Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Cubs beat Theriot in arbitration

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MESA, Ariz. - The Cubs won their arbitration case with shortstop Ryan Theriot, making the fourth-year starter's salary $2.6 million for 2010, instead of the $3.4 million he sought.

The decision was announced this morning after a four-hour hearing before a three-member panel Friday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

``There wasn't an adversarial attitude to it,'' said general manager Jim Hendry, who attended the meeting but left the arguments to a team representative. ``It was more of a philosophical-type case, for that type of player, first-time eligible. So really it was justa matter of how you wanted to look at the different type of players that were on the north or south of the midpoint.''

Because of the naturally confrontational nature of the hearing process, egos often are bruised and relationships strained. But Hendry, who said he chatted with Theriot before the hearing but not afterward, said he's not worried about bad feelings with a player he's known since Theriot's college days.

``Not at all. We hold our head high,'' Hendry said. ``We've always paid players what's fair. I think those of you that know us know we would have never been in [St. Petersburg] unless I thought that we'd already reached the point of the highest level of fairness.

``I'm not mad at Ryan for wanting to go. He has every right to put himself on the other side of the philosophical midpoint. I've known him for a long time, known him for 10 years. He's still being compensated what I thought was the fair number to begin with. So it's not like there's any big loss here. He'll be fine. And we're not worried about that at all.''

It was the Cubs' first arbitration hearing since 1993, when the team beat Mark Grace. Hendry had avoided hearings in all 36 previous cases as Cubs GM or assistant GM.

``It's part of the business of baseball,'' Hendry said. ``We've never gone before, and I think that speaks for itself. I don't think we've ever been accused [by anyone in MLB] of overpaying anybody [in an arb settlement], and I think the players have always felt we always came to a fair number. I always assumed sooner or later as a general manager we would be going. It's just part of the process. We'll move forward and put it behind us. And hopefully we don't have to go through the process again in my regime.''

Theriot, a career .288 hitter, made $500,000 last year.

His was the final hearing in baseball this year. Teams prevailed in five of the eight cases.

The Cubs are 4-2 in cases that have gone to arbitration since the process was instituted in 1974.

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on February 20, 2010 10:30 AM.

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