CHICAGO -- The Cubs avoided arbitration with outfielder Nate Schierholtz, infielder Luis Valbuena and relievers James Russell and Pedro Strop on Friday, and exchanged salary figures with their other four arbitration-eligible players, including Jeff Samardzija.
Schierholtz signed for $5 million, while Valbuena agreed to a $1.71 million contract and Russell signed a $1.775 million deal with the Cubs. Strop signed a $1.325 million contract.
The other four arbitration-eligible players exchanged salary figures. The Cubs offered Samardzija $4.4 million, and he is seeking $6.2 million. Travis Wood filed for $4.25 million, and the Cubs countered at $3.5 million; Darwin Barney filed for $2.8 million, and the team offered $1.8 million. Justin Ruggiano, whom the Cubs acquired in a trade with the Marlins for Brian Bogusevic, was seeking $2.45 million, and the team offered $1.6 million.
The players and the Cubs will continue to negotiate. Arbitration hearings are scheduled for Feb. 1-21 if no settlement is reached before then.
Wood could get the biggest increase. The lefty, who was 9-12 last season, posting career highs in starts and innings pitched, earned $527,500 in 2013.
Valbuena, who made $930,000 last year, appeared in the most games at third base for the Cubs in 2013, batting .218 with 12 home runs and 14 doubles.
Schierholtz also was coming off a strong season in which he set personal bests in home runs (21), doubles (32), at-bats (462) and RBIs (68). The outfielder made $2.25 million in 2013.
A quick refresher on salary arbitration: Eligible players are those with at least three years of Major League service but fewer than the six years needed to qualify for free agency. If a case goes to a hearing, the player and the team each present their case to a three-member panel.
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.