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01/04/11 11:18 AM EST

Five Cubs prepare to file for salary arbitration

CHICAGO -- Starting Wednesday, Cubs pitchers Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall and Tom Gorzelanny, and catchers Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill can file for salary arbitration.

The five have at least three but fewer than six years of service in Major League Baseball. Players have until Jan. 15 to file, and the two sides will exchange salary figures Jan. 18. If they cannot reach an agreement, the two sides will present their cases before an arbitrator during hearings, which will take place from Feb. 1-21.

Infielder Jeff Baker, 29, also was arbitration-eligible, but he renewed on a $1.175 million contract on Dec. 2.

Marmol will likely receive the biggest raise. In his first season as closer, in 2010, the right-hander converted 38 of 43 save opportunities and struck out 138 batters over 77 2/3 innings. His 15.99 strikeouts per nine innings was the highest single-season mark for a reliever in Major League history. Eric Gagne had the previous high (14.98 Ks per nine).

The 28-year-old made $2.125 million last season, a significant hike from his 2009 salary of $575,000. He has two more years before he will be eligible for free agency; the same is true for Marshall, Gorzelanny and Hill.

Marshall, 28, who made $950,000 in 2010, is coming off a season in which he set career highs in games (80) and strikeouts (90), and matched his personal high for wins, with seven. The lefty compiled a 2.65 ERA and held the opposition scoreless in 66 of his 80 outings.

Gorzelanny, 28, went 7-9 with a 4.09 ERA in his first full season with the Cubs, making 23 starts. The lefty made $800,000 last season.

Soto, who turns 28 on Jan. 20, bounced back from a disappointing sophomore season to bat .280 with 17 homers and 53 RBIs. His year ended early, as he missed the final two weeks after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder. Soto was paid $575,000 last year, and this is the first time he is arbitration-eligible.

Hill, 31, batted .214 in 77 games with the Cubs, making 60 starts. He made $700,000 last season.

Last February, the Cubs went to arbitration for the first time since 1993. Infielder Ryan Theriot was seeking $3.4 million, and the Cubs offered $2.6 million. Theriot lost the case but still received an increase from his $500,000 salary in 2009.

Theriot's case was the last to be heard in 2010 in Major League Baseball. Teams won the arbitration cases, 5-3.

General manager Jim Hendry had settled 36 cases before Theriot's. The Cubs did come close to a hearing in 2007, with Carlos Zambrano, but Hendry and Zambrano's agent settled minutes before the session started.

The Cubs have a 4-2 record in arbitration cases. Prior to Theriot, the last player to go to a hearing was Mark Grace, who filed for $4.1 million in 1993. The Cubs offered $3.1 million and won.

In 1980, Bruce Sutter sought $700,000, and the Cubs offered $350,000. Sutter won. In 1985, Leon Durham asked for $1.1 million, but the Cubs won with their offer of $800,000.

In 1988, Andre Dawson asked for $2 million, and the Cubs offered $1.85 million. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the Cubs. In 1990, Shawon Dunston asked for $1.25 million, and the team countered at $925,000. Dunston won.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.