Cubs, Theriot could be headed to hearing

Theriot could be headed to hearing

CHICAGO -- Cubs general manager Jim Hendry has never gone to arbitration during his tenure but may be headed for a hearing with shortstop Ryan Theriot.

Theriot has asked for $3.4 million while the Cubs countered at $2.6 million. Arbitration hearings are scheduled through Feb. 21 in St. Petersburg, Fla. The team has not said when a hearing is scheduled.

"I haven't spoken to his people for awhile," Hendry said Tuesday about Theriot's situation. "There's always a chance [for a settlement] until it's final. But I can't say I'm optimistic, either. We're already settled with the other seven [arbitration-eligible players]. So if the situation ends up going to a hearing, then that's OK, too.

"Everybody has a right to [a hearing]," Hendry said. "It won't affect, obviously, the way we feel about him or the way he plays."

Hendry came close to a hearing in February 2007 with pitcher Carlos Zambrano but settled minutes before it was scheduled to start. Hendry and Zambrano's agent, Barry Praver, were walking toward the hearing room in the Phoenix Hyatt and decided they were close enough to a settlement to skip the session.

"We hadn't walked actually in [the room] yet, but we were getting close to it," Praver said at the time.

"Barry and I agreed, they couldn't start without us," Hendry said.

Zambrano had asked for $15.5 million that year and the Cubs countered with an offer of $11.025 million. The two sides reached an agreement on a one-year, $12.4 million deal.

Going into the session, Hendry had told his staff to avoid getting personal or say anything disparaging about Zambrano. The same applies to Theriot's case.

Theriot, who turned 30 in December, established career highs in triples (five), homers (seven) and RBIs (54), and led the team with 154 games played, 602 at-bats and 21 stolen bases. His seven homers equaled the amount he hit from 2006-08. He also led the National League in singles (139).

Theriot batted .284, but his strikeouts and walk totals flip-flopped. In 2008, he struck out 58 times to go along with 73 walks. Last year, he fanned 93 times and drew 51 walks.

Theriot could be the Cubs' leadoff man this season, sharing time at the top of the order with outfielder Kosuke Fukudome.

The Cubs have not gone to arbitration since 1993, and have a 3-2 record overall. In 1980, Bruce Sutter sought $700,000 and the Cubs offered $350,000. Sutter won the case. In 1985, Leon Durham asked for $1.1 million and the Cubs offered $800,000. The Cubs won.

In 1988, Andre Dawson asked for $2 million and the Cubs offered $1.85 million. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the Cubs. In 1990, Shawon Dunston asked for $1.25 million and the team countered at $925,000. Dunston won.

The Cubs won in 1993 when Mark Grace filed for $4.1 million and the team offered $3.1 million.

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