Cubs agree to terms with six salary arbitration eligible players

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have agreed to terms on one-year contracts with the following six players to avoid salary arbitration: infielders Jeff Baker, Blake Dewitt and Ian Stewart; catcher Geovany Soto and right-handed pitchers Chris Volstad and Randy Wells.  Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Baker, 30, returns for his fourth season with the Cubs after batting .269 (54-for-201) with 12 doubles, three home runs and 23 RBI in 81 games last season.  The versatile Baker last year played 19 games at first base (15 starts), 18 games at second base (15 starts), 11 games at third base (five starts), 10 games in right field (six starts) and one start in left field.  Baker batted .314 (38-for-121) against left-handed pitching.  He is a career .270 hitter (316-for-1,171) in 460 big league games with Colorado (2005-09) and the Cubs (2009-present).

DeWitt, 26, batted .265 (61-for-230) with 11 doubles, five home runs and 26 RBI in 121 games with the Cubs last year, his first full season with the club after being acquired from the Dodgers on July 31, 2010.  He made starts at second base (15), third base (eight) and left field (17) last season.  DeWitt is a career .260 hitter (283-for-1,087) in 404 major league games with the Dodgers (2008-10) and the Cubs (2010-present).  

Soto, who turns 29 on Friday, batted .228 (96-for-421) with 26 doubles, 17 home runs and 54 RBI in 125 games with the Cubs last season.  His 17 home runs ranked third among all National League catchers, and his 30 caught stealings behind the plate were third-most among major league catchers.  The 2008 N.L. Rookie of the Year is a career .258 hitter (425-for-1,648) with 106 doubles, 71 homers and 250 RBI in 503 games with the Cubs (2005-present).

Stewart, 26, was acquired by the Cubs from the Rockies as part of a four-player trade December 8.  He is a career .236 hitter (293-for-1,242) with 61 doubles, 54 home runs and 187 RBI in 432 major league games with the Rockies (2007-11), playing the majority of his games at third base (354). Stewart has averaged 23 doubles, 20 home runs and 70 RBI per 162 games in his major league career.  In 2011, he batted .156 with six doubles in 48 games with Colorado and hit .275 with 14 home runs and 42 RBI in 45 games at Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Volstad, 25, was acquired by the Cubs from the Marlins on January 5.  He went 5-13 with a 4.89 ERA (90 ER/165.2 IP) in 29 starts last year, finishing strong by posting a 2.41 ERA (10 ER/37.1 IP) in his final six starts.  Volstad is 32-39 with a 4.59 ERA (298 ER/584.0 IP) in 103 major league appearances (102 starts) with the Marlins (2008-11), making at least 29 starts each of the last three years, including a career-best 30 in 2010 when he went 12-9 with a 4.58 ERA (89 ER/175.0 IP).

Wells, 29, went 7-6 with a 4.99 ERA (75 ER/135.1 IP) in 23 starts with the Cubs last season, missing two months due to a right forearm strain.  He worked at least six innings in 16 of his 23 starts, at least seven innings in five starts and tossed two complete games.  Wells also issued two walks or fewer in 16 starts and allowed two earned runs or fewer in nine outings.  In four major league seasons, Wells is 27-30 with a 4.01 ERA (223 ER/500.1 IP) in 86 appearances, all but four as a starter.