The Chicago Cubs have agreed to terms with left-handed pitchers Sean Marshall and Tom Gorzelanny, right-handed pitcher Matt Garza and catcher Geovany Soto, thus avoiding arbitration. Marshall agreed to terms on a two-year contract while Garza, Gorzelanny and Soto agreed to terms on 2011 contracts. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Marshall, 28, went 7-5 with one save, 22 holds and a 2.65 ERA (22 ER/74.2 IP) in a career-high 80 relief appearances with the Cubs last season. He also set a career best with 90 strikeouts, tied his career high in wins and tied for eighth in the National League in holds. Marshall became only the second Cubs southpaw in franchise history to reach 80 appearances, joining Jeff Fassero (82 in 2001).
In 2010, Marshall limited foes to a .210 batting average, stranded 34 of 42 inherited runners and held the opposition scoreless in 66 of his 80 outings. Marshall is 26-34 with two saves, 32 holds and a 4.24 ERA (214 ER/454.1 IP) in 214 major league appearances, including a 10-8 record with a 2.89 ERA (46 ER/143.1 IP) in 155 big league relief outings.
Soto, who turns 28 on Thursday, batted .280 (90-for-322) with 19 doubles, 17 home runs, 53 RBI, a .393 on-base percentage and a .497 slugging percentage in 105 games with the Cubs last season. In 2010, Soto's on-base percentage would have tied for fourth in the National League had he tallied the plate appearances to qualify while his .890 OPS led all major league catchers with at least 300 at-bats.
The 2008 National League Rookie of the Year and the starting catcher for the All-Star team, Soto has a career .268 batting average (329-for-1,227) with 80 doubles, 54 home runs, 196 RBI and a .360 on-base percentage in 378 games covering all or part of six seasons with the Cubs.
Acquired by the Cubs from Tampa Bay as part of an eight-player trade January 8, Garza went 15-10 with three complete games, one save and a 3.91 ERA (89 ER/204.2 IP) in 33 appearances (32 starts) with Tampa Bay last year. He limited foes to a .248 batting average, including a .241 mark to left-handed hitters and a .255 mark to right-handed hitters. Garza tossed the first no-hitter in Tampa Bay franchise history, July 26, 2010 vs. the Tigers.
Garza, who turned 27 last November, joined the Rays prior to the 2008 campaign and has combined to go 34-31 with one save and a 3.86 ERA (254 ER/592.1 IP) in 95 big league appearances, all but one as a starter, the last three seasons. The righthander has made at least 30 starts each of the last three seasons and thrown more than 200 innings each of the last two campaigns. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound righthander was a member of the 2008 and 2010 Tampa Bay post-season clubs, earning 2008 ALCS Most Valuable Player honors. Garza is 42-44 with a 3.97 ERA (320 ER/725.1 IP) in 121 major league outings (118 starts) with Minnesota (2006-07) and Tampa Bay (2008-10).
Gorzelanny, 28, went 7-9 with one save and a 4.09 ERA (62 ER/136.1 IP) in 29 appearances, 23 as a starter, with the Cubs last season.
The southpaw is 36-37 with one save and a 4.68 ERA (290 ER/558.0 IP) in 118 major league appearances, 95 as a starter, with Pittsburgh (2005-09) and the Cubs (2009-10). He was acquired by the Cubs from the Pirates with left-handed pitcher John Grabow on July 30, 2009.