Prior made $3.65 million in 2006.

If the two sides cannot reach an agreement, there will be a hearing in front of an independent arbitrator. The hearings usually take place in February.

The Cubs have not gone to arbitration with a player in the 12 years Andy MacPhail was team president, and the last player to do so with the team was Mark Grace in 1993.

Ohman, 29, set career-highs in 2006 in games (78), innings (65 1/3) and strikeouts (74). He led the team by stranding 80.5 percent of inherited runners and limiting hitters to a .208 batting average. Ohman held opponents scoreless in 63 of his 78 appearances, and he struck out at least one batter in 51 of his 78 outings.

Congratulations: Jacque Jones will miss the Cubs Convention this weekend because he is being honored by San Diego High School during their "Athletes of the Century" banquet on Friday.

Jones, 31, played baseball, basketball and football at the school. He graduated in 1993, and then attended the University of Southern California.

The Cubs outfielder has had a busy offseason, beginning with a trip to Japan as part of the MLB tour. He also took part in January in the two-day Players Trust Golf Tournament, held at Torrey Pines in San Diego. The Players Trust is a charitable foundation, and the first in professional sports to be established and administered by the players themselves. The trust donates to more than 120 charities each year. Jones donated his money and time to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast.

"That was really a good trip for me -- just to go down and see the devastation," Jones said. "We've been a year removed from it, and to see all the people down there who have been active and want to get things turned around [is encouraging]."

Jones has been rehabbing his shoulder as well, and was expected to report to Cubs camp healthy. He overcame a slow start to finish with a .285 average, 27 home runs and 81 RBIs last season, his first in Chicago.

Check your calendars: The Cubs have announced some time changes from the originally published home schedule for the 2007 season.

The April 14 game against Cincinnati will start at 12:05 p.m. CT, while the April 21 game vs. the defending world champion St. Louis Cardinals will begin at 2:55 p.m. CT and be broadcast on FOX.

The May 5 game against the Washington Nationals will be played at 12:05 p.m. CT, while the May 9 game against Pittsburgh has been changed to a night game, starting at 7:05 p.m. CT. The May 19 Interleague game against the Chicago White Sox will begin at 2:55 p.m. CT, and also be broadcast on FOX.

The June 2 game against Atlanta, the June 16 game vs. San Diego and the June 30 game against Milwaukee will each begin at 12:05 p.m. CT.

In July, the game vs. Houston on July 14 will be played at 2:55 p.m. CT and broadcast on FOX, and the July 21 game against Arizona will be played at 12:05 p.m. CT.

The Aug. 4 game against the New York Mets wil begin at 2:55 p.m. CT; the Aug. 18 game vs. the Cardinals will be played at 2:55 p.m. CT and broadcast on FOX. The Aug. 5 game vs. the New York Mets and the Aug. 19 games vs. the Cardinals now are officially listed as "to be determined."

The Sept. 1 game vs. Houston will begin at 12:05 p.m. CT; and the Sept. 22 game vs. Pittsburgh will be played at 12:05 p.m. CT

Salute: Cubs interim team president John McDonough will be among those honored at the 61st Pitch and Hit Club Awards dinner Jan. 28 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill.

Other honorees include Ned Colletti, a former Cubs executive and current Los Angeles Dodgers general manager; Maury Wills, Bob Watson, Roger Bossard, and Dave Dombrowski. For more information on the event, fans can contact

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