It Sounds Like Jeff Samardzija May Get a Chance to Start Again and Other Bullets

You don’t me to tell you how to feel about MLB’s decision not to allow the Mets to wear hats honoring 9/11 first responders last night. You also don’t need me to tell you why MLB refused to let the Mets wear anything but “authorized” 9/11 caps, which MLB can license and sell (for $36.99).

  • Jeff Samardzija still wants to be a starter, and is still comfortable saying it openly. At least now he’s acknowledging that, perhaps, he’s been too open about it in the past. “I’ve probably approached it the wrong way over the past couple years in wanting to be a starter and being open about it,’’ he said, ‘‘but that’s been in my heart since I signed to come play baseball. What the future holds I don’t know. But I feel I have a lot to offer and even more to offer to the starting rotation. I realized this year that I needed to prove that. I needed to prove to the coaching staff and this team that I deserve and earned a bigger role on this team.’’ As I’ve said with Andrew Cashner, a very good starting pitcher is far more valuable than a great reliever. But Samardzija has not yet shown the ability to be economical in his pitches, and throw three MLB-caliber pitches, both of which would be necessary for him to succeed as a starter.
  • Howeva – he’s pitched sufficiently well that I think, depending on what happens in the offseason, the Cubs would be crazy not to give Samardzija another look as a starter. I know the yo-yo effect had a deleterious impact on his ability over the last couple of years, but he desperately wants to start, and he’s pitching so freaking well. Pitching coach Mark Riggins suspects Samardzija will get a starting look. “It’s something that has to be talked about in the winter time, but there is a possibility, yes,” Riggins said. “We’ll evaluate where we’re at this winter, and who the [front office] might go get. But you’ve got to look from within first. And of the guys that we have who could possibly do that, he’s one you’ve got to think about.” Riggins, you’ll note, is unlikely to return next year after Mike Quade is let go.
  • Mike Quade and Bobby Valentine met for an extended private discussion about the latter’s criticism of the former for Starlin Castro’s inattentiveness the last time the Cubs played on ESPN. Quade wouldn’t share details, but Valentine said all was good. “I think it’s all right,” Valentine said. “I understand his job, and he understands my job, and we both agreed it went on too long.” But, when asked what would have happened if Valentine never pointed out Castro’s lapse, Valentine said, “It would have happened again.” Ouch, dude.
  • Quade says that DJ LeMahieu, a candidate to replace Aramis Ramirez at third or Darwin Barney at second next year, can play either position. “He’s capable of doing anything asked defensively from those two positions,” Quade said. “And I think it will be determined by his offensive ability in progress and what the makeup of the club [he's] involved with is. I feel comfortable he could play either one well.” It sounds like Quade is saying he thinks LeMahieu’s defense is serviceable enough to handle either position, and now it’s just a matter of the bat.
  • The Daytona Cubs (High A) won the Florida State League Championship yesterday. Hopefully that forecasts success down the road for the big club. Congrats to the D-Cubs.
  • Cross Chris Carpenter (the Cardinals’ one) off the list of potential free agent starters this Winter, as the Cards have extended him for two years and about $21 million. The Cards held an option on Carpenter, so it wasn’t necessarily assumed he’d reach free agency anyway. Still, the pitching market is going to be extremely thin. New GM: you’re on alert.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

28 responses to “It Sounds Like Jeff Samardzija May Get a Chance to Start Again and Other Bullets”

  1. Fishin Phil

    If Samarzjia can work on both developing an effective third pitch, and controlling the pitches he has, I think he has a legit shot at the rotation in the spring.  However, I think he has gained enough confidence in his bullpen ability that if he does wind up bouncing back to the pen, he should be able to handle the switch.

    1. Bails17

      That is a long shot Phil….he can be real bad with his command and I don’t see it getting that much better in a short amount of time.  He does not have the reputation of being a hard worker.  Not gonna happen.

      1. Jeff

        Not a hard worker? I wonder where you hear that from. I read a few articles on him over the offseason last year and he was all about working out, getting stronger, and working on his slider. He was a three year starter in baseball at Notre Dame and the starting wide receiver on the football team for two years, I don’t think he’s afraid of hard work. He has struggled with his location to be sure, but you are the first person I’ve ever heard question the guys work ethic.

  2. CubFan Paul

    Dempster needs to do the Cubs a favor and sign a 2 year $21million deal this winter also ..I wonder why Quade had the closed door meeting with Douchey Valentine since he watched that game tape on mute.. Either way Quade should break his nose

    I would not feet comfortable about Samardjiza, Wells, & Cashner as the 3,4,5s next year. They should still add a vet or two and only leave the fifth spot for Wells/Cashner/Samardjiza because it would be nice to have bonified Sixth starters waiting in case of injury ..a luxury the cheap owner robbed us of this year

    1. mike foster

      If Quade didn’t have the guts to bean Matt Holiday, he sure isn’t going to punch Valentine, although he ought to. Speaking of which, Quade does have another opportunity in 12 days to show that he has grown a pair, and will BEAN MATT HOLIDAY!

  3. LouCub

    Paul, if Carpenter signed for 2 years at 21 million, Demp should sign for 2 years at 16 million,,,In any real rotation he’s a 3 or 4 starter not a #1..it’s another reason as to why JH is gone, too much money and no trade clauses given to average to slightly above average players. Yeah Demp is solid but not spectacular and not 14 million per year worthy, he’s not even worth 10 mill per season

    1. CubFan Paul

      of course Dempster isnt a #1, but he is due to make $14million next year like it or not, so 2yrs/$14million isn’t logical ..the open market pays an average of $10million a year to solid but not spectacular Three & #4 starters, so him accepting 2yrs/$21mil is more likely to happen (if he’s willing to take a pay cut, its an player option that he has)

      1. Jeff

        For once, I completely agree with Paul. LouCub, you are talking as if Dempster is done. He struggled badly in April and May, but he has been a solid top half of the rotation guy since then. I don’t see him leaving the Cubs, and if they sign him to an extension, I very much doubt he gets any less than Carpenter.

        1. Toosh

          I look at it this way. Based on talent, Dempster is not worth as much as Carpenter. Based on their worth to their respective teams, Dempster is worth more.

  4. baseballet

    With Samardzija’s new swashbuckling mien, he’s ready for action. Let him don an eyepatch and be a starter. A parrot could rest on his shoulder as he throws. It could say, “Polly wants a curveball.” If he fails, at midseason they could have him back swabbing decks in the bullpen.

    1. Bails17

      Classic!

    2. Fishin Phil

      That would be cool.  If he could just figure out how to incorporate the Captain Morgan pose into his delivery, then we would have something special.

      1. Bric

        Out of all the looks that come to mind (General Custer, gay porn star, recently showered vagrant/ meth addict) I admit Captain Morgan wasn’t one that I immediately saw. Well spotted.

  5. SirCub

    Hey Brett, I dig the blog man. Looking forward to getting in on the discush.

    I completely agree with your assertion that good starters are more valuable than ‘great’ relievers, and I think that it is a great idea to look in-house for some relatively cheap ‘good’ starting pitching. But I’m not sure Samardzija is the guy. Really, all he has right now is a good fastball, and we don’t need another Rodrigo Lopez getting shelled the third time through the lineup because he can’t mix it up.

    What about Sean Marshall? I know he is pushing 30, and that is a little late for a role change, but I think there is a huge upside… Anyway, I have a lot more thoughts on this, and might tack a post up on the forum.

    Oh, and now that you mention it Phil, I think Jeff Samardzija might be Captain Morgan’s doppelganger…

     

  6. T Wags

    I’d love to see Samardzija get a chance to start again especially if they decide not to stretch Cashner out for next season. BUT i also have serious concerns about his control/location issues and lack of a MLB caliber third pitch. Still think he deserves a shot though after the year he’s having i believe he’s earned it. If it doesn’t work out oh well, send him back to the pen and we’ve got a quality late inning guy.

  7. willis

    All depends on movement this offseason. If the Cubs don’t go after any arms (via FA or trades) then you would think Smardzija definitely gets a look. Because, you know, there isn’t anyone else to fill what would be a 5th spot void.

  8. Coal

    Deleterious. Nice.

  9. aubreyblue2

    I disagree regarding Q and Bobby Valentine. I’m thinking that Valentine should watch all the Cubs games to that he can point out to Q what is wrong with the players because Q either doesn’t know or isn’t paying attention. It took being humiliated on national tv for Q to do something about Castro.
    Valentine isn’t my favorite either but he does know his stuff.
    As for Samardzija starting, absolutely not. I cringe now every time he walks on the field. It was his ineptitude last night that cost Garza the game. Why is this even being discussed?
    Dempster, Garza, Wells, and Cashner if he’s able. Dump Samardzija, his bobbsey twin Russell, Ortiz and especially Grabow. Lopez and Coleman to middle relief.

  10. jim

    Jeff Smardjia should be playing in the NFL!
    He was great at NOTRE DAME & I wish him
    all the luck in the world, but, I do feel he should be
    catching passes NOT throwing a Baseball!

    P.S. GO IRISH! (wake up NOW!)

  11. ricosanto

    I think Samardza would be a good starter, maybe even develop into a # 1 0r #2. He is throwing 3 or 4 different pitches for strikes. His era for the second half is 2.10. His fastball he throws 95-97. If he starts, so he walks someone he can get out of it.I think his strength from football( weight training) His arm is very durable, not alot of innings.he did not even pitch that much at ND. Move Cashner back to the pen or he will throw out his arm.

    1. Toosh

      Of course it’ll be up to the new manager, but giving spellcheck a shot in the rotation next year couldn’t hurt.