The Cubs had agreed to contracts with four of their eight arbitration-eligible players before the salary-exchange deadline last Friday, leaving four possibly heading to arb hearings.
That number is now three:
#Cubs and Travis Wood reach agreement on $3.9 million contract and avoid arbitration— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) January 24, 2014
The $3.9 million deal seems eminently reasonable for a pitcher of Wood's experience level and performance from 2013, which landed him a spot on the National League All-Star team. The lefty had asked for $4.25 million and the Cubs offered $3.5 million, so the settlement is almost precisely at the midpoint of those two figures. That's a great example of how this process can work well.
That leaves three arb-eligible players still unsigned for 2013: Jeff Samardzija, who asked for $6.2 million and was offered $4.4 million; Darwin Barney, whose request was for $2.8 million, and the Cubs' offer $1.8 million, and Justin Ruggiano, who was offered $1.6 million and had filed for $2.45 million.
Arb hearings will take place from Feb. 1 through Feb. 21, so there's still at least a week for the Cubs to work out contract terms with those three before any hearing takes place. Strictly as a guess, I'd say that Ruggiano is likely the next to settle, then Barney... and that leaves Shark, who has the biggest gap between what he wants and what the team has offered.