According to multiple reports, the Chicago Cubs and right-hander Jeff Samardzija have avoided an arbitration hearing that was slated for Monday, agreeing to terms on a one-year, $5.345 million contract.
Last season, Samardzija went 8-13 with a 4.34 earned run average, but broke the 200-innings pitched mark for the first time in his career (213 2/3) and the 200-strikeout plateau, notching 214 punchouts, which ranked fourth amongst National League pitchers, trailing only Clayton Kershaw (232), Cliff Lee (222) and Adam Wainwright (219).
The two sides have not come any closer to working out a long-term contract extension this offseason, with Samardzija indicating that he wants to play for a competitor. He did, however, admit that he hopes the two sides can work something out in the future.
Samardzija saw his WHIP increase last season to 1.348, a jump from 1.219 – the best mark of his career – in 2012. He also walked a career-high 78 batters in his 213 2/3 innings of work, up from 56 walks in 174 2/3 innings in 2012. Many question what role he will have in the organization moving forward, with some saying he will establish himself as a legitimate ace, and others, including myself, believing he is a solid number three, potentially a number two on a contending big league pitching staff.
The right-hander is slated to hit the free agent market following the 2015 season. With the announcement of Samardzija’s one-year deal, the Cubs will not have any arbitration-eligible players take part in hearings this week.