It has been reported that there is still a significant gulf that exists between the Cubs front office and Jeff Samardzija's camp.
Ultimately the two sides can't agree on whether Samardzija should be considered as a top-of-the-rotation-caliber pitcher, or, what really matters here, if he should get paid like one. WSCR's Bruce Levine has been reporting much the same as what I have been telling you all along.
The Cubs still see Shark as a more of a "3," at least that is what they tell his camp. However, I'm sure that's not what Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer tell Toronto, Atlanta, and other potential suitors on the phone.
Should the Cubs reconsider Samardzija's value after his start to this season? Could he be turning a corner? I believe those are valid questions and they prompted me to seek out one of the best sources I know. He's a top National League talent evaluator, one who has helped discover Hall of Fame players over the years.
In the past, this particular super scout hasn't exactly given me glowing reports when it comes to Samardzija. However, it had been at least a year since I asked about the pitcher, so I wanted to see if his recent performance had any sway.
"I still see him as more of a 2/3," he told me. "[Samardzija] has always had top rotation stuff. I think the difference now is that he is settling in his role as a starter. He's making less mistakes when he gets in trouble. He is figuring a way to pitch out of jams and not loosing focus. Now he has to prove he can be consistent."
So it sounds like the Cubs are pretty much of the same thinking, no? There have been some strides made, yet he's not quite a bona fide ace either. I'm no master negotiator here, but if one side says he's a 1, and the other side says a 3, don't you think maybe the two sides could meet in the middle at a 2? Isn't that how it usually works? Just spitballing here.
The real problem may lie with the Homer Bailey contract. Bailey hadn't exactly established himself as ace material either, yet he got paid like one. Thanks Reds. I asked my guy again: do you dare pay Samardzija Bailey money when neither has been established as an ace?
"You win if you pitch!" the scout said. The Cubs don't have a system exactly rich with pitching just yet; maybe it's something to truly consider.
I also often wonder if there is any real chance of a resolution here when you see the two sides consistently making little digs and snipes through the media?
The latest example had Shark pretty much telling the front office to mind their own business in regards to his recent 120-plus pitch count. Maybe Samardzija is actually resentful over the fact that he's being treated like little more than a commodity by the Cubs brass.
If there is truth to that, keep in mind Samardzija has also stated recently that he understands he has to take a stand contract-wise for the benefit of younger players following in his footsteps. It's a responsibility; he claims. It's what he must do.
If he can understand that, then he must understand the Cubs front office has to do what they have to as well. Which likely means not paying him ace money while asking for a potential ace in return for him.
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