Cubs hope to sign Samardzija long term

Cubs hope to sign Samardzija long term

What a difference 2 years makes.  In 2010, Jeff Samardzija was a reliever with an 8.38 ERA and over a batter walked per inning, his future as a Cub was very much in doubt.  In 2012, Samardzija ended the year as the Cubs best starting pitcher.

And now the Cubs want to sign him to a long term deal.  He's arb eligible this season and his salary can only go up.

At age 27 (28 in January), Samardzija is an unusual commodity.  He's a pitcher with front line stuff (95-98 mph fastball, nasty splitter), rapidly improving command, and he's entering his peak athletic years -- and he's doing it with a fresh arm.  Samardzija has just 344 innings under his belt in his on again, off again MLB career.  By comparison, when Fergie Jenkins turned 28 he had just pitched 313 innings --- in one season.  Samardzija in fact, has only pitched just over 800 innings in his professional career after being used sporadically at Notre Dame, where he was primarily a football player.

Last season Samardzija went 9-13 with a 3.81, including a 2.58 ERA in the second half.  He walked a respectable 2.89 hitter per 9 innings while striking out 9.27.  His xFIP was 3.38, which ranked him 15th in all of baseball.

The Cubs also like his leadership skills.  He sets an example with his work ethic and his approach on the mound.  He's also a horse, a strong, athletic pitcher with a clean delivery that has the potential to lead a rotation.

Simply put, Samardzija has come a long way since 2010 and the Cubs hope to keep him for a long time.

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  • i think 6yrs $60M gets it done.

  • In reply to CubFan Paul:

    6 years...that would take him through his prime and beyond. But as I said, that's a fresh arm he has and he keeps himself in phenomenal shape. Samardzija might be 27/28 on the calendar, but he's probaby a lot younger in terms of his arm. I think they want to buy out his first FA year, which would be a 4 year deal and possibly, like Castro, another year or two.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, 6 years seems like a long deal for any pitcher. Do you really think this front office would go that long?

  • In reply to CubsML:

    I'm guessing closer to 4 unless they get a very, very friendly deal for 6.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If they have 3 years of control through arbitration years, only getting one extra year while risking 4 years of salary seem like not enough return. I would want team options for years 5 and 6, that can be high and have escalators based on accomplishments. But if we don't get more control years, don't see the reason to guarantee his pay while taking on the risk of a pitchers arm falling off.

  • Might as well sign him up... and front load the deal.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    They certainly have the payroll to do it now. Don't see many front loaded deals these days, though.

  • You covered it John. Six years is a lot for a pitcher, but may not too much for him. I really like the way goes after hitters.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Thanks. Totally agree on his approach. He goes right after hitters, throws strikes with nasty stuff. I imagine he's a nightmare for hitters when he's on.

  • Whenever you talk about pitchers being good athletes as prospects, so they will have the ability to repeat their deliveries, I think of Shark. He should only get better.
    Question for you. I have been reading in the Post Dispatch Cardinal chat room, and in articles in the St. Louis paper, about it is time for the Cardinals to extend Adam Wainwright, he will be a free agent in 2014. And all of them, including the media, are saying a 3 or 4 year deal at 15 million a year should get it done.
    Is it just me, or is that not a complete fantasy?
    Greinke is supposed to be signing for 6 years and $150 million. Anibel Sachez wants 6 years and at least 90 million. Wainwright is just as good as these two and probably better. If he winds up extending for the numbers I have been hearing, he has the worst agent of all time.
    Based on the new money teams have coming, if he had a normal year next season, I could see him getting 180 million bucks from some team for 6 years as a free agent.

  • The age difference and injury factor are working against Wainwright as far as getting a bigger contract than Greinke. He might get a bigger contract than Sanchez.

  • Germano signs with Toronto. Minor league deal.

  • Exactly...and that's why you can't give up on guys like Shark, or McNutt or Maples or Underwood...once it clicks for those good athletes, they can really break out.

    I think Wainwright's price may be affected a bit by his injury history but I agree that sounds really low.

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    I was one of the Shark skeptics for sure. I'm impressed he turned it around, and I guess that's a tribute to his work ethic and athleticism. He was the most pleasant surprise in 2012.

    I hope we get a bit of a hometown discount, as Shark is from NW Indiana.

  • I'd go 5 or 6 yrs on this kid. With a team option on 5th and 6th year.

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    I love Samardzija, and I think he's a cornerstone, but this is still scary risky. To throw big money and years at a starter who was had one great season and only pitched 800 professional innings? Just writing that seems insane.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Not a whole lot of data to fall back on and most of it is pretty bad. You can pretty much throw those old numbers out the window now. He's a different pitcher, but yeah, just one full successful year as a starter makes it a little dicey.

    I guess the deal is both sides taking a big risk here. Shark stands to lose money if he turns into a front line guy. Cubs lose it if he turns into the pre 2011 Shark.

  • I may be the only cautious one here. When I saw Samardzija in AA his first full year, I was unimpressed. But he and the coaches began improving his approach and stuff, and here he is, a team leader who we are banking on as a cornerstone for years to come.
    But -- I would wait till Spring Training or June of '13 to do any new deal. If only to see that his offseason regimen was good; his health is robust; his stuff is still electric; and his attitude and leadership are team assets.
    I don't have many doubts that all those will happen, but freak things do take place. We can afford to wait for a ST or midseason deal with him.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I can understand the wait and see approach. It's the safer route. The only way it backfires is if he turns into Cy Young and he wants mega dollars -- but I guess that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world!

  • Please don't let him move furniture (Ike Davis), jump on home plate (Kendrys Morales), high-5 teammates (Javier Baez).....or work out with Notre Dame, da Bearss, or the Pirates minor-league bootcamp staff.

  • To think, a year ago, he could have easily remained as a reliever. Two years ago, we thought we were stuck with his NTC. It makes me wonder if his name ever came up as compensation for Rizzo or Theo.

    With that in mind, I just can't imagine how much of a disaster the 2012 season would have been if it weren't for the emergence of Samardzija. It was so improbable and we are so fortunate.

  • Front-loaded deals should be the default for all free agents. Pays them high for their prime years and lower as they get older and get out of their, makes it easier for clubs to trade them with a lower salary as the player is older.

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    I agree extending Shark, but I keep wondering if they shouldn't reconsider on extending Garza.

  • Anyone else think this is premature? Samardzija was very good last year, but for the first time ever. I'd like to see another year before I made a long term commitment.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Sorry SMKH - should have read and replied to your comment first.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    It's cool; we're on the same page. We just want to take a longer looksee before we roll up the shark cash wagon.

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    I think they should def sign him to a long term deal. He's already rich as he signed a pretty good deal out of ND to skip the NFL. I know a lot of these MLB players don't even consider the fact that they got a lot more $$$ then what they produced for there team. ( Perfect example Ryan Madsen, if I was him, I would have signed a very team friendly 1 yr deal w the Reds w a lot of incentives after I stole money from them the year before, but that's just me)

    I would hope that Shark likes it here and we could offer him a 5-6 yr deal with options so he can play for just 1 team his whole career. I don't know if he's a family man or not, but there is something to be said about playing for 1 team for your whole career.

    Like John said, he has a very young arm and a very good repeatable delivery w easy CHeeese!

    Lock him up for 6 yrs 60 million w a buy out option for the Cubs, and a mutual option if he complete "X" innings or something.

    Cubs have to spend the money on something, might as well lock Shark up and if Garza (assuming he doesn't get traded) and Rizzo have good 1h's, lock them up long term as well.

    I like how Garza has matured and I think he's really liked in the Clubhouse plus w him around, it means less pressure on Shark to be the horse.

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