Chicago Cubs: Will they really consider signing Jeff Samardzija?
The Cubs and Samardzija have been linked early on this offseason
The talk around the Chicago Cubs offseason plans is centered around pitching. While their offense held up their end of the deal for much of the season, the lack of depth in the starting rotation started catching up with the Cubs late. Now the top-tier names like David Price and Zack Greinke have been linked to Chicago. And so has Jeff Samardzija. Wait, what? Is this real life?
It indeed is as it appears there is at least a mutual interest between the two parties to discuss things further. It was just last season that the Cubs offered Samardzija a $60 million deal, with rumors they may have crept up to $80 million after he scoffed at the previous deal. The potential was always there for Shark. Sure, he gave up some home runs, but it’s Wrigley Field–it happens. He was a Jim Hendry era player but was one that could carry over into the Cubs future plans. In the end, with the Cubs scuffling they decided to move him to Oakland along with Jason Hammel. That deal may have helped the Cubs turn the corner. Samardzija did too, but he turned the wrong way.
The White Sox made plenty of noise in the offseason and looked like a team to reckon with coming out of Spring Training. That hope quickly diminished, and Samardzija–who didn’t come in as the ace of the staff–could barely maintain No. 5 starter numbers. But even with that, the White Sox chose to offer him a QO (qualifying offer), in hopes that he would decline and they could get a compensatory pick for their failed endeavor. If he was to actually accept the QO it would be near a 50 percent raise over his current salary.
There are still some out there that feel someone will pay Samardzija $15+ million in free agency this winter. If this is the number the Cubs are looking at and considering, please, for the love of Harry Caray…STOP. This would be the second coming of Edwin Jackson. He was 11-13 last season, with a 4.96 ERA while allowing 29 home runs. But he stays healthy and can eat a lot of innings. Sound familiar?
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I’m personally not opposed to the Cubs signing Samardzija. But not at the price he thinks, or that has been created in this free agent vacuum. He still has potential, and would be a great No. 4 or 5 starter for the Cubs. He’s likely to want a long-term deal, but if the Cubs could sign him on a one-year deal at a more economic price, that could work out for both. The Cubs get rotation help, while he tries to rebuild his resume. His only good years came in Chicago, so maybe pitching coach Chris Bosio can work his magic again.
The Cubs can’t assume they’ll win the battle for Price, Greinke, Zimmerman, etc. So keeping a dialogue open with Samardzija could very well just be a fail-safe if those don’t work out. If he’s the only signing for the staff? That’s bad news for the offseason.