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.
Filed under: Uncategorized