Jeff Samardzija is Inigo MontoyaToday I have a soft spot in my heart for Seahawks fans. Behind Russell Wilson – who probably made the right decision to leave baseball in favor of football – Seattle came back from a huge deficit yesterday against the Atlanta Falcons … only to lose in the final seconds. It’s the worst kind of loss – you feel like your team has no chance, it’s over. You’re depressed. But you keep the game on, because it’s the end of the year anyway. And then, improbably and unbelievably, your team comes back. They take the lead with almost no time left! This is going to be one of your favorite games of all time. And then they lose. Just crushing.

  • We’re getting into the fantasy baseball preparation season, so you’re going to see a great many “how will Cubs players be as fantasy players” pieces over the next couple months. I find them interesting, regardless of fantasy baseball interest, because nobody has as much invested in figuring out just how good a player is going to be, statistically, in a future season than a fantasy baseball player. So, they often have very interesting things to say. Indeed, KFFL’s Cubs piece looks at a trio of players – Anthony Rizzo, Jeff Samardzija, and Carlos Marmol – and it’s interesting to see that external, statistically-focused take on those players.
  • For example, here’s a portion of their take on Jeff Samardzija: “During his rotation transition, he learned to pitch efficiently: That 2012 figure of 15.84 tosses per stanza, while not outstanding, showed his budding comprehension of how to attack hitters. (Note that 60.2 first-strike percentage, a catalyst for inducing hitters to chase at a 34.2 percent pace.) It’s not as if he needed to learn a new pitch; the vet – yes, he qualifies – already deploys four with regularity (including his slider and newly honed, game-changing sinking heat), and he keeps as many as six ready depending on the situation. His average four-seam velocity and opponents’ swinging-strike rate (a gaudy 12.1) remained dominant even while he took on more innings. Sure, the soon-to-be 28-year-old will probably tire a bit after his big IP jump by walking a few more batters; he was textbook efficient in his plate workings, after all. But Chicago managed his innings effectively down the stretch and shut him down early to minimize the degree of downturn. And, of course, he plays in the Senior Circuit.┬áPlay into your opponents’ doubts and swipe him as a third mixed arm, which should still make the former Fighting Irish receiver a golden haul.” By my math, that makes Samardzija a top 30 to 36 arm for fantasy purposes – which is encouraging.
  • The World Baseball Classic rosters will be revealed on Thursday, but there is some early word on the United States team – and, as expected, it doesn’t include any Chicago Cubs. It’s a stacked crew, though, including R.A. Dickey, David Wright, Brandon Phillips, Ryan Braun, Joe Mauer, Giancarlo Stanton, Craig Kimbrel and more. I’m such a hypocrite when it comes to the WBC: I want the teams to be as good as possible because it makes for better viewing … but I’m not sure I want any Cubs players to play for fear of the slightly increased injury risk. We’ll see if Starlin Castro or Anthony Rizzo, for example, wind up on other rosters come Thursday.
  • Another Cubs-drafted-Colin-Kaepernick piece.
  • There’s no baseball connection here, other than I suppose the hidden health problems from which some of our favorite players might be suffering, but this Dan Le Batard profile on former NFL star Jason Taylor is really worth a read. Holy crap the health issues that he hid and played through.
  • Over at the BN Facebook page, we’re captioning the best of the Sammy Sosa Pinterest pictures. It’s just so awesomely bad.
  • hansman1982

    Imagine if the Cubs had signed Kaepernick and held on to Hamilton!!! WE WOULD HAVE BEEN A DYNASTY!!!!!!!

    Oh the humanity…

    • Cubbie Blues

      That was the worst. trade. ever.

      • Rich H

        That was a typical rule V draft transaction with a flawed player. IF the deal was not in place I doubt the Cubs would have taken him in that draft. There was only 1 or 2 teams that had the roster flexability and the structure to take a chance on Hamilton and we took him 3rd because that trade was in place. It worked out well for the Reds but not well enough to keep him. Wonder why?

        So before you start talking about the worst trade ever look at the careers of other similarly flawed players and how they could never get over the mountain of addiction. The Reds payed a hundred grand on a mistake that had one more chance and it worked. Lets not make this a Lou Brock type of mistake because it wasn’t. You should look at the career of Hamilton and think what could have been but do not think for a second that it would have been good for the player or the Cubs for him to spend 2006 in Chicago. We did not have the structure in place to help him as a person or as a ball player. Plus the party atmosphere of our roster in those years would have ate him up and chewed him out.

        • Chet Masterson

          To build on what Rich said, Carrie Muskat explained the exact way the Hamilton Cubs -> Reds trade went down prior to the start of the 2007 season. From Carrie…

          “In case you don’t know the background, the Cubs drafted Hamilton in
          the Rule 5 draft, then traded him to the Reds. The Cubs had no
          intention of picking anyone in the Rule 5 draft last December. Keep
          in mind that if a team picks someone, it must keep that player on the
          Major League roster the entire season or return him to the original
          team. The Cubs had other intentions and roster limitations.

          Because the Cubs had a high pick, the Reds approached them and
          offered cash in exchange for that pick. The Cubs did not know who
          they were choosing until someone from the Reds slipped them a piece
          of paper with Hamilton’s name on it seconds before their selection.”

    • alex

      With Keapernik and Samardzija we wouldve had a better Qb and better TE then the Bears lol.

    • justinjabs

      Kaep kind of reminds me of Garza, which his looks, arm and excitement. But dabbling in football as a kinda-Packers fan, I did not like Kaep anymore by the end of the game.

    • Doug D

      I wonder how much zip Samardzija could put on a football throw when they say that Kaepernick used to throw a 93-94mph fastball…of course, that was High School. Maybe I should be asking how hard Kaepernick could throw a baseball if he decided to become a pitcher instead.

  • ETS

    no soft spot for us denver fans huh? And no soft spot for humanity who has to watch bill beelzebub in the AFC championship?

    • Vulcan

      No. Only Seattle.

  • beerhelps

    I cannot feel bad for any team or fanbase that has anything to do with Pete Carroll. Watching them lose was as good as watching the Packers get blown out. And yes, I am a shallow and petty little man.


    I picked up Samardzija last year with my last pick in a keeper league. He was awesome minus a couple starts and I’m sure he’ll even be better this year.

    • fearbobafett

      I grabed him late in ours, and along with Darvish (who i had stashed in minors system for the past 3 season) are going to be a couple of cheap solid keepers for me the next few years.

  • MightyBear

    I haven’t seen anyone post it here but I think Jeff is a future number 1 starter who can be as good as anybody in baseball. He was dominant in several games last year and he seems to have figured out how to pitch instead of just throwing. If he starts out well, I think the Cubs should sign him to an extension.

  • Forlines

    He’s going to have a great year. His losses will decrease with our bullpen being strengthened (not greatly, but enough) and his control is only going to get better and better. He’s got an arsenal of pitches in his bag, and he is learning (if not mastering) how to effectively control batters. The only thing I worry about is the increased IP, but not too much.

  • Rich

    Certainly Jeff has talent and confidence. I think he will have an era around 4.25-4.5..
    he will be a .500 pitcher. The Cubs just don’t have a good offense. I think he will be a 10 win guy….trapped in the body of a potential 15-16 game winner..

    is he really a # 1 ? I dont know….

    please help me

    • MichCubFan

      Samardzija being a number 1 or not has nothing to do with our offense. Pitcher wins/losses are not a statistic which you can attribute to the talent or value of a starting pitcher. There are just too many variables which he cannot control (bullpen, defense, offense, etc.) to accurately measure anything from the number of a pitcher’s wins/losses.

      And we just don’t know if Samardzija will be a number one yet or not. If he continues what he did last year, minus that one bad month, then he looks like he could be.

  • Kygavin

    Calling Samardzija a “number 1” might be a stretch. Yes he was very good last year but a number 1 implies that he is a top 15 ish SP in the league. He has good stuff but there is no way he is a top 15 SP. that being said I expect him to be the Cubs best pitcher this year and a top 30 guy

  • Forlines

    I know our offense isn’t the greatest (ok ok…it’s pretty damn weak) but I would certainly give him more than 10 wins. I’m of the opinion that if our bullpen doesn’t implode basically every chance they get like last year, he’ll have 14-15 wins, with the chance to hit the coveted 20 mark if we make 1 or 2 more offensive minded moves during ST. I’m probably getting ahead of myself though…

  • Mikelach13

    I have to wonder what the in season random blood testing for HGH is going to do to a lot of fantasy teams …

    • Brett

      Entirely possible that someone loses because of it. I really do wonder whether any high profile players are going to get popped.

  • Diesel

    To hell with the seahawks. I’ve also started a new drinking game at my house, everytime they mention the cubs or fastball or anything in regards to baseball while watching my niners the you have to take a drink. I’m sure I’ll get nice and drunk by half time.