Two days before a scheduled arbitration hearing, the Cubs and pitcher Jeff Samardzija avoided the often-bitter hearing process and agreed to terms Saturday on a one-year, $5.345 million deal.
Samardzija, who’s expected to make his second consecutive Opening Day start March 31 in Pittsburgh, was the last of eight arbitration-eligible players the Cubs struck deals with this offseason.
Cubs pitchers and catchers report for spring training in Mesa, Ariz., on Thursday.
Samardzija’s salary will be slightly closer to the $6.2 million arbitration figure he filed than the club’s $4.4 million offer.
Because of failed attempts to agree on a multiyear deal, Samardzija was shopped in trade talks this winter and is expected to be dealt by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
He had an unremarkable 8-13 record and 4.34 ERA in 2013 but was one of only 10 pitchers in the majors with at least 200 innings and 200 strikeouts. Five of the 10 are Cy Young winners.
Samardzija, 29, has the third-highest salary on the Cubs’ projected opening roster, behind pitchers Edwin Jackson ($11 million) and Jason Hammel ($6 million). The Cubs are projected to open with a payroll of just under $85 million, their lowest in more than a decade and among the bottom third in the majors this season.