The Cubs have declined their 2008 club options
on RHP Steve Trachsel
and OF Cliff Floyd
, and the Cubs and 1B-OF Daryle Ward
have agreed to exercise the 32-year old Ward's $1.2M mutual option for 2008, bringing the Cubs #1 LHPH and back-up 1B back to the team for one more year.
Ward is one of the top pinch-hitters in baseball, going 296/404/464 as a PH over the past three seasons, with 37 total pinch-hits (including four home runs and nine doubles) and 23 pinch-hit walks over that period of time.
Trachsel, who turned 37 on Halloween, was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles on August 31st for 3B Scott Moore
and RHP Rocky Cherry
, but pitched poorly for the Cubs in September and was left off the Cubs post-season roster.
The 34-year old Floyd was signed by the Cubs as a FA last January.
Trachsel and Floyd had filed (provisionally) for free-agency earlier this week while waiting for the Cubs to decide whether to exercise their options for next season.
The only issue still to be resolved regarding potential Cubs free-agents is Scott Eyre
's $3.8M player option for next season. Eyre has until November 12th to file for free-agency. If he doesn't, he returns to the Cubs in 2008.
The Cubs have also added RHP Adam Harben
to their 40-man roster. Harben was acquired frrom the Minnesota Twins in September 2006 as the PTBNL in the Phil Nevin
deal, but suffered a torn elbow ligament while pitching in the AFL a year ago.
After undergoing Tommy John surgery, Harben was non-tendered last December 12th, but signed a minor league contract with the Cubs that allowed him to spend the 2007 season rehabbing at Fitch Park in Mesa. He made three rehab starts for the AZL Cubs in August, and should be 100% by the time pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park in February. The last season prior to his injury (2006), the now 24-year old Harben was a rotation starter for the Twins in AA.
It's possible the Cubs will bring Harben back the same way they did with Rocky Cherry after Cherry's 2005 TJ surgery, and that is as a late-inning reliever. Cherry had been a rotation starter prior to his injury, but found success as a set-up man and closer when he returned to action in 2006.
Harben has two minor league options left.
Speaking of minor league options, here is the 2008 minor league option status for players on the Cubs 40-man roster who have less than five years of MLB service time (and thus cannot refuse an optional assignment to the minors).
* Must clear Optional Assignment Waivers to be optioned to minors
NO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT
ONE MINOR LEAGUE OPTION LEFT
* Neal Cotts (eligible for salary arbitration)
* Angel Guzman (likely 60-day DL in 2008 after TJ surgery)
* Michael Wuertz (eligible for salary arbitration)
TWO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT
THREE MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT