Chicago Cubs: Looking back at Jeff Samardzija’s career

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Aug 25, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) pitches during the third inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Rising trade value and a subsequent move

Last year, Jeff Samardzija went out there with a chip on his shoulder, ready to silence his critics. And to say he did just that would be an understatement.

Despite pitching to a 1.98 earned run average in the first month of the season, the Cubs hurler was winless yet-again. So, in an effort to right that wrong, Samardzija went out and lowered his ERA in the month of May down to a minuscule 1.32 clip.

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Now that we’ve seen Jake Arrieta do things like this, it may not carry as much weight, but this was the first glimmer of a legitimate ace Chicago Cubs fans had seen in some time. So, naturally, there was only one thing to do.

Trade him.

We can all look back and laugh now, given the return Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer got from the Oakland Athletics and Billy Beane (Billy McKinney and Addison Russell, namely) – in exchange for a half-season of Samardzija and Jason Hammel. But at the time, it seemed to good to be true. And, well, it really was.

The A’s failed to win it all, Hammel wound up coming back to the North Side on a two-year pact  ahead of the 2015 season and, before long, Samardzija was on the move again – this time heading to the South Side of Chicago.

Next: A season to forget on the South Side