Jeff Samardzija is arguably one of the greatest debates amongst the Cubs’ fan base right now, as the team decides whether or not to keep the tall right-hander, or deal him to add to a farm system in need of Major League-ready, young pitching talent.
Samardzija has voiced his opinion many times over the course of the offseason and even the last year or two, and it usually touches on the fact that he craves winning, and doesn’t seem content with the current rebuilding, punt-a-season phase.
Shark, as they call him, appeared on the Dan Patrick Show earlier this week to discuss many topics including his future with the organization that drafted him. And based on his comments, it doesn’t seem like Sharkmania will be in Chicago for much longer:
“I said that [you get tired of the losing] from the beginning. The only reason we’re at where we are now is because of that situation. It it’s a different situation, and we’re winning, competing for the playoffs every year, I think a deal is already done, and I’m there for a long time. But I want to win. I know how old I am. I know when prime years are, and when everything starts changing, and I’m right there. I don’t enjoy rebuilding”
While anything can happen on the negotiating table, Samardzija’s comments don’t seem to bode well for a long-term deal.
“I want to win. That’s my number one goal. I don’t care about anything else but winning.”
That could end up being what ends this long Cubs relationship with Shark, as even though the Cubs are clearly doing a great job setting themselves up for future (and sustainable) success, a pitcher such as Samardzija won`t want to stick around to see that light at the end of the tunnel, as it may be too late.
Samardzija is obviously aware of his “prime” seasons, and it’s clear he wants to spend his best years with a contender, instead of “wasting” his best years with a team like the Cubs who are finishing in the cellar year after year. This may very well lead to a trade, as Samardzija seems to be prepared for:
“I don’t know, I think it really depends on how this team turns out this season,” Samardzija said. “I think it’s looking like it, but I don’t want to say anything for sure because I don’t want to be traded. I want to play my career in Chicago with the Cubs. I love being there.”
While it may be unfortunate for Cubs fans to hear Shark seemingly expecting a deal, it’s understandable for both sides as Samardzija undoubtedly wants to win, and win soon, while the Cubs are evidently always looking to bolster the farm system, especially young pitching.