With arbitration looming and faiths ready to be tested, you have to ask, should the Cubs give Jeff Samardzija what he wants?
Samardzija, 29, is coming off of a solid 2013 campaign in which is ERA (4.34) is a tad misleading, as when you look at the FIP (3.77) and xFIP (3.45) all signs point to bad luck regarding the ERA. With a nice season consisting of 213 innings, 9.01 K/9 rate, and a promise of ace potential, Jeff Samardzija is looking to cash in big with an extension. Before that however, there is an impending arbitration case coming, which will test the faith of Theo and Jed.
According to Bruce Levine, that arbitration date is going to be February 10th, a week from today. Samardzija is going in asking for 6.2 million, and the Cubs feel 4.4 mil is more reasonable. With this quite considerable distance apart (1.8 million), it`s fair to ask if a deal will actually be reached to avoid the hearing. If you`re in the pro-Jeff Samardzija extension club like me and many other Cub fans, you ask yourself; why not just give him the 1.8 million more he desires, and maybe show a sign of faith and show that Theo & Jed want Jeff here for years to come? Maybe that would help drum up a long term deal to keep the righty happy in Chicago?
Well, we can`t act like nearly 2 million bucks is a small sum. Yes, the Cubs have enough dough where they could stomach the rise in pay, but next year when this time rolls around again the price will be even larger. By handing Jeff that much money, you also risk rising the price of the market, as other players will see Jeff`s numbers and go “why can`t i get that?”. You want to keep those arbitration numbers as (relatively) small as you can before they explode. So, the chances of the Cubs avoiding the hearing surely look slim as the Cubs don`t seem to want to cave into Samardzija`s demands, in arbitration or long term, but you can never count it out. Matt Garza agreed to a deal avoiding arbitration the day before last year.
We`ll see, it doesn`t seem like the Cubs and Samardzija are seeing eye to eye right now (price wise), maybe the Cubs are undervaluing Samardzija`s ace potential, maybe Samardzija is asking too much for his 4.34 E.R.A, but hey, you never know what will happen. We want to hear from you; should the Cubs show a sign of good faith by caving in on that 1.8 million, possibly increasing the chances of an extension? Or should they stick to their guns with the danger of dismaying Jeff even more? Let`s all just hope Theo, Jed, and Jeff can agree to a contract before they have to go to a hearing a week from today, where it`s possible that player`s feelings towards an organization can turn sour.