Aug 30, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcherJeff Samardzija
(29) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Cubs offered starter Jeff Samardzija a five-year, $55 million contract which he rejected. The numbers are not official, as 670 the Score’s Bruce Levine reports they did not come directly from Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein.
Samardzija, who turns 29 in January, is seeking an extension with the Cubs even though he is under club control through 2015. He is arbitration-eligible which means he will be paid $4.9 million in 2014 and up to $10 million with a solid performance during the 2014 season.
The right-hander had a down-year in 2013, going 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA in a career high 33 starts. He pitched 213 2/3 innings and struck out 214, which ranked fourth among National League pitchers.
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays have both been tied to trade talks with Samardzija. The Blue Jays and Diamondbacks have several pitching prospects in their farm system which interest the Cubs. Toronto has Aaron Sanchez, while Arizona have Archie Bradley and Tyler Skaggs. Arizona general manager Kevin Towers he will not make Bradley available.
Neither team has been reported to put forward an official offer, but there is also a sentiment that most of the teams in the market for pitching waiting for the Masahiro Tanaka situation to be resolved before making a move on Samardzija or David Price.
Trading Samardzija would be a step backwards in the short term but it has the potential to be a beneficial move for the Cubs long term if the young pitching prospects develop the way they are projected to.