Advertisement:

Is Samardzija pressing?

Is Samardzija pressing?

Shark Week, it was not.

It wasn’t Shark Month either for that matter. Just as I was starting to ask around if the pressure was getting to Jeff Samardzija, both Patrick Mooney and Gordon Wittenmeyer also posed the question if contract and trade talk were distracting the Cubs current ace.

Right about the time his name came up in rumors, Samardzija since has posted a 1-4 record, 6.75 ERA, and averaged 5 2/3 innings and seven hits a start. I was told to mostly chalk the struggles up to him still trying to figure things out. However, I think it's pretty obvious things are getting to him.

When Samardzija's name surfaced in trade rumors a few weeks ago, there was likely an underlying motive to it. The Cubs were trying to drive home to Samardzija and his camp that they were serious about negotiating, and that is the card they hold. It’s likely the Cubs were leaking the rumors to rattle Shark’s cage. It may have worked.

I had asked around about Samardzija and his camp's relationship with the Cubs front office. It turns out there is mutual respect and the Cubs certainly want to lock him up. However, I was told Samardzija wasn't ready to bend over for the Cubs front office by signing a club friendly deal like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo were. Samardzija wanted one more year under his belt to show what he could do and establish his value further. He wanted to gamble on himself, but has his gamble distracted him now?

“I don’t think so,” general manager Jed Hoyer said Friday at Busch Stadium. “We’ve had some dialogue at different times. But nothing’s really changed on that front. So I don’t see why he would start pressing now as opposed to other times. I don’t see that as a huge issue. I certainly hope it’s not.”

The multi million-dollar question for me is what is his value? John and I discussed Samardzija yesterday at length and both came to the conclusion he is somewhere between a number two and number three starter right now. If Samardzija wants to get paid like an ace, that likely isn't going to happen anytime soon.

“When you’re good you get paid, and if you’re not very good you don’t get paid,” manager Dale Sveum said before Thursday’s game. “That’s the bottom line to contracts and contract ­extensions and all that.”

You have to think Edwin Jackson money would be somewhere where the Cubs maybe comfortable. I for one can’t see anything above $13 mil as a base, with some heavy incentives a possibility. In the meantime, if you have both parties motivated to keep Samardzija a Cub, a resolution seems likely.

“When you have guys like Samardzija get those contracts and you know you’re going to have them for an extended period of time,” Sveum said, “it’s big to the organization, big to the guys in the clubhouse, as well as myself.”

Comments

Leave a comment
  • 3 yrs $24M sounds fair to me.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Dempster signed with BoSox for 2yrs $26.5 Million. E-Jax signed for 4yrs @ $52M. You really think Shark is worth less? I think he would be (and rightfully so) insulted at your proposal.

    He's worth every bit as much as them two right now. He wants to elevate his game to Kershaw level and then sign for Kershaw dollars...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Then let him become Kershaw. Kershaw was an above-avg big leaguer at 21, and a Cy Young winner by age 24. Hes proven hes worth the $. Ejax $ is likley his limit right now.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    That's how I feel.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I'm not disagreeing with you. I just don't understand the sentiment that some have towards trading him now if he doesn't sign a team friendly deal.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I would like to elevate my investments to that of Warren Buffett. Just because I want it doesn't mean it will happen.

  • In reply to springs:

    Okay, I'll play along...

    If you're not Warren Buffet, but are confident that you have his skill set and will achieve similar results. Don't cash out of your investments prematurely or you will lose significant profit potential. Which is essentially all Shark is doing by not wanting to sign for #3 starter money when he believes he can become the ACE. Anybody with average intelligence and supreme confidence in their skills would do the same thing in that situation.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Your response was to someone who said 3 years, $24 mm sounds fair. Not to "If I were Jeff S, I would take 3 years, $24mm".

    Just because the person you cite is confident they are as good as Warren Buffet doesn't mean that they aren't overvaluing themselves; 3 years, $24mm may be fair (I don't think so, but that was the number posed) and the fact that Jeff S. thinks he is going to be as good as Kershaw in the next year or two doesn't change what his fair value is right now. It might, however, delude him into thinking he is worth more than he is, turning down contracts now and receiving less money later. Or, he could become Kershaw and receive significantly more. I just think that is less likely for someone of his age.

  • In reply to springs:

    Not a good analogy because 3yrs @ $8M is about 60% of current market value. So saying I want 3yrs @ $8Mil is just as ridiculous and unlikely to happen as someone saying Shark wants 10yrs @ $20M.

    He may or may not ever reach Kershaw comps... But he has clearly already earned significantly more than $8M a year.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to lokeey:

    Who was the last #3, or even veteran #4 pitcher you saw sign for $8m/yr?

  • I never really interpreted any of Sharks comments as NOT being willing to sign an extension. More of a personal goal to establish himself as an ACE first, then negotiate when he has proven himself. I mean, wouldn't anybody want to do that? Everyone knows he has some of the best "stuff" in the game. He's just too inconsistent to be your #1. He wants to prove he can be that consistent #1 and then be paid like it. The cubs want to lock him up at #3 money and then have develop consistency.

    I see both sides, neither is wrong for wanting what they want. Let's hope they work something out. More importantly, lets hope Shark (and E-Jax) find the consistency that Woody has discovered this year.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    You nailed it, I think. Cubs see locking him up at 3 money, Shark sees potential ace $. Lets see..

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    The reality is, I could care two flips about how much they pay them. I want him to become more consistent. His contract isn't going to reduce or increase the cost of a ticket for me to go see a game. I just want "our core guys" and Shark can be/should be one of them, to develop more consistency so we can have that level of "Sustained success".

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Well I care if they get value. If Shark earns more I'm sure they will glad to pay it.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Amen. Nothing more needs to be said

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I want out core guys to be young and still developing, so that they will be part of the core when our minor league prospects make it to the majors. If we assume the earliest we even see a full season of the first wave (Baez, etc.) is 2015, that is Jeff's 30 year old year and his free agency year. Do we sign him for 5 more years then? How about at the expense of letting a young pitcher be in the rotation?

    Certainly if he does develop into an ace next year, extending him through his 33 or maybe 34 yead old season is likely good. But waiting is the problem....it would be better to get a 5 year extension this off-season, as then we will not be signing him through significant potential age-decline and let the kids come as they develop. The more we wait to see if he becomes a TOR, the more he loses value for us when he doesn't develop and the more it becomes likely we don't sign him to an extension at all (or at least it will become evident we should not).

    Castro and Rizzo extensions make lots of sense, as they are young and will be part of the core we hope develops from the minors. Jeff is too old to be part of that core and his delay in signing is making is less likely, IMO, that he will be part of the Cubs plans at all after 2015.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Shark is not Kershaw. Right now hes not even Matt Cain. EJax $ is the likley top $ for his current production.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to mutant beast:

    I don't think anyone has said he's worth more than that right now, even him. Which is why he wants to wait. It's not as though he's telling the bosses he wants ace money right now.

  • fb_avatar

    Slight tangent, but I really want to see what Kyle Hendricks can do in the majors next year. If he keeps putting up the numbers he's put up this year, it makes him one of the most unique aces ever -- and a testament to just how far outstanding control can take you.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    what makes Hendric ks fairly unique is hes basically a soft toss righty. Last one of those I remember who had sustained big league success were named Greg Maddux and Jerod Weaver. Heres to hoping Hendricks can duplicate there success.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Amen to that Mike!

  • I must say though, Shark would be foolish not to sign something in the 6yr $75M with some performance incentives built in that could take him to $100M+ if he pitches like an ACE. That could be a do-able compromise for both sides.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I couldn't blame the Cubs for not wanting to go that high yet. (Though I believe that would wind up being a good deal)

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Of course he would be, but I highly doubt the Cubs are offering that. My guess is they want a 5 year extension at something more like $55M.

  • fb_avatar

    I don't get the now or never approach people are taking (though I haven't heard it from Shark or the FO). He has 2+ seasons before FA. I think the chances he's a better pitcher after next season than he is now are pretty good. He will still have value.
    The FO will try to lock up all the talented, young guys as they come up, but they can't expect ALL of them to bite at a potentially huge discount. And, we are not the Rays! We don't HAVE to trade all talent that won't play for a discount! That doesn't mean we don't try to get a good deal on EVERYONE, but I personally love that he is willing to "gamble on himself". If his gamble doesn't pay off, he gets traded or goes away in FA, if it does, we get to watch an electric pitcher at the TOR for awhile.
    Additionally, as has been said before, a 3-5 yr extension takes Shark well into his 30's, it's a very different situation than Castro or Rizzo, who will have at least one more shot at mega-deals.
    If I were in the FO, I would be doing exactly what they are doing, trying to lock him up cheap. If I were a 28 yo pitcher with his stuff, I would be doing exactly what he is doing, trying to pitch my way to ace money, whether it happened this year or the next!

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Exactly!... But there's still a contingent who will always be of the mindset "trade him now". They're still bangin' that drum with Castro and he's already agreed to a team friendly deal....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    That contingent, which includes me, is not all for trading Castro or Baez or anyone else that could be part of the plan. I just don't believe that 28 year old Jeff Samardzija, who is (as described in the story) between a #2 and #3, will become a TOR pitcher at age of 29. Or at 30. I project development at 23, I don't project development to anywhere near the same level at 28. If Chris Archer put up Jeff's numbers at the age of 24, then I would comfortably say he will likely get better. At 28, I am not as comfortable saying for certain that he will get better and definitely not comfortable saying he will go from a #2/#3 to a TOR. ( And please don't reply with the young arm BS.)

    So if you look at it from my prospective, I think his ceiling is a strong #2 and that may not be reached. Thus, potentially, his value was highest this year (before the 1-4 6.75 ERA stretch) because of having 2 years locked up and because there was, in some minds, potential development. Indeed, if I were the Cubs GM, you (or someone on the board who thinks he will become TOR) would be the perfect GM to trade Jeff S to -- you value his future development likelihood more than I do.

    Assuming we get to next year's trade deadline and he is still producing the same as right now, he is worth less than he was this year; another year where he didn't reach his TOR potential and one less year of club control. Of course, if he become a top pitcher, my trade of him this year would have been for less than his full value. But looking at the Cubs (who I think are poised to become annual contenders in about 2017-8), I think the way to maximize Jeff S's value was to trade him this year (and now as soon as we can). This trade analysis is based on my thoughts on the likelihood of his developing, staying good through his early to mid 30s and the value we are giving up by keeping him.

    You may have a different opinion of Jeff S's current value, but I think it is wrong to snarkily imply that those who want an inconsistent 28 year oldJeff S traded fit universally within the group wanting to trade a talented 23 year old Castro having a down year.

  • In reply to springs:

    Okay, I see your point. I'm sorry if you thought I meant that the contingent that wants to trade Shark are the same people that want to trade Castro, etc... I didn't mean to imply that. Obviously, they can subscribe to one contingent and not the other. I meant that the contingent will always exist. I just don't agree with the rush to trade him now. We have no urgency. As the Rangers have proven, we can get surplus value for a #2/#3 pitcher who can be dominant at times with little club control left.

    Even if Shark never realizes his potential and remains what he is a #2/3 SP. We don't NEED to trade him. Pitchers are relatively productive into their early Thirties, some even into their mid 30's. So by your own estimate, He'd still be capable of being part of the core when we are contenders. Why trade a potential core piece, thats proven at the MLB level for unproven prospects? We could strike it rich, or we could end up with squat. Having a #2 or #3 guy who can be (at times) dominant will be necessary in order to contend.

  • fb_avatar

    I think Shark could benefit greatly from having a contact inducing pitch like a Cutter to get him through games longer. All his pitches are high risk, high reward types. When he locates the fastball, split, and slider they are unhittable. But when he misses they get hit hard. You can afford to miss a little more with a cutter and still get groundballs/broken bats. It's a very safe, effective pitch. More and more strikeout-type pitchers are learning to throw one to get deeper into games.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    That's pretty spot on. He actually has one, it's his 2-seam FB or "Sinker". He doesn't throw it as often as he should. Part of that is his "Nuke" LaLoosh mentality of trying to blow that 4-seamer by everyone at 97mph... The other part is, that 2 seamer is only effective down in the zone. IDK if his command issues are mechanical, mental, physical, etc... That's Bosio's job to figure out.

    Then the other issue is changing speeds. He doesn't really have a change-up, he relies on that filthy splitter as a change. But no one can command a split as consistently as a straight change. So when he shows he has "it" early on, opposing teams are dead in the water. He's dominate and practically unhittable. When he shows he doesn't have it, they are sitting "Dead Red" and teeing off on a mid 90's FB at the belt....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    One thing Ive noticed with Sharks Split. If he throws it a lot it seems to detract from his Fastball. Maybe he needs to junk the Split in favor of a Changeup. The split only seems to work well for someone with large hands.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to mutant beast:

    While I do think he might benefit from a Changeup, that split is just too nasty to scrap completely, when he's on it's a legitimate plus-plus pitch. Maybe just use the changeup on days when the splitter isn't splitting or he needs that extra command pitch with a selective hitter up?

  • It seems to me that another possibility is that Shark is getting tired. He pitched 174 innings last year and 150+ this year so far. I'm not trying to make the case for tiredness, just posing it as a question. Anybody know if his velocity is holding up through 6-7 innings? Is he walking more hitters or reaching more full counts? Etc, etc.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to cubster:

    Tired? Tell that to Nolan Ryan. 150 innings is a joke!

  • I'd like to see the Cubs try to get a 4-year deal around #3 type money, however with incentives that can him paid significantly more based on his production. That would seem to make both parties happy. "You want to be paid like an ace, well if you pitch like one we're happy to give it to you. If not, you'll at least be locked up longer, and paid like the 2.5-3 that you've been so far. You've at least earned that." I wouldn't go more than 4 years however, because even though the arm is young, I just don't think non-elite pitchers have very extended periods of peak production.

  • First post..... Greatest Cubs blog on the net. But, HoosierDaddy can you not refer to Travis Wood as Woody. That belongs to Kerry. Sorry just a tad sentimental.

  • In reply to Chi2334:

    Woody English.

  • In reply to Chi2334:

    Thanks and welcome.

  • fb_avatar

    Here's a thought as well. The FO is also mindful of the "No Trade" agreement. Shark is finishing up his 6th season in the show. His 10-5 rights will be coming into play with any contract that is longer than 4 years.

    With this in mind, even if we sign him @ #2 starter type of money for a 6 year span (a length of contract Theo doesn't like for pitchers), the cost of players is always going up. #2 money today may seem like #4 money in 4 years. If he is signed to a 6 year deal, it's highly probable that he gets flipped in his 4th season if the Cubs have an abundance of starting pitching.

    Gotta keep the waves of talent moving, imo.....

  • Shark isn't going to sign an extension this off-season. He's going to want to prove next season he's an ace.

    He's going to have another average season and want to try to do it again in 2015.

    Just trade him this off-season and be done with it. Shark and the front office aren't going to see eye to eye.

  • fb_avatar

    When looking over the current roster and trying to compile a list for the opening day 2014 team, there is one glaring name that is NOT on the 40 man roster.

    Kyle Hendricks

    Hendricks will be 24 in December and putting together some really nice #'s that force you to look at him. I really like to see him emerge as a starter so I'm not sure he could push his way on the team for opening day.

    We also have Rusin pitching like he wants a spot on next year's team. But Rusin has the advantage of being a lefty that IS on the 40 man roster. This FO is gonna have make a few moves this winter like:

    What do we do about: (sign or no sign)
    Baker
    Narvarro
    Gregg

    Where does Olt fit into the 2014 plans? AAA or the Show

    Does Lake continue his development in Chicago and in the OF?

    Are we going to sign another OF like Choo or Ellsbury?

    What about Bogusevic and Sweeny?

    Gonna be fun to watch the masters work this winter!

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I don't see the need for an expensive non LT core OF like Choo or Ellsbury. With the emergence of Lake, and even his doubters have to admit with 250 AB's between AAA/MLB the kid has maintained a .300+ BA and .350+ OBP, so he seems to be for real. (though I'd expect some regression).... We do need another RH OF, and we will need to replace Sori's offensive power... but that COULD be Olt, Vitters, or Baez if either forces their way onto the opening day roster. Neal's MLB audition was cut short, but he's still a possibility.

    I'd like to see Sweeney back. I can't see them carrying 4 LH OF'ers though. They will likely do a deal or two over the winter that will bring this situation into focus more clearly. I could see them re-signing Sweeney and trading DDJ, possibly Nate. If not, we'd be okay with Junior, Nate, DDJ, Sweeney, plus a RH platoon partner for the Lefties (Vitters or Neal?).

    I don't think Hendricks is in Chicago next year. I do see Rusin/Cabrera/Arrieta/Grimm + Baker or other FA "value" signings competing for the 2 open rotation spots.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I agree with the Hendricks evaluation. But that could change as the season progresses. I had a starting rotation looking like:

    Shark
    Jackson
    Wood
    Baker
    Arrieta

    I also see Cabrera, Grimm, Rusin and Villanueva all getting tickets to Chicago next April. My big question for the pitchers was who gets the closer role? Gregg? Closer by Committee?

    Does Fujikawa and Vizcaino come back for their injuries to play a role by April?

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    IDK it'd be wise to count anything from Fuji in 2013. Vizcaino perhaps, but has he even started throwing yet? I wouldn't count on him either, if he gives us something thats great!

    Hendricks needs a season at AAA. He shorten that time frame, but he has no margin for error at the MLB level. Grimm & Rusin can be optioned to Iowa. Arrieta would have to clear waivers so we'd lose him & Cabrera if they're not on the 25 man roster when we break camp.

    So far as the Closers role, Gregg is a possibility. So is Strop & Lim. Some injured power arms will be back and should be competing (McNutt, Dolis, etc).

    I think that our FO will ultimately set us up as competitive with "flexible parts". Meaning, they know 2015 is probably when we look to be competitive. But if we get off to a good start and can take a shot at the playoffs in 2014, we run with it as long as it doesn't sacrifice our ability to sustain that. But if it looks like we will miss the playoffs, sell off a few short term pieces, like Villanueva, DDJ/Sweeney/Nate, etc. The 4th/5th starter is a great place to build trade value for a SP as is the closer role for a RP, etc... I think we want to have as many options as possible.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Regardless of what we think of Hendricks, at the moment there is no reason to put him on the 40-man. He is not Rule-5 eligible this offseason. This offseason, it's better to save the space for those we have to protect, or others we want to claim.

    For this reason, among others, Hendricks will not see Wrigley this year, and won't be added to 40-man until he's called up to the majors

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Exactly Zonk.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Choo's OBP would be a nice fit near the top of the Cubs' line-up. You're right about the price tag.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Jim Callis was just pointing out in a recent article that Lake has struck out 23 times in 88 AB's and his BABIP is a GAUDY .400

    a 24% K rate with an absurdly and unsustainably high BABIP suggests he will not only regress, but he'll likely fall off of a cliff if he doesn't improve his approach.

    That said, I also don't want to see Choo or Ellsbury signed. Waste of money.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Well I being nice with the word "Regresses". Still, even his critics except for Law have to admit he's legit. I don't expect him to be a .300 hitter, but .269 wouldn't be terrible or unsustainable for him.... If you take .050 bps off his BABIP so it's in line with his MiLB career, you'd still have a .280-.290 BA. His K rate is about the same. But he did show improvement in that at AAA so hopefully, he can still get better with that and increase his BB%, I never meant to indicate that I believed he was a finished product. He's not. But I do think he's eliminated the need to go out and sign an everyday OF'er.

    Ray is right about Choo's OBP. But I just don't see them signing non core guys unless its a value play and Choo is neither.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I agree fully -- it is really hard for Lake's sternest critics, who were overly judgmental IMO, to really say he will become nothing.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Unless the wheels fall off I think Lake is up to stay. Not sure we need to add outfield talent unless they intend to trade it at the deadline, sans contention of course. Scheirholtz, and DeJesus are good and we have quite a bit of talent coming up in the next few years. Even Olt could contend for a spot next season if he can get his groove back by spring training. Olt/Schierholtz and DeJesus/Lake are good platoons and Lake might be fine alone in left, right, or center. Bogusevic and the guy on the DL who's name escapes me for the moment are also decent back-ups at least. Wouldnt mind a guy like Choo, but not sure we would want to keep him for his entire contract considering the guys expected to come along in the next few years.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Bilbo161:

    And then there's Sweeny. I'm sure he'll be ready to go next Spring. I just don't see the Cubs going after anybody big this winter and that includes Choo or Ellsbury.

    We could be seeing one more year of this type of "piecemeal" baseball. This would give the top prospects one more year of development. Then the fun should begin.

    With that said, we still may see a few moves over the winter so that we could field some kind of a competitive team out there. The end of next season we mat start to see guys like Alcantara or Baez make an appearance in the show.

  • fb_avatar

    I think Shark is worth 3 yrs, 45 mil. My guess is they want about 10 more...

  • fb_avatar

    Darnell McDonald called up from Iowa, and JC Boscan sent down, per Muskat tweet

    Sappelt was passed up once already for a waiver claim (Neal)...now he's passed up by a 34-year old OF hitting .236 at Iowa. His time in the Cubs system is drawing nigh....

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Yeah that's pretty bad. It's not like McDonald is auditioning for a bench role next year ala Murphy.aka "babe Ruth".

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 47m
    Navarro says he could play today. #Cubs

    Navarro just earned an "attaboy" from me....

  • I get that getting on base is important but if you don't hit with men in scoring position I don't care how much you walk your not going to score. Cubs are getting there walks and working deep counts in tonights game but still have one run on a solo homer.

  • Bryant with a double at Boise--13 game hitting streak.

Leave a comment