Trying to deepen and diversify their pitching staff, the Cubs signed left-handers Clayton Richard ($2 million) and Rex Brothers ($1.42 million) to one-year deals.
The Cubs also tendered contracts to six other arbitration-eligible players before Wednesday night’s deadline: Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta; closer Hector Rondon; left-hander Travis Wood; setup guys Pedro Strop and Justin Grimm; and outfielder Chris Coghlan.
Whatever revenues start flowing into baseball operations after the Cubs won 97 games and two playoff rounds, a significant amount figured to go toward raises for arbitration-eligible players like Arrieta, who might triple the $3.63 million he earned during his unforgettable season (22-6, 1.77 ERA).
But the Cubs also became a contender with a series of under-the-radar moves, like giving the Pittsburgh Pirates one dollar to spring Richard from their Triple-A affiliate during the middle of the season.
Richard – who has made 132 career starts in the big leagues – became a trusted option out of Joe Maddon’s bullpen and put up six scoreless appearances in the playoffs.
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The Cubs acquired Brothers from the Colorado Rockies last week for minor-league left-hander Wander Cabrera. Brothers has a 3.42 career ERA, 278 strikeouts against 140 walks in 242-plus big-league innings and a 19-save season on his resume, but he split this year between the Rockies and their Triple-A affiliate and got designated for assignment last month.
The Cubs did not offer contracts to right-hander Ryan Cook and left-hander Jack Leathersich – who was not eligible for arbitration – and the 40-man roster now stands at 36 players.