Updates from Friday, July 4
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports a huge development:
Updates from Wednesday, June 18
MLB Network Radio provides comments from Cubs GM Jed Hoyer on Jeff Samardzija's future with the team:
Hoyer on Samardzija "in an ideal situation he's a guys we'd like to have back"— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) June 19, 2014
Hoyer on Samardzija: he's our ace, he's a guy that's beloved in our city, talking about being a seller seems a little premature here in June— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) June 19, 2014
Hoyer on Samardzija "I feel bad for him because we haven't had enough big games for him, we've sold him short"— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) June 19, 2014
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports provides an update:
Source: Giants and Royals each had a high-level scout in Miami last night to evaluate Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 18, 2014
Morosi had more on the state of negotiations between the Cubs and Samardzija:
Source confirms Jeff Samardzija rejected a five-year offer from Cubs. Value was slightly more than $85 million, source said.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 18, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, June 17
Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports the Cubs are still willing to retain Jeff Samardzija's services if a deal can be reached:
But even as the Cubs continue early trade talks with some teams about Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija, they also have quietly reached out to Samardzija with a new offer on a contract that would keep him in Chicago as long as Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, according to multiple sources.
The sides have been miles apart for more nearly two years since having initial conversations about a multiyear extension, with differences on issues ranging from dollars to the club’s competitive timeline to management style and stability.
Cubs officials wouldn’t comment on the subject Monday.
But the offer is believed to be for the same five years previously discussed by the parties, but at a higher number than the $60-million to $65-million range last on the table.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal later shared his thoughts on a potential deal between Samardzija and the Cubs:
Not surprising that #Cubs are again talking extension with Samardzija, as Gordon Wittenmeyer reported; they’re taking one last shot.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 17, 2014
As the Chicago Cubs continue to fall deeper and deeper into the NL Central basement, they become closer and closer to blowing up the roster.
The MLB trade deadline is still more than a month away, but the Cubbies are already 11.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers, 7.0 out in the wild-card race and have a number of tantalizing pieces that could help build an already elite farm system.
Jeff Samardzija is at the very top of that list, and according to Fox Sports' Jon Morosi, Jed Hoyer, Theo Epstein and Co. are already listening to offers for the electric 29-year-old righty:
Sources: Cubs telling teams they are willing to listen to offers for starting pitchers Samardzija, Hammel, E. Jackson and Arrieta. (more)— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 16, 2014
Cubs not planning to *trade* all 4, but they want to see what market values are for each and then decide on course. Due diligence.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 16, 2014
After striking out 214 yet still showing some inconsistency in 2013, the former Notre Dame wide receiver has turned into a bona fide ace this year. Through 14 starts, he owns a 2.77 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 82 strikeouts in 91.0 innings.
“It looks like he’s a quality starter with the attitude, the aggressiveness and the demeanor he has out there,” Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said, via CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney. “The way that’s he’s pitching the last couple years really speaks for itself.”
Combine his fantastic start in 2014 with the fact he's more than just a rental (he isn't a free agent until the end of 2015), and the market is going to be massive.
Actually, it's already massive.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale provided a rundown of teams already linked with Samardzija, although it's a list that would likely be longer if Twitter allowed more than 140 characters:
The San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman later denied the San Francisco Giants' interest:
I've heard the exact opposite than Nightengale about Samardzija, that barring injury #sfgiants have no plans to adjust rotation.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) June 15, 2014
Still, there will likely be plenty of teams inquiring. Of the teams on Nightengale's list, the Orioles and Red Sox rank in the league's bottom 10 in starter ERA, although any team would love to add someone like Samardzija for a playoff run—and beyond.
Of course, at the same time, with such a strong market, the Cubs, a team with a number of top prospects already, will be able to shoot for the moon in trade talks in an attempt to further improve the future.
If a deal gets done it won't likely happen until we get much closer to the deadline, but when it comes to the best trade chip of the summer, you can expect the speculation and gossip to run rampant.