The Cubs and Geovany Soto avoided salary arbitration as the big catcher signed a 1-year, $3 million deal. Soto turns 28 later this month and had a nice “bounce-back” year in 2010 with a .280 batting average and .393 on-base percentage (62 walks and only 82 K’s), 17 home runs and 53 RBI’s in 105 games. His season was cut short when he had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in September. Soto is expected to be fully healthy for 2011 Spring Training in February.
Soto was the National League Rookie of the Year back in 2008 when the Cubs had the most prolific offense in the NL. That year, Soto hit .285 with 23 dingers and 86 RBI’s. But injuries hampered Soto in 2009 as he struggled with a .218 batting average. He played in just 103 games in 2009 and had a career-low .321 on-base percentage. Let’s hope the positive trend continues for Soto in 2011. The Cubs need the catcher to be a consistent offensive threat in the middle of the lineup to provide a little extra protection for Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Carlos Pena and Tyler Colvin.
The Cubs now have just 3 other players who are arbitration-eligible — Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol and Matt Garza. It looks like the Cubs have traded Tom Gorzelanny to the Washington Nationals, so they will not have to come to terms with the lefty before the deadline. More on the Gorzelanny trade as details are confirmed.