MLB’s arbitration deadline occurs tonight at midnight. That means Cubs GM Jim Hendry has until tonight to figure out which players he wants to offer arbitration. As a 6-year Type A free agent, the Cubs will likely offer arbitration to former closer Kerry Wood. If Wood signs with another MLB team, that team would have to give the Cubs 2 compensatory draft picks in the 2009 MLB draft. Reliever Bob Howry is also a Type A free agent, but the Cubs are not expected to offer him arbitration because of his poor 2008 showing, and the ability for the Cubs to build bullpen support from within.
Jim Edmonds and Daryle Ward are also free agents, but they are non-compensatory players. That means that even if the Cubs offered either player arbitration, and either player signed with a different team, the team signing either player would not owe the Cubs any draft picks.
We’ll keep you posted how Hendry plays his cards with these free agent players. Most likely, Wood will be the only free agent offered arbitration by the Cubs.