Chicago Cubs Wiretap
Second baseman/outfielder Jerry Hairston Jr. agreed to a one-year, $2.3 million deal Monday with the Chicago Cubs and avoided a salary arbitration hearing.
Hairston, acquired by the Cubs on Feb. 2 last year from Baltimore for Sammy Sosa, hit .261 in 114 games last season with four homers and 30 RBIs. He appeared in 44 games at second and 58 in the outfield, including 48 in center field. He was slowed in August by a problem with an elbow ligament.
Hairston made $1.85 million last season. He asked for $2.6 million in arbitration and the Cubs countered with an offer of $1.95 million.
Wade Miller's signing most likely is the last major addition to the pitching staff before spring training opens in three weeks.
While rumors have floated all winter about the Cubs acquiring Oakland lefty Barry Zito, that likelihood appears dim?at least until the midseason trading deadline.
The Chicago Cubs and pitcher Wade Miller agreed Monday to a one-year contract that will pay $1 million in salary and up to another $1 million in bonuses based on the number of starts he makes.
Bothered by shoulder problems, the 29-year-old right-hander was 4-4 with a 4.95 ERA in 16 starts in his lone season with the Boston Red Sox. He spent the first five weeks and the final two months on the disabled list, and the Cubs expect him to miss at least the first month of this season.
Miller was with the Houston Astros for his first six major league seasons, going 16-8 in 2001 and 15-4 in 2002. He is 62-43 with five complete games and a 3.98 ERA during his career.
"We've always thought world of him," general manager Jim Hendry said. "He's a winning-type guy."
Although Sammy Sosa does not have a home for next season yet, the former Cub has no intention of playing in Japan, although he has received offers from at least two Japanese teams, sources told the Japan Times.
Washington continues to court Sosa, but the two sides reportedly are arguing about whether he should get a guaranteed major-league contract or a minor-league deal.
Five Cubs could be headed for salary-arbitration hearings scheduled between Feb. 1-21. Then again, the monetary differences in every case don't appear insurmountable.
When the deadline came Tuesday for both sides to exchange proposed 2006 salaries, Carlos Zambrano had a $1.2 million difference with the club and Mark Prior only a $700,000 gap. Zambrano filed to earn $7.2 million compared to the Cubs' proposal of $6 million. Prior is seeking $4 million, while the team countered with $3.3 million.
The biggest financial chasm among the arbitration-eligible Cubs was new center fielder Juan Pierre, who was acquired in a trade with Florida last December. He filed at $6.5 million, even after what he acknowledged was an underachieving season in 2005. The Cubs offered him $5 million and certainly don't want to get off to a bitter dispute with him, so these negotiations could be worth watching.
Second baseman Jerry Hairston wants $2.6 million, while the Cubs are dangling $1.95 million. Reliever Will Ohman asked for $775,000, more than the $500,000 the Cubs considered to be a fair return for his past value.
"We feel like we always do, that we're trying to be fair to the player,'' general manager Jim Hendry said. "We have proven in the past that we are willing to be more than fair."
Cubs Jan 2006 Archive