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Cubs skirt arbitration with six; Garza remains

Cubs skirt arbitration with six; Garza remains

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Cubs skirt arbitration with six; Garza remains
CHICAGO -- The Cubs exchanged salary figures with Matt Garza on Tuesday, and avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker, Blake DeWitt, Geovany Soto, Ian Stewart, Chris Volstad and Randy Wells.

Garza, 28, submitted $12.5 million while the Cubs countered at $7.95 million. Garza made $5.95 million last season, his first with the Cubs, when he was 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA in 31 starts. He will be a free agent after the 2013 season.

Tuesday was the deadline for teams to exchange salary figures with arbitration-eligible players. Hearings are scheduled for Feb. 1-21 in St. Petersburg, Fla., but the Cubs and Garza could reach an agreement before then.

The Cubs' six other arbitration-eligible players all agreed to one-year deals. DeWitt, who batted .265 in 121 games last season, will make $1.1 million in 2012, while Baker, who batted .269 in 81 games, signed for $1.375 million.

Soto signed for $4.3 million, a boost from the $3 million he received in 2011. The catcher, who made $575,000 in 2010, batted .228 in 125 games last season, a drop from his .280 average in '10.

Wells (7-6, 4.99 ERA) was sidelined after his first start because of a strained right forearm muscle, but he made 23 starts and was 4-0 with a 3.32 ERA in six August outings. He made $475,000 last season and will receive $2.705 million.

Stewart and Volstad are both new to the Cubs. Stewart, acquired from the Rockies for Tyler Colvin and D.J. LeMahieu, made $2.228 million last year and will receive $2.237 million, while Volstad, acquired from the Marlins for Carlos Zambrano, earned $445,000 last season and will make $2.655 million.

The Cubs last went to arbitration with infielder Ryan Theriot in February 2010, which was the team's first hearing since 1993. Theriot was seeking $3.4 million and the Cubs offered $2.6 million. Theriot lost the case but still received a raise from his $500,000 salary in 2009.

Former Cubs GM Jim Hendry had settled 36 straight arbitration cases before Theriot's hearing. While he was general manager of the Red Sox, Cubs president Theo Epstein was able to reach an agreement with all eligible players without going to a hearing.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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