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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cubs rumors: Cubs prefer to keep Jeff Samardzija


By on 12/01/2013 05:00:00 PM

With the myriad of trade speculation surrounding their ace starter Jeff Samardzija, the Chicago Cubs reportedly would like to keep him in Wrigley Field. According to The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would prefer to sign Samardzija to a long-term deal that extends his Cubs tenure past his first scheduled free agency period in 2016.
Cafardo cites his Major League source as saying that the Cubs would like to sign the right-hander and build a winning team around him and the young talent that management has spent the last two years putting together.

We recently reported that the Cubs were already in contract-extension discussions with Samardzija, and if the two sides can reach an agreement, then Samardzija will remain a Cub. Hoyer, though, must prepare for the possibility of not reaching a deal and having to trade the 28-year-old right-hander while he can get maximum value in return.

Samardzija is eligible for arbitration for the first time, and he will very likely get a nice raise from the $2.64 million he made for each of the past two seasons. Although he has a sub-.500 record and 4.10 ERA in two years as a starter, he has shown flashes of brilliance in his first opportunity to start after four years in the bullpen.

In addition, Samardzija has not missed a single start for any reason other then his 2012 shutdown in early September. That happened only to rest his arm after throwing 174 innings, more than double his previous high. He pitched 213.2 innings in 2013. He has had no injuries in his Major League career that began in 2008.

Late-season fatigue may have gotten to him, but now in his prime years and two seasons as a starter under his belt, he could possibly help make the Cubs a .500+ team this year and a contender soon as the Cubs have planned all along.

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