jeff samardzija sharknadoYou’ve probably noticed a hiatus in the BN Podcast, but I wanted to confirm that it’s just been a matter of scheduling and temporary computer death (my computer is currently in the shop, hopefully being fixed … ). We’re working on getting the next episode together as soon as possible.

  • Jeff Samardzija spoke with Dave Kaplan last night and, naturally, the subject of his future with the Cubs came up. You can read more of Samardzija’s thoughts here, but the gist is pretty much what he’s always said: he wants to stay in Chicago, he wants to prove himself as a big-time starter (which I have always read as: he’s betting on himself, and wants to earn a huge contract), and there’s not rush for an extension from his perspective. All fair, and I’ve never had a problem with Samardzija betting on himself. But the comments about there being two years of arbitration left and plenty of time in which to work something out … well, that’s not entirely true. Surely Samardzija knows that his trade value is impacted by the years he remains under control when traded, and if the Cubs are poised to head into this season believing (1) they can’t reasonably extend him beyond 2015, and (2) they won’t be competitive in 2014, then there is something of a timeline on coming to an extension. If it doesn’t happen early this offseason, the Cubs will simply have to explore what would be out there for him.
  • (Which is not to say the Cubs would have to trade Samardzija this offseason. For one thing, his trade value would be only marginally impacted between now and July, and could very well increase with good performance. For another thing, Samardzija being on the Cubs is valuable. The team may not project to be competitive in 2014, and may project to be only average in 2015 … but you never know. Every season is sacred and all that.)
  • The Mesa Solar Sox got stomped on MLBN last night thanks to three errors and seven unearned runs in the third inning (being pitched by Cubs pitching prospect Dallas Beeler). Jorge Soler was 0-3, and Albert Almora was 1-4.
  • Jeff Passan writes about the dwindling power in MLB and the relative expense thereof. Power is dropping rapidly as pitching continues to dominate the bigs, and teams are becoming increasingly desperate to add it. The Cubs come in for compliments for stocking up on power in the minor leagues, including Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, and Jorge Soler.
  • A prospect debate over at Baseball Prospectus involving Astros prospects Carlos Correa and George Springer (let’s see one of these on The Big Four), with a mention of Javier Baez by an unnamed staffer.
  • Arizona Phil at TCR updates his minor league free agent/Rule 5 Draft eligibility bits, and it’s dense stuff, not designed for the timid. One bit worth highlighting – Phil remains unsure whether 2012 international signee Juan Paniagua (whose 2013 season was basically lost to visa issues) will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft on the basis that he’d signed a couple contracts (which were nullified) before ultimately signing with the Cubs. It feels like he shouldn’t be eligible, but, if he is, you could easily see a team taking a chance on his live arm (the Cubs didn’t pay him $1.5 million for nothing). That would mean the Cubs would have to protect him on the 40-man roster if they wanted to keep him, but he’s so raw and far from the bigs that it would be hard to justify using a valuable 40-man spot on him. Long story short? Let’s hope he’s not eligible, and the Cubs are fully aware of how he’ll be treated either way.
  • Jim

    Even if Samardzija wanted out of Chicago, it would be crazy for him to say so while still in Chicago. So “he wants to stay in Chicago” really hold no water with me. If the Cubs can put together a nice deal for him, I’d have no problem with it.

    I watched the AFL last night and I was impressed by Almora, not so much by Soler. I do like hearing things like Bryant, Almora, and Soler are very close and like family. That could be our outfield one day real soon.

    • Mike W

      I also watched the game last night but by the end of the 4th inning I was so bored by the errors being made I had to turn it off. I liked seeing Almora and Soler but wished to see Bryant play more. All of them look like they have some patience at the plate. They arent swinging at the first pitch and are seeing some pitches. Too bad Dallas Beeler had a bad outing. It will be great to see them in ST this spring. Cant wait!

      • Jono

        did Bryant make it into the game? I started flipping between the game and the WSOP after the first few innings, so I didn’t catch the whole thing

        • Mike W

          No he did not play. He will play today I am assuming.

        • Jim

          I was doing the same thing. Reiss the Beast!

    • JM

      Oh but not nearly soon enough…

      Alas, it was quite depressing to read Brett’s comment about the Cub’s not being good in 2014, and only marginal in 2015. Not that its really that much of a shocker, but my expectation has been that the big league club would show improvement each year, yet 2014 doesn’t look as if it will shape up significantly. The only real highlight being the prospect of prospects.

      Again, intelectually I’ve know this, but reading it is so very sobering.

      • Brett

        Those aren’t necessarily my expectations – I was just framing the decision on whether it makes sense to keep Samardzija, regardless of an extension.

        • MightyBear

          I believe the Cubs will be better in 2014 and good in 2015. They should trade the Shark if they can’t extend him. His value is too high to wait for it to go down and lose him. They have enough starters that they can sign and bring up to cover the loss.

          • Jim

            I think the Cubs have a chance to be decent in 2014. I expect Junior Lake to keep improving and maybe with Sveum gone, the regression of Castro and to some point Rizzo might get back on track. I am hoping that we will see Baez and Bryant by the Summer. Mike Olt could be the real swing on the season. If he could stabilize 3B and the middle of the lineup, good things could happen.

            • Voice of Reason

              If decent is losing around 90 games then you’re in the ballpark!! lol

    • ssckelley

      Crap, that was on MLB last night? I thought it was on tonight. Or were you at the game?

  • Jono

    It was nice see Almora start the game off with a hit against a cardinals pitcher. It was nice just seeing him and SolerPower(?) on live tv

    Brett, I told you that I like your style. Now it’s rubbing off on me.

  • Kyle

    “Jeff Passan writes about the dwindling power in MLB and the relative expense thereof. Power is dropping rapidly as pitching continues to dominate the bigs, and teams are becoming increasingly desperate to add it. The Cubs come in for compliments for stocking up on power in the minor leagues, including Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, and Jorge Soler.

    I don’t think this is at all a coincidence. In fact, I can’t help but notice that the MLB offensive pickups we do make are just as often notable for their ability to add some value power as they are for their OBP.

    • Drew7

      I agree with this, and can’t help but think that it may have been one of the big reasons they ended up going with Bryant instead of Gray.

  • Aaron

    Trade Shark this off-season, get a solid young pitching prospect or two from the trade and perhaps sign Shark to a long-term contract two seasons from now when he hits free agency. This will let us know if he really wants to win with the Cubs. He seems like a smart guy and should understand the business side of the game. The team is at least two seasons away from competing anyway.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Per Gordon Wittemeyer this morning on WSCR…

    – Renteria will be the hire. Cubs rolled the dice that Girardi would happen, but Sveum would have been fired regardless. Hoyer has long relationship with Renteria. Renteria aced his interview with both Theo and Jed. They haven’t announced his hire yet because once they knew they weren’t getting Girardi they allowed themselves the self imposed deadline of 11/11, or the start of the Winter Meetings. And even though Renteria has been the frontrunner for weeks (the “clear frontrunner”) Theo wants to do full due diligence, not rush into things and be open minded to interviewing other candidates. They were not worried that Renteria would be snatched up by somebody else while they took their time. Yes, they are very disappointed not to have the chance to interview Lovullo, but have moved on from that (“closed chapter). Wittemeyer expects a formal press conference some time on Friday to announce Renteria.

    – Samardzija is not on the trading block right now despite reports, which are false. The Cubs want to sign Samardzija to a new contract, but are not hopeful of getting a deal done. They will definitely seek to trade Samardzija this winter if they can’t sign him to a deal, but TheoJed’s asking price will be sky high, meaning it is more likely that Samardzija then gets flipped before the July 31st trade deadline instead. But Gordon thinks that unless a contract happens soon, then its an absolute lock Samardzija is traded by no later than mid-season 2014.

    • Chad

      Only one confusing thing here. How can he not be on the block right now, but will be in about 3 weeks? That doesn’t make sense. Theo and Jed have always said they will listen on any player, hence they are all on the block at all times. That is just confusing what he has said.

      • Jono

        Maybe it means they’re not actively looking to trade him because they’re trying to extend him. But if they can’t extend him, then they’ll actively look for a trade

      • Norm

        There is a difference between “listening to any and all offers” and “seeking to trade”.

    • Jono

      Interesting. It would be nice to get a sky-high return for Samardzija, but that’s not exactly my expectation. Defining a return as “sky-high” suggests that we shouldn’t be disappointed if the return is not that large.

      • Blackhawks1963

        It suggests to me that Samardzija is far more likely to start the 2014 season with the Cubs, then be traded mid-season. We roll the dice that Shark can stay healthy and effective on the mound I guess.

        • YourResidentJag

          I disagree. Also, the trade deadline for building up player value it’s completely overblown. As Dave Cameron argued this past season, it actually should be extended because of the wild card format. Also, weren’t some of the biggest trades (Red Sox-Dodgers) and relative to their team (Pirates) in August? The best way to market Shark is to go around MLB and see what offers are out there now in the offseason, while every team is starting fresh.

          Here’s Cameron’s thoughts on the Trade Deadline:

  • CubFan Paul

    So the pecking order of trade block pitchers this offseason by arbitration years left:

    Price -2
    Samardzija -2
    Scherzer -1

    Anyone else?

  • CubsFanSaxMan

    Trade ALL the players. Everyone is “on the block” if the return is “in the Cubs’ best interest.” The “high command” has said this many times. I would not be surprised to see Samardzija, Castro, or anyone else traded for those beloved prospects.

  • North Side Irish

    Cubs exercise option to end WGN-TV contract after next season
    The Chicago Cubs have exercised an option to get out of their broadcast contract with WGN-TV after the 2014 season, sources close to the situation said Wednesday.

    Not surprising…

  • Voice of Reason

    Who knew that Shark would go on a Chicago media outlet and say that he wants to stay in Chicago???

  • Sean

    Talk is cheap Samardzija. If he really wants to stay in Chicago he would sign a team friendly. Now that being said I don’t ever blame a player for getting as much money as they can.

    • Sean

      I just really can’t stand when player say they really love the city, fans and team but won’t sign the a team friendly deal. Shut up, play and don’t give the fans and media any lip service. Go out and pitch and prove the Front Office wrong and show them your worth the big time money you want, because he sure as hell doesn’t deserve it with the lack of control and poor performance he trotted out there in the second half.