jeff samardzija gatorade showerIt’s no secret that the Chicago Cubs have discussed the possibility of trading top starter Jeff Samardzija this week. He’s 29, has huge upside, is a physical beast, and is two years shy of free agency. Those are all reasons to trade him for maximum value right now … as well as reasons to sign him to an extension.

So, naturally, the Cubs have been seen as pursuing both possible angles for the better part of six months. Could that all be coming to a head today?

Last night, Jon Heyman tweeted that the Cubs’ brass will meet with Jeff Samardzija’s agents today. Without extrapolation, there might not be a lot there. But, for Heyman to have heard this detail in the kind of context that makes it newsworthy, alone, is noteworthy.

To be clear, there could be any number of reasons for the Cubs to meet with Samardzija’s agents today. But if Heyman’s report is accurate, we have to draw some logical inferences. First, meeting with Samardzija’s agents is almost certainly to discuss an extension. Second, that discussion will come against the backdrop of trade discussions. Third, it feels like one-last-talk kind of thing.


Well, consider: if the discussion about an extension had nothing to do with trade talks, the Cubs could have that meeting at any time. Next week. Next month. Whenever. Instead, they’re having the discussions on the day before the Winter Meetings break. The any reason to do that? Trade talks are reaching a critical stage, and the Cubs want to know, definitively, where things stand with Samardzija on a possible extension before they go into final negotiations with any team on a trade. Perhaps the Cubs will even use the trade talks as a pressure point.

And perhaps Heyman heard this tidbit from another team? Perhaps a team that the Cubs asked to be patient, pending their meeting with Samardzija’s agents? That’s pure speculation … but it’s pretty logical.

In any case, it isn’t unreasonable to conclude that something could happen in the Samardzija story in the next two days. It’s equally possible that nothing will happen – at least for public consumption. It could be that today’s discussion, and the ancillary talks with trade partners will merely crystalize the plan going forward (trade, or hold).

So, I guess the conclusion here is to pay attention closely today and tomorrow. Something happen. Or it might not. And we might hear something about what did or didn’t happen. And we might not. I know that’s obnoxious. But that’s just the reality.

  • http://BN Sacko

    We need to have a better team as some kind of incentive for him to sign. I don’t think he wants to be a Cub longer then he has to because of it.

    • Brains

      yeah the irony of the austerity mentality is that to truly rebuild eventually we’ll have to spend *more* as an incentive to get star talent here, kind of like seattle with cano.

      some people are going to blow a gasket when we do. there’s a saying, something like “cheap now, expensive later”…

      • gocatsgo2003

        Except that “star talent” could very well come from within via promotion and development of young players — it just takes a little longer. Sure seems like guys such as Baez, Bryant, Almora, and Soler have some “star quality” to them, even if only one or two actually pan out as big leaguers.

        • Brains

          “could potentially if”, and “will”, are dramatic worlds apart. let’s have some levity here. everyone spends all this time looking at data. well, what is the historical data that 4 minor leaguers will all be permanent successful major leaguers? i genuinely don’t know, but i’ll bet it’s a very, very low probability. then what? this is where things become fantasy baseball projected into the real world. you can’t finagle the game’s player numbers to make them a success.

          • wilbur

            and since when has signing expensive free agents in their declining ages been a sure thing? It is more fantasy league projection isn’t it? Neither route is guaranteed, but a blend that tries to avoid the wasteful mistakes on players, both interms or money and time, is best. A team could even build a plan around an approach like that couldn’t they?

            • Kyle

              I’m sure they could. Wish the Cubs would try that this offseason.

  • North Side Irish

    TomLoxas ‏@TomLoxas 16m
    Told #Cubs/ Samardzija meeting not about extension.

    For what it’s worth

    • On The Farm

      What a tease

    • TulaneCubs

      Wonder if it’s a discussion on:

      1) Does Shark have a team preference if the Cubs have 2 deals they feel are equal?
      2) If Jeff really wants to test the market… come back to the Cubs in 2 years. Cubs will have a boatload of talent and they’ll probably need another pitcher. They could talk to his agents about how much they like him and how they do want him, just that they need to turn him into young players right now.

      • wilbur

        This sounds reasonable. I like number two, because that way shark, who I really like having on the team, gets to test the market and establish his true worth. This will likely be quite a lot in two years time. The cubs don’t have to worry about losing himm for nothing to free agency, well a comp pick. And then the cubs can resign him and both parties will be sure it is at the market value…I think some of these hendry signings dont feel that the current fo has their interests in mind, like dempster. So may not be getting reliable info on who would pay what for them via back channels and chats with jim about how much the yankees would pay to get him if he was a free agent. that sort of thing.

  • cubsklm

    We came, we saw, we rode some rides, and accomplished nothing!

    “It’s a small world after all, Cub fans.”

  • Tennessee Cub

    It’s obvious that Shark doesn’t want to be with the Cubs. He is saying he does, but who is going to dog their current club. I don’t blame him though, he wants to win. Cubs are still at least 2 years from being competitive. Trade Shark this year and get some kids who can be ready next year or the year after. I like all Cubs fans am sick of saying wait till next year and am sick of hearing about finances, Your in Chicago, it is a big market, so act like it and compete. It makes me sick to know that we are purposely tanking seasons………

    • RD

      I don’t think that is really the case. Look at what kind of money free agents are signing for. His first time as a free agent is will be the one time in his life to make as much money as he possibly can and I don’t blame him for that. Sure, he could sign a “team friendly” contract and have good guaranteed money but he is a confident dude and has the chance to make many millions more.

  • http://BN Sacko

    Waiting for prospects to come up, fine, Baez is only one that may come up this season. Who else? And there is always the possibility that they don’t measure up or get hurt. We are a team that still has Barney, Holy.. let’s move on something.

  • Senor Cub

    Why are the Cubs acting so desperate to sigh Shark. The way it’s coming across is like a “zero sum” game and that’s not the case here at all. As Brett has pointed out time after time, the guy believes in himself. 2 years is a long time. We are all under the assumption that he is driven and motivated to sign a new contract and he simply isn’t. He is good on money for now ($15M from Cubs). Why can’t the Cubs appreciate that, if they think he’s this good why not wait a couple of years when he is that much better and see where the market is then. Why does he have to give the Cubs a friendly deal today when the Cubs can stand in line with the rest two years from now and bid for him again. I don’t get it. It’s like forcing a baby to drink milk when the baby simply isn’t interested in drinking the milk( that one there is a freebee for you Brett). Wink. :)

    • Lou Brown

      Because Shark does not offer as much value over the next two years (when they are not competitive). The value comes when they are competitive. So they need to either extend him into their competitive years, or trade him for assets that will be there during their competitive years. And the trade value will decrease as his time until free agency ticks down.

    • wilbur

      Losing a good player to free agency and not getting anything for him in trade is good for the team how? You assume he will resign with the cubs in free agency, why? If he was keen to sign with the cubs, sign an extension now. By wanting to test the free agency market, he is almost forcing the cubs to trade him. How can they afford to let one of their best players leave and not get anything back for him? They have to move him.

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  • bobk

    I assume this is a last attempt to get an extension signed before committing to a trade. I think a reasonable extension is still the best option. A #1, Shark, Wood and Jackson is a very formidable rotation. However, if he is not on board then a trade with a very high return is necessary. We could always ride out his contract a little bit longer. An injury next year to a top end picture on a playoff caliber team could blow up the phone for Shark.