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jeff samardzija gatorade showerJeff Samardzija was the man of the hour at the Winter Meetings for the Chicago Cubs a couple weeks ago, despite the fact that he wasn’t there, and nothing happened involving him. At last check, the Cubs were still listening to offers for their big righty, who remains under cheap control for two more years. But until the Masahiro Tanaka situation is finalized, and until the free agent starting market heats up a bit, the Cubs will probably be sitting on Samardzija for a while, even if a much-discussed extension isn’t in place any time soon.

So, it was fair to expect a long silent stretch on the Samardzija front. But, nay! Christmas came a day early for Chicago Cubs nerds, as Patrick Mooney and CSN deliver a fascinating interview with Samardzija.

I’m not going to ape much of it, because you should go read it in its entirety. Samardzija, who was recently in town to do some good deeds, discusses his gut feeling on extension and trade talks (it doesn’t sound like he thinks a trade is as certain or imminent as it has been portrayed), as well as the impact of the Wrigley renovation/Cubs’ financial situation on the team’s timeline for competitiveness.

On the latter point, Samardzija seems to imply that uncertainty about when the Cubs will actually be competitive is holding up extension talks as much as any dollar-related issues. Understandably, Samardzija, who turns 29 in January, wants the Cubs to be focused on winning in the near-term, rather than solely the long-term.

The front office isn’t going to change its approach just so that it has the opportunity to lock down Samardzija to a (possibly expensive) extension, but the mere fact that the issue is coming up is a reminder that rebuilding has its hidden costs.

In the end, the front office will have to balance its desire to keep Samardzija long-term, its desire to win (both now and in the future), its relative lack of funds, and its belief that you have to leave all avenues open, because maximizing Samardzija’s value could take the form of a trade for prospects.

It was great to read Samardzija’s candid thoughts on the situation, and it provides valuable background knowledge for a second round of rumors that will likely pop up in about a month or so.

  • Cheese Chad

    I love reading Samardzija’s comments. He’s a smart, candid dude who really understands the game in all aspects. He’s also very passionate. I’ve been on both sides of trading/not trading him but really he’s the kind of guy you want on your side when it matters.

  • CubFan Paul

    “I just think the whole quote-unquote ‘rebuilding’ word gets old. And if it isn’t there already, it’s getting there in a hurry. That’s just the truth of the matter. You can only stretch that word so far”

    Thank You Jeff Samardzija.

    As I said earlier, the first wave of talent is getting ignored.

    • SenorGato

      That really is awesome of him to say.

      • SenorGato

        This quote still impresses me, and should get more play. I’m ecstatic that a good Cubs player came out and said this.

    • YourResidentJag

      +1

    • mjhurdle

      It really didn’t sound like Shark thought he was getting ignored in the interview.
      He admits that he is a ‘now’ guy, so im not sure how far you can look into him stating that he is tired of the rebuild.
      “Does everybody want things to happen now?” Samardzija said. “Yeah, (but) you add in city policies and aldermen and this and that when you talk about the renovation. And then you’re talking about the rebuilding, waiting on prospects. There are a lot of different things that come into this timeline that are out of my control.”

      “My timetable hopefully is a little bit faster than maybe what they have. But that’s my job – to convince them that this timetable needs to be shifted more to the current stages than the future stages.”

      Taking everything he says in the interview in context, it sounds less that he is getting ignored, and more that he wants to win now because he loves Chicago and wants to be around when they are winning. And if they wait another 2-3 years to start competing, then he probably won’t be here.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com salesguy

    I think if the cubs get Tanaka, that shows a commitment to Jeff, though there is a double edged sword to this. We all like him, but think about this, though he questions the speed of the rebuild, he hasn’t made that conversation easy. The cubs had a decent defense last year, though the offense was poor, and Jeff still got rocked on several occasions. They can talk about the potential and the low mileage all they want, but time catches up with everyone. The reality is, he’s 29 with two years of control left, I would personally feel a lot better about cutting him a 8 or 9 figure extension if the ERA was a bit lower, and the walks were less. I’m really hoping he stays, but if we got a high end prospect, 7 years younger with multiple years of control for him, I really don’t see it as a loss.

  • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

    He needs to solve some command issues, however I think he could handle the big moments if and when the Cubs compete “September October”. I would favor an extension of six years with a player option after year three…..

  • Blackhawks1963

    Samardzija likes himself. Too big for his britches too. I wish he’d concentrate more on furthering his development on the mound than running his mouth all the time. Seriously, the guy was an enigmatic bust before his fine 2012 season. But last year he was hardly consistent. Great arm, great potential. But stop portraying yourself like you have already arrived into the fraternity of great pitchers in this league. Because you haven’t. And you happen to be under contract for two more years. Shut up and pitch to the best of your ability.

    • Jason P

      Did you even read the interview? Your comment sounds more like you believing what you feel like believing.

      ” I wish he’d concentrate more on furthering his development on the mound than running his mouth all the time. ”

      Really? Can you remind me of even 1 other interview like this he’s done this offseason? You should be able to find at least 3 if he truly does “run his mouth all the time”.

      • Kurt
        • Kurt

          2. I also recall him mouthing off about the Scott Feldman trade.

          3. He mouthed off about Dale’s Defensive shifts.

          That’s three, right. Not that I intend to do Blackhawk1963’s heavy lifting him for him but Smartzy does seem to do his share of popping off.

          I would be happy to get a big haul for him. Long term/big money contracts for pitchers scare me, especially giving ace money to a 2 or 3.

          • DarthHater

            So, Samardzija gave a pretty objective assessment of a trade and he disagreed with his third base coach over the positioning of the first baseman on one play. But it sounds a lot better if you just call it mouthing off.

            • X The Cubs Fan

              Samardzija argues alot because he hates losing, he’s fiery and he’s really a competitor. I, for one, have no problem with that.

            • Kurt

              Just so you know darthy, you’re either a child (age 12-26 prefrontal lobe not fully developed) or you’re over 26 with a limited IQ under 98).

              This is the one and only time I’ll answer you. I’ve seen your act many times on this site.

              You’re a poop monkey (Monkeys in a zoo that pick up their own feces and throw it at the glass enclosure. You pick fights just to pick fights (internet fights).

              You’re a coward. You bring nothing to the table.

              You probably save this page and refresh your browser to see if some one’s taken the bait.

              Don’t bother, I don’t waste time on children or morons.

              • Lukas

                Ha, you make me laugh because you linked to rant sports as if that nonsense proves you right about something.

                • Lukas

                  And you called somebody a “poop monkey” right after insinuating that he is young and immature.

                  • Lukas

                    I can’t stop laughing at this

                    • DarthHater

                      I can add nothing to Lukas’s incisive and perceptive analysis.

                      If it weren’t Christmas Eve, I might add an observation about the probable penile magnitude of someone who uses Bruce Lee as his screen picture, but it is, so I won’t. :-P

              • mjhurdle

                “Don’t bother, I don’t waste time on children or morons.”

                well, you just said that Darth is either a child or a moron, so your statement that you don’t waste time on people you consider childish or moronic is false.
                We can argue how much time you waste, but we have proof that you waste time.
                That blatant lie throws what little credibility the rest of your post had right out the window.

                Merry Christmas and hopefully Santa brings you a nice helping of relaxation and chill tomorrow morning!

                • DarthHater

                  Hey, wait a minute! Why do you assume that it’s the time wasting that’s false? Maybe the “Darth is a child or a moron” is actually false, and that’s why he’s wasting time on me. Hmmmm??? :-D

                  • mjhurdle

                    thats a great point :)

                  • hansman1982

                    Impossible.

                    • DarthHater

                      Shouldn’t you be asleep with visions of cheeseburgers dancing in your head?

              • http://www.gibsonpentecost.com regimezefelerski

                That’s totally uncalled for. Disagree, but quit calling names

          • Jason P

            Well alright, but “running his mouth” is not necessarily synonymous with “stating his opinion”. The first link you posted was fairly light on details and, regardless, trash talking is a whole different kind of running your mouth. I think Blackhawks was complaining more about the quotes Samardzija gave about proving his worth as a TOR starter or how he was miserable as a reliever or how he wants to help speed up the rebuild (though hard to tell because its such a bogus point to begin with).

    • Cheese Chad

      It’s not like he used a unintended platform to talk himself up. He answered questions in an interview.

      • Cheese Chad

        Plus he states in the interview that he is working out in Mesa just about everyday. Sounds like furthering his development to me.

    • Lukas

      He runs his mouth all the time? Please show me another article or interview where he has spoken out recently.

      Also, I’m pretty sure this during this interview he spoke about currently working out every day in Mesa. Wouldn’t that qualify and concentrating on furthering his development?

      Learn to read man.

      • DarthHater

        Yea, it takes a real loudmouth to talk when he’s being interviewed.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      I’m starting to read Blackhawks as satire… It’s more enjoyable that way.

  • DarthHater

    And, with the publication of this interview, we now enter the sixth month of waiting for Die hard to produce the teensiest iota of evidence to support his assertion that Samardzija is as much of a head case as Zambrano.

    • hansman

      Epic fail on your part in expecting Die Hard to do any such thing.

      • DarthHater

        Actually, what has happened is precisely what I expected. I’m just enjoying it.

  • Jason P

    I really don’t want to see him traded.

    • CubFan Paul

      Then text him or something and tell him to settle for that 5/$55Mish offer.

      • X The Cubs Fan

        The offers obviously not going to stay that low if Samardzija pitches even better this year.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Reading the Mooney piece it is obvious that the year of contention is as big a sticking point as the money. A lot of speculation earlier that maybe the FO was punting on the 2015 season as well. Realisticly the renovations will not be started until next fall. But what if Ricketts continues to stall because of the roof tops? Aside from all the speculation about all of the covenents with the lenders it seems to me like Ricketts is saying that there will be no money to make the team competative until the TV revenues and the renovations are in place. This is kind of like being stuck on the tarmack waiting for your flight to take off to Florida. So everyone is OK with the team being stuck in suck mode this coming year. And I for one predict that attendance will suffer agaiin this year, maybe a lot more than last. But I see a mutiny of epic proportions coming if there is no effort to go for it in 2015. Hopefully we know by the end of October how some of these prospects are going to project and whether Castro and Rizzo live up to expectations. But my view is that the business side of the operation is holding the baseball side and the fans hostage so to speak while they do their dipsy doodle with the idiot rooftop owners. Hopefully Samardzija will be our opening day pitcher and all this rooftop crap will be resolved by the allstar break. And all the money we would be spending on Tanaka in comparison to what it would take to sign Shark! You want to give guy maybe 150 million for 5 or 6 years when you have a guy that will sign for probably 75 million. I think the Kool-aid will be watered down if next year on Christmas eve, we have witnessed another year of dumpster diving

  • BobbyK

    Shark seems like a good hardworking guy and a good fit with our current team. He is a young veteran that has been thru the struggles of rebuilding. He wants to be around for when the team is able to compete. It would be difficult to part ways when we could lock him up long term. However, he also needs to realize he hasn’t put up #1 type numbers so he cant expect to be paid like one. He is a very solid #2 pitcher. The Cubs also need to realize pitchers get more and more expensive every year. Locking him up now could save big bucks down the road. I think reasonable extension is best option even if we overpay slightly. A trade would have to bring in a very nice haul.

    I think Shark questioning when the cubs plan to complete is very valid. Who wants to sign a long term extension in their prime with a team that has a bleak outlook? The Cubs will need to be competitive in order to grab future FA’s. For example: Kershaw will not be interested in a rebuilding team next year. A guy like that will want to join a highly competitive team. Tanaka might be in the same category. If he has a choice once posted I would assume that $ is not his only motivation.

  • waffle

    yes yes yes, we all want the cubs to be competitive, right?

    – there may be some fiscal constraints, but they did sign ejax, so maybe not?
    – Our minor leagues were not producing big league level talent. That has obviously been a focus but takes time
    – The ballpark is a mess.
    – The finances need to be optimized. This cow should make more milk
    – The FA market this year was pretty meh. Other than Ellesbury, Tanaka and Choo nobody really got me all lathered up
    – NOT TRADING any significant minor league talent for short term FA boosts.

    – Jeff, despite all his desires to play on a competitive team needs to demonstrate that he is a top of the rotation guy, which to this point he sure does not appear to be. POTENTIAL, sure

    The major failing of the FO it seems is that they have not provided us with a competitive team NOW. But no matter how you played with the pieces available, I just don’t think that was a feasible goal.

    The FO has stated again and again the goal is long term, sustained success. To me that means improved finances and improved minor league system. Both of those are in progress but not completed.

    I have had it up to here with reactionary FO’s. I want one with a plan. Like this one!

    I am still confident that this methodology is solid. It cannot guarantee titles, but in my opinion, gives us the best chance.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    On Sunday I watched the Rams game with a former Cub teammate of Samardzija, and they are still good friends. He told me that the Cubs have not offered anywhere near the 5 years and 60 million that has been rumored in the papers and blogs.Feels like it was a bit of a low ball offer, but the relationship with the Cubs and Jeff is still good though, both understand it is just business. He likes Chicago and wants to stay with the Cubs, but confident in his ability and will play out the free agency if he doesn’t get the contract he thinks he is worth. Has no problem with trade talk, glad other teams would want him. He has saved his money, will get 4-5 mil this year, so not feeling like he needs to take a low offer.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    There is a theory that this FO will want to win with ” their ” players. Guys they acquired thru the draft , via free agency, or via trades they make. They do not want to have any major pieces left over from the previous regime when they finally are winning consistently.
    Castro and Samardzija are the only two really left. Barney is liked by this FO and may remain as a bench piece when the building is done.
    They are convinced the public will even view players like Baez and Alcantara as theirs, despite the fact the previous FO drafted and signed them. They will take the credit for having developed them in their system.

    • DarthHater

      Right. That would explain why they signed Castro to a long-term contract. smh

    • hansman

      I wouldn’t say theory. More like a hypothesis or a wild rambling that has no basis in reality.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      If their egos are that big then we are screwed. Technically Baez was drafted by the old regime. I don’t see anyone pushing him out the door. I think that the theory doesn’t hold water. The FO aren’t idiots.

  • Senor Cub

    I love the fact that he cares more about winning then anything else. He’s gonna get paid no matter what. I hope he stays but if it truly is all about winning, then he will not sign an extension. In 2014 trade deadline he can go somewhere with hopes of making the playoffs and we can all watch him from a distance. Cubs will win just not 2014, 2015, or 2016.

  • Eric

    If you love Shark you are gonna want to hope Theo can convince Tanaka to come here. Because if he joins, the “rebuild” speeds up, Shark becomes more interested in staying, and we have a wave of hitters joining the team soon to add to the dominant staff.

  • BobbyK

    The idea that the FO would sacrifice players like Shark and Castro to win with “their guys” is just dumb. Trading them because it makes real sense for the future is understandable but cutting ties simply because they were acquired by the previous regime is ridiculous.

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