The Cubs have re-signed outfielder Reed Johnson for 2009. Here's the official press release:
The Chicago Cubs and outfielder Reed Johnson have agreed to terms on a 2009 contract. Johnson was to be eligible for salary arbitration. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Cubs also offered arbitration to their three other arb-eligible players: Ronny Cedeno, Kevin Gregg and Michael Wuertz. I would expect all of them to sign long before any arb hearing was scheduled. We now have an "official" approximate payroll figure:
The signings put 13 players under contract for next year at a total of $121.375 million -- already more than what the entire 25-man roster was guaranteed when last season opened (a number that reached $130 million by the end of the season).
And, the Angels have offered Mark Teixeira an eight-year contract to stay in Los Angeles of Anaheim:
The Angels had not intended to go to eight years, but the market apparently has forced their boldest move yet to retain Teixeira, the player they made their highest offseason priority from the moment he filed for free agency.
The bar has been firmly set at $20 million per year for Teixeira, the hottest property on the market. Boras initially said he was seeking a 10-year, $200 million contract for the slugger who began his career with the Rangers in 2003 and has 203 homers and 676 RBIs in six seasons with a .290 career average
This appears to be a legitimate offer, and that may set the market higher than otherwise expected for other free agents. It seems, so far, that only the wealthiest of teams (Yankees, Angels) can afford the premier free agents this offseason. Whether this reflects reticence on the part of other teams, the effects of the uncertain economy going into 2009, or both, remains to be seen. This, and the $121.375 million already on the 2009, payroll, are yet more reasons, in my opinion, that Jim Hendry should stay away from the high-priced outfield market and focus on acquiring someone like Jeremy Hermida by trade.
This article at mlb.com on non-tenders contains the following interesting information:
Among the closers still out there, Kerry Wood is having the results of a physical studied by the Indians...
Still studying medical reports? You'd have thought that would be done by now. The article also lists Joey Gathright as a non-tender. What about the idea of Gathright as a platoon partner for Reed Johnson, and keeping Kosuke Fukudome in right field?