The Cubs are showing little interest in signing Ryan Theriot long-term.
While the club avoided arbitration hearings with five players on Tuesday, they failed to sign Theriot.
It’s a wake-up call for the second baseman who’s seeking $3.4M. The Cubs counter with a $2.6M offer.
That’s a considerable gap, wide enough to be settled in a hearing, and a situation Chicago has avoided all together since Mark Grace’s case in 1993 (he lost).
Arbitration is never pretty and often compromises the building of long-term player relationships.
The Cubs, however, appear disinterested in Theriot beyond this year, as evident by their reluctance to pay him his full asking price.
What’s clear is Jim Hendry only wants Theriot for one more year and for as little green as possible. Otherwise, this situation is moving in a different direction.
The anticipated arrival of top-prospect Starlin Castro (who could very well be the next ‘big-thing’ or the next Rey Ordonez) seems to a risk the Cubs are willing to take at the expense of fraying its relationship with Theriot.
It could turn into a double-whammy for Theriot if he losses his arbitration hearing and eventually his starting position to the younger, more talented Castro. If so, it’s likely Theriot’s tenure as a Cub will come to a quick end by the trade-deadline or season’s end.