Cubs plan to keep all arb-eligible players

Cubs plan to keep all arb-eligible players

CHICAGO -- The Cubs were expected to tender contracts to eight of their nine arbitration-eligible players, and they expect to re-sign the lone exception, pitcher Neal Cotts.

Teams must make a decision by 10:59 p.m. CT on Saturday. The players who will likely be tendered include infielder Jeff Baker, second baseman Mike Fontenot, catcher Koyie Hill, shortstop Ryan Theriot and pitchers Tom Gorzelanny, Angel Guzman, Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall.

All have at least three years but less than six years of service in Major League Baseball. Fontenot became eligible as a "Super Two" player because he finished in the top 17 percent of players with at least two but less than three years of Major League service. Fontenot has two years, 139 days of service time.

The players' agents and the clubs each submit salary figures to a panel of arbitrators Jan. 5-15, and those are exchanged Jan. 19. Hearings are held Feb. 1-21.

Cotts began the 2009 season with the team but was optioned to Triple-A Iowa after 19 games. He pitched in 12 games in the Minor Leagues before experiencing pain in his left elbow. He underwent Tommy John surgery on July 2, then moved to Arizona to rehab at the Cubs' facility.

The one positive of the injury was that Cotts was able to spend time with his new son, Madden.

"I would rather be pitching," Cotts said in October, "but getting to see your first child grow up -- [being hurt] has been a blessing in disguise."

The Cubs have not gone to arbitration since 1993. The team has a 3-2 record in such cases. The last hearing was in 1993, when Mark Grace filed for $4.1 million and the Cubs offered $3.1 million. The Cubs won that case.

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