The Cubs and slick-fielding second baseman Darwin Barney negated the need for an arbitration hearing Thursday when they agreed to terms on a one-year contract, leaving right-hander Jeff Samardzija as Chicago's only arbitration-eligible player yet to sign.
Barney will earn $2.3 million, the exact midpoint of figures filed by each side last month. Barney sought $2.8 million, and the Cubs countered at $1.8 million.
The 28-year-old won a Gold Glove Award in 2012 and was a finalist in 2013 after committing only four errors in 141 games. At the plate, he batted a career-low .208 in his third full season, with a .266 on-base percentage, seven home runs and 41 RBIs.
With Barney's deal in the books, only Samardzija remains. Coming off a season in which he went 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA and set career-highs for innings (213 2/3) and strikeouts (214), Samardzija filed for $6.2 million in arbitration. The Cubs offered $4.4 million.
If they are unable to agree, the sides would present their cases in an arbitration hearing in Florida before Feb. 21. A three-member panel of judges would then choose one salary filing or the other, with no more room for negotiation.
The last time the Cubs had a hearing regarding a player was in 2010 when Ryan Theriot "lost" as the arbitrator ruled in favor of the team's $2.6 million offer over the $3.4 million bid submitted by the infielder.