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Moving West, Staying Put

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Dec 20, 2005 8:00PM

The off season remains a busy period for Chicago's two baseball teams as they continue to lock in their rosters for 2006 and beyond.

The Cubs officially said goodbye this week to Nomar Garciaparra, who agreed to a 1-year deal with the L.A. Dodgers. With the Dodgers, Nomar will move over to first base.

Nomar's injury-plagued season and a half were nothing like Cubs fans expected from the former All Star shortstop. He played just 125 games, hitting 13 home runs and driving in 50 -- Nothing like the numbers he put up in Boston. At 32, he hopes to put a string of injuries behind him and return to form. And something tells Chicagoist he's going to have another 25 homerun/100RBI season in L.A.

Meanwhile, the White Sox are making sure that one of their successful additions will be sticking around for a while. They signed catcher A.J Pierzynski to a 3-year, $15 million extension
this week, solidifying the position through 2008. At $5 million a year, he's a bargain compared to other better catchers. And his personification of "grinder" ball fired up teammates and fans alike.

Both teams now focus their attention on the remaining players eligible for salary arbitration. Both the Cubs and White Sox have a number of players who can expect hefty pay increases in 2006. Signs point to Jose Contreras agreeing to a new 3-year deal soon while they've had more trouble getting close to a deal with Jon Garland. If Contreras signs, then the Sox will have 5 starting pitchers under contract through 2007 without Garland. Will they look to move him?

The Cubs face arbitration hearings for Carlos Zambrano and Mark Prior, both of whom can expect to earn substantially more than the $3.76 million and $3.55 million they earned in 2005. Newly acquired Juan Pierre is eligible for arbitration but will likely sign a multi-year deal. And Corey Patterson is eligible for arbirtation after earning $2.8 million last season. Can the arbitrator rule that he has to pay the Cubs money in '06 because of his shitty play in '05?