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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.

Why?

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://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    was it me or did the daddy Ricketts show yesterday sound like Alfred E Newman? Funny lack of knowledge for guy spent almost a billion dollars for a team

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t understand what any of that means.

      • Chef Brian

        Your not the only one.

        • Brains

          i actually kind of got it. a repulsive big smile meant mockingly to those who newman thinks is worse than him, but instead just makes him look ugly. that’s the character. ricketts does do a lot of mocking over-smiling. not sure the correlation is great, but i get the insult.

          • itzscott

            Alfred E. Newman…. “What, Me Worry?”

  • Kramden

    More like trying to tell other teams the they’re really, really, really serious about working out an extension with Shark and if they want to trade for him, this is their absolute, final, no turning back, we’re serious about this now, really last chance.

    The games people play!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If the meeting was a pressure tactic for trade partners, the Cubs probably could have done a better job leaking – Heyman’s tweet included the fact that an extension offer was not expected today.

      • Brains

        :(

        • Brains

          i mean it’s possible to be a great stats guy, and build around a good team, and not be a great leader. that just means we need to bring in some new people to help these guys.

    • Hookers or Cake

      One of the main problems with extending Shark is his age. If he doesn’t sign an extension he’ll be a 31 yr old FA in line for a 5 or 6 year big money 100+million deal.

      A 5 year extension takes him to 34 where the chances of landing a big deal as a FA diminish considerably. As do the chances of injury. Jeff has 30 million guaranteed in his pocket counting the next 2 arb years. The Cubs dangling another 45 million (a very fair market offer btw) when he sees a payday to a contender that would easily double or triple that.

      Add to that his only 2 years as a starter have been with historically bad teams

  • Brains

    But it’s ok because we’re going to sign Tanaka, right? and, minor leaguers?

    • Eric

      If he won’t sign an extension and the front office believes they can get the most value for him now, yes. It’s also completely independent of Tanaka.

  • http://Permalink papad1945

    Screw him. Trade him.

  • Chad

    The longer this off-season goes on the less likely I see Shark getting traded now. I think he will be held on to until the trade deadline. I would like to see the extension. The extension is the only moving news that I think we will hear this off-season.

    • wkranz54

      I know this offseason has been frustrating, but I still believe late moves will be made. The Cubs brought in Schierholtz later than this and landed E. Jackson. The value just isn’t there early. My bet is Cubs end up with 6 could be MLB starters/bounce back candidates headed into the season.

    • Edwin

      If the Cubs trade him, I’d rather they trade him now, instead of waiting till the deadline. Rigth now there is a fairly stable market, there are no injury concerns, and Jeff would be able to give his new team at least two years, instead of 1 1/2. Waiting to trade a pitcher until the dealine doesn’t always work out. It didn’t with Matt Garza, at least.

      • wkranz54

        I thought the return for half a year of Garza was pretty solid, no?

        • ssckelley

          Exactly, I am in no hurry to trade Shark. Yes there is injury risk but you have that with anybody.

        • Edwin

          The return was fine, considering it was a half (less even) year rental. In general, teams are willing to pay more for a full year rental of a player than a half year rental.

          • ssckelley

            Smaller market teams will, but playoff teams get desperate at trade deadlines especially if they are competing with another team within their own division. This was the case with Garza, the Rangers moved quickly once they heard the A’s were involved which drove the price up.

            Again, there is no rush. Keep the price high and if another team will not pay it then wait it out.

  • Eric

    It’s an interesting leak. It could mean everything and nothing all at the same time. My guess is that the Cubs have a trade on the table they’re willing to talk about, but they would rather lock Shark up to an extension.

  • http://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    sigh. What that means is that Rickets professed no knowledge as to time line for rebuilding, no knowledge of rooftop negotiations, and nothing to report on a TV deal. Seems disingenuous.I’m guessing he knows a lot more than he said. Sorry for the Mad Magazine reference it was dated.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The reference wasn’t lost on me – punctuation and actual names (rather than insulting nicknames that don’t make a lot of sense) help. That was the issue.

    • BenRoethig

      Yeah, that’s because its business. You don’t talk about deals under negotiation. Its confidential until theres something to announce.

  • http://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    sorry I didn’t mean to be insulting. Meant to be humorous.for the record I didn’t call anybody anything I said that the act of being dumb wass odd for such a successful and smart guy. I will work on my punctuation :-) counselor

    • CubFan Paul

      “for the record I didn’t call anybody anything…”

      “or did the daddy Ricketts show yesterday…”

      Tom Ricketts is not Joe Ricketts, so there was no humor to begin with…

  • Dumpgobbler

    I’m sensing the elusive 4 team deal. And it goes like this.

    Arizona gets: Jeff Samardzjia,
    Pirates get: Chris Owings
    Marlins get: Matt Davidson
    Cubs gets: Jake Barrett, Justin Nicolino, Nick Kingham

    • James Smith

      No.

      • Dumpgobbler

        Never? Not even if you looked sideways?

    • TulaneCubs

      That’s… not terrible. I’d like a couple more pitchers involved, maybe some low level minor leaguers with big upside, if we’re not going to get a TOR guy.

  • ssckelley

    I sure hope Samardzjia accepts an extension, I love prospects as much as anybody on this site but this could be a huge piece for the Cubs future rotation.

    Diehard, what have you heard? You got good news for us?

    • CubFan Paul

      “I love prospects as much as anybody on this site”

      Speak for yourself. Second round picks are grossly overrated on this site by ‘fans’

      • rockin’ dawg

        There will still be some young power arms available at the top of the 2nd round. I wouldn’t underestimate the value of that to this FO.

        • ssckelley

          Second round picks have next to zero value, the little value they do have is the draft pool dollars that pick represents which more than the pick itself. As has been discussed many times on this site the chances of drafting a productive MLB player in the 2nd round is very small.

          If the Cubs were looking to improve next season I would prefer they used this off season to acquire free agents since the first round pick is protected.

          • mjhurdle

            I think the tendency to dismiss non-1st round picks is a bit over-blown.
            Obviously the odds of finding a star are much greater in the first round, but that does not discount the fact that teams are not comprised of 40 former 1st round picks.
            To say that 2nd round picks are worthless except for the pool money they provide is a gross exaggeration. you still have around a 50% chance of seeing your second round pick make a MLB roster, and about a 20% chance that that pick lasts at least 3 years in the bigs.

            http://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/one-in-six-draft-picks-will-click/
            http://viewfromthebleachers.com/blog/2012/08/23/success-rate-of-mlb-draft-picks-by-slot/
            https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-772wlhxPhPNjUyY2JiMmItYzJlYi00Yjk5LThlOTUtODkwN2IzMTU5ODIx/edit?hl=en_US

            • Kyle

              And about 1/10 chance that he’ll produce 10 career bWAR. That’s really not much.

              It’s not like anyone’s advocating just passing on the draft after the first round. It’s more like giving up your 2nd-round pick leaves you with 38 non-first-round picks, which isn’t that different from having 39 of them.

            • ssckelley

              Just because half of the 2nd round picks reach the big leagues it does not mean they had productive careers and only a 16% chance of playing 3 years is not very high, which is still not a productive career. I would not let that stop me from acquiring a proven MLB veteran player that would cost the Cubs a 2nd round pick.

              To help put it in perspective you have to go clear back to 1984 when the Cubs drafted Greg Maddux to find a player they drafted in the 2nd round that amounted to anything. The Cubs most productive 2nd round pick since Greg Maddux has been DJ LeMahieu.

  • Eric

    For the record, I think locking Shark up long term is where the smart money is at. I’m fairly certain that if they had their preference, Theo and Jed feel the same way. I think the problem is feasibility.

    It may be that we need to weigh the cost of trading him for a lower asking price vs. what we would receive with the comp pick in a couple of years.

    • Fishin Phil

      Extension is my preference as well, but sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

    • Brains

      yes, if people realize it or not, the smartest thing we could do at this juncture is to shore up a strong pitcher for a long time. i don’t see who else that might be, so it might as well be our very healthy and stable #1 (#3 on other teams). he’s a good signing, and would be a symbol of anticipated stability for the team.

      if we trade him it’s like saying that we should hold our breath at least another 3 years until they even begin to get things together. we’d have a pretty bad pitching situation, which is harder to remedy than a bad hitting situation (which we’re closer to fixing, IF the minor leaguers turn out well).

      brains is getting pessimistic again!!!!!!

      • Norm

        What if he doesn’t want to sign because, like a lot of fans here, he doesn’t think the Cubs will compete until 2017?

        People just completely ignore the possibility that the player simply doesn’t want to sign.

        • mdavis

          right, or that the amount he’s asking for is just outrageous. its not as easy as oh, the cubs should sign him but since they havent they arent trying!! its a two way street.

  • http://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    the problem I’m guessing is that shark wants David Price money

  • nashvillecub

    “So, I guess the conclusion here is to pay attention closely today and tommorrow. 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 the reality.”

    Or is it reality?

  • Ivy Walls

    Geez, this is easy to interpret, trade value of Samardz not in line with Cubs FO value, remove from market, revisit in different time frame,

    Samardz reveals what most knew but wanted to ignore because they are fans, Samardz wants professional value, FA is the only path when he is 31,

    Cubs know he will not sign extension at current value, Samardz will not sign extension at current value,

    Samardz starts April, hopefully has better first half than last year, trade value escalates.

    • Brains

      most likely outcome described here. but it also pictures another garza-like dragging on of a pitcher on the shit block simply for pitching well. we hate our pitchers for doing a good job, because they’re seen as means to more minor leaguers. then we cheer when they’re traded for random pieces we might never see on the mlb team. it’s getting grotesque. how about we value our talent, and get some more?

      • caryatid62

        You’re wrong on this. Just wrong.

        (I know I’ve just given you an opening to essentially repeat your point, which we all know you will, but it had to be said.)

        • Brains

          im feeling pessimistic this morning, but every time i go this route and people jump on me i turn out to be right. things decrease instead of increase. and then they decrease some more.

          • wkranz54

            Are you talking prospects? The biggest decrease of that trade was Matt Garza. He posted a -.1 WAR after the trade for 13 starts. We got in return Olt and Grimm (who I understand may never pan out) and Edwards who is being considered right in the middle of the Big 4 (sounds like a huge increase). And what did we lose? 13 starts in a meaningless season (btw he is now a FA so we could theoretically turn around and sign him…not saying we will even think about it). If you don’t think we got the better end of that deal you just are going to hate on any trade that doesn’t give us instant big league improvement.

            • Brains

              wrong, garza is a legitimate offseason pitching signing in the 15m range. someone will be glad to take him on as their #3. that list should include the cubs. you can’t take a 13 game adjustment snapshot and make a larger inference about projected numbers. he might not be david price, but he’s a good addition for any serious team.

              • wkranz54

                What do you mean wrong? I’m not arguing whether or not the Cubs should look at him this offseason (and we shouldn’t waste time arguing about it because they won’t). I am simply saying, as it turns out, we got the better end of the trade last season and still could have taken a run at Garza this offseason. You said things decrease, which is not always true…CJ Edwards.

                • Brains

                  ok i accept this. right.

  • Rebuilding

    Going to copy into this thread since this is where everyone is going to go:

    If we are insisting on a TOR, near MLB ready arm these are the only teams realistically in the running:

    Seattle – Walker and maybe Hultzen (injured)
    Arizona – Bradley
    Baltimore – Gausman and Bundy (injured)
    NY Mets – Syndergaard and maybe Montero
    Pittsburgh – Taillion and maybe Glasnow
    St. Louis – C. Martinez and (arms at MLB level)
    Kansas City – Zimmer and Ventura
    Cleveland – Bauer
    Washington – Giolito and AJ Cole
    Miami – Heaney
    SF – maybe Crick
    Boston – maybe Owens and maybe Renaudo
    Toronto – Sanchez and maybe Stroman
    Atlanta – Sims
    Philly – Biddle

    • Rebuilding

      I’m starting to think more and more that KC could be the team if Zimmer and/or Ventura is involved. If Assman is correct that they offered Cain, Crow and 2 prospects. I would say no thanks to Cain and ask for Raul Mondesi – only 18 but with amazing raw tools

      • macpete22

        I agree. I think Crow, Cain (eh), Zimmer, Duffy, etc for Shark and maybe throw in a reliever and or Vogelbach.

      • Adventurecizin’ Justin

        I would take Mondesi, too, but still wouldn’t mind Cain being a part of the package. I hope a deal to KC has some legs to it.

        I like the Royals. I like Shark. If he is gonna be traded for a helpful package, I hope it is KC. I’d really want both teams smelling like roses with a deal!

      • Assman22

        I never said this and neither would likely be involved in a 4 player return…the offers have remained relatively the same…still quantity over quality…return will be good, not great…

        • Edwin

          It’s like reading an MLB trade horoscope.

      • RD

        I come to this site and the comments daily and I’m always curious as to who exactly Assman22 is (Other than Kamer). Apparently he often as the inside info but do we know how, why, and who he really is?

        Thanks and keep up the awesome work, Brett.

  • Kyle

    Arguello and one of PSD’s insiders (presumably independently) were both reporting the same thing late last night, with the latter describing it as a last-ditch move before probably dealing him before the end of the meetings.

    • Norm

      I don’t think Arguello was reporting it. Think he just said that he saw it. Probably from PSD, which I don’t believe for a second.

      • Kyle

        Note that ABTY was reporting that meeting yesterday evening, before anyone else.

        The dude is legit.

        • Norm

          Is anyone else reporting it?

          • Kyle

            Several national guys as of this morning.

            • Norm

              Can you please point out 1 or 2? Not that I follow everyone, but this would be something that gets tweeted and retweeted by guys like Brett and Arguello, and dont’ think they have.

              • Kyle

                Joel Sherman

                @joelsherman1

                • Norm

                  Disregard, I was thinking this was in reference to the KC rumors for Cain/Crow/2 prospects.

        • JB88

          ABTY? Who is that? No sarcasm, legitimate question.

          • Kyle

            He’s a poster on another message board who has connections inside the Royals organization.

            Basically, he passes on what the inside-baseball rumor mill is saying about the Cubs. It’s not a direct inside connection, but it provides a lot of interesting information. He’s been the first on some interesting moves in recent years, including signing Scott Feldman.

            • JB88

              Oh, gotcha. Okay, yeah, I’m familiar with that board. I just didn’t put two-and-two together. Thanks.

    • ssckelley

      Unless they have a trade lined up already I cannot imagine this being a “last-ditch move”. So perhaps we are in for a big surprise, either a big trade or a contract extension.

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Well, I agree 100% with you but I can’t help but to disagree 100% with you but maybe I am 50/50 or 60/40, one thing for sure is I have an idea that you will have the answers sometime sooner or later.

  • Die hard

    Good for him to be able to parlay a less than avg career into a big payday- if weed was legal in USA maybe less TV interest and thus less revenue to support such nonsense- Uruguay will lead the world to sanity

  • macpete22

    Sherman said Shark doesn’t want to commit long term because he’s unsure of when we’ll start to contend

  • arta

    sign him and move on.

  • http://BN Sacko

    My guess is that he doesn’t sign an extension and he is in our rotation to start 2014.
    They are looking for more pitching that isn’t any better then Shark. He’s the best we have almost overall (team) we can’t trade him now. we will be awful with him and worse without him.

  • Mike

    So there was a tweet, which led to this post, which led to fan speculation. Ok, along those same lines, I can provide an unequivocal guarantee that my Facebook page says they won’t trade him.

    • Scotti

      There was a Tweet by a reporter. You are a librarian. There’s a difference, no?

  • http://permalink toby taylr

    dump his ass and lets get rid of barney grab a rh of and get this show on the road. get the prospects for schmuck now and save the embarrassment and hassle

  • itzscott

    It’s the Cubs!

    Consider if this is the way things fly….

    1) They can’t sign Tanaka
    2) Shark doesn’t sign an extension
    3) The Cubs can’t get what they feel is an equitable return in trade

    Then what’s the plan?

    It could very well turn out like this.

    • papabear

      The plan is what happened last year. Sign players that had down years or got hurt. hope they rebound and trade them at the trade dead line. Lose 90+ games and get a good draft pick.

  • papabear

    The Cubs seem to be waiting for players to sign way below market value so they can deal them at the trade dead line. I am starting to think the cubs will do nothing during the winter meeting that is very exciting.

    Most of the comments on ESPN about Jeff Samardzja was down year – maybe Cubs will wait till he builds up some trade value around the trade dead line. He would slide into a 4 or 5 spot nicely. Not a lot of good statements said about him except cost control pitcher. Maybe a team that is close to their payroll cap would trade for him.

  • Cheryl

    Shark may not want to take a chance on his record being worse this next season with the way the team is shaping up. That could lower his value long term so IMO he’s going to be traded. The cubs know he won’t sign an extension and if the team is worse next year, which looks like a good possibility, there’s no reason to wait until next year to trade him. They’d get less for him then.

  • YourResidentJag

    MLB likely to ban plate collisions: http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24371196

    • Scotti

      As a former catcher (whose father and grandfather both caught), any catcher who gets the crap smacked out of him during a collision at the plate doesn’t know how to cover the damn plate.

      The Posey collision was stupid because he was blocking the plate and trying to go for a swipe tag. If you want to swipe then you don’t block. That’s basic. If you block then you bring the collision too the runner–force meets force and everyone is okay.

      The Fosse collision was stupid because he was chasing up the line to get the ball and he had zero chance of getting Rose–none. You’ve got to know when to either let the ball pass you by or step out of the base path (in that case toward the pitcher’s mound) to catch the ball.

      • papabear

        that’s all fine and dandy – But an average of 12 catchers are getting major concustions per year and 3 are career threatning. The damage to them is significant to effect them through their life time. Like was said yesterday the impact is the same as a football player calling for a fair catch but getting leveled anyway. Your wrong – this problem needs and is finally getting addressed.

        • Scotti

          If you said that yesterday then you are clearly wrong. There is no such thing as a fair catch behind the plate. That’s just silly. Instruct catchers on how to play the game right and they won’t get concussions. That and make sure their vitamin D levels are appropriate:

          “When your vitamin D level gets low, it affects you skeletal system. If your skull is made of bone, you can strengthen it with vitamin D levels to help withstand hits. There is a direct correlation between the levels of vitamin D dropping in young athletes and the current rise of concussions.”

          http://www.vitaminandmineralfamily.com/the-power-of-vitamin-d/

          “The National Football League’s New York Giants recently did a vitamin D study in 2010 and found that 81% of their players were vitamin D deficient or insufficient as reported by the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine. In addition, the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks have most players on 5,000 IU of vitamin D a day to help reduce injuries and have seen impressive results.”

  • Jono

    I see no reason to extend him this off season. If they can’t trade him now, try again in july. If they still can’t trade him in july, then try extending him next off season. At least then, they’ll know more about who he is as a pitcher. It’ll be worth meeting his extension demands when there’s more certainty of his production

  • Aaron

    If the Cubs do not sign Shark to an extension nor trade him this off-season, then trade talks will be going on over the next 2 seasons with him. Reporters will not stop asking him about it during the course of those 2 seasons, which would frustrate anybody. Something needs to happen with this situation by the time pitchers report to camp in February, otherwise it would be a big distraction for Shark and the team.

    • Jono

      i think players perform better when playing for a new contract than after they sign one. If you want to get the most out of Samardzija in 2014, I’d say that they shouldn’t extend him

  • JL

    With all these trade rumors. There is NO way he will be with the Cubs on opening day.

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