jeff samardzija gatorade showerIt’s status quo as far as the Jeff Samardzija story goes: he wants to stay long-term, the Cubs want him to stay long-term. But he probably wants to be paid more handsomely than the Cubs are prepared to pay right now (primarily given the two years of cheap control remaining), and he definitely wants the Cubs to show that they’re going to actually be competitive in the near-term if he’s going to hitch his wagon.

That latter thought came courtesy of a fantastic interview by Patrick Mooney just before Christmas, and he recently revealed a little more of what Samardzija had to say. Once again, it’s very much worth a read.

The bit that’s getting the most play is a comment from Samardzija, essentially saying that the odds that he would sign a long-term extension with a team that trades for him are very slim. Possible, and he’d have to cross that bridge when he came to it … but very slim.

You could read this as damaging to any future effort by the Cubs to trade Samardzija, but I can think of at least three reasons that isn’t so:

  1. Samardzija, by virtue of being under control for two cheap years in his prime, still provides plenty of value to a trading team, even absent an extension (I once again point to what the Cubs were able to get for two months of Matt Garza, without even a hint of a promise at an extension);
  2. Teams trading for Samardzija already knew that there was a hiccup with the Cubs trying to extend him (if a trade happens, that is), so why would it be easier for a team to which Samardzija has no personal ties whatsoever?; and
  3. Would you expect a guy in Samardzija’s position to say anything different? He has publicly said that he wants to stay with the Cubs, if that’s possible. Otherwise – or if the numbers don’t work out – he knows he can hit free agency, and could end up doing very well. Why would he say, “But if I’m trading to a team I may not have wanted to go to in the first place, I’ll definitely sign an extension!”

Until the Masahiro Tanaka situation is finalized, and the rest of the free agent market sorts itself out, we aren’t going to get much more clarity on how the Cubs will proceed with respect to Samardzija.

  • CubFan Paul

    “we aren’t going to get much more clarity on how the Cubs will proceed with respect to Samardzija”

    100% traded if he’s balking at 5/$55MM.

    • Chad

      Why? Maybe he wants an NTC, maybe he says you know what you signed Tanaka, I’ll go 5/55.

      • CubFan Paul


        Because the 5/$55MM offer is almost an overpay and very generous. And if he’s not going to sign it, he’s 100% traded.

        • Noah_I

          I’m not sure 5/$55 million is an overpay. That depends very much on if you look at B-R’s or FG’s version of WAR. B-R would say it’s an overpay. FanGraphs would say it’s a relative bargain.

          With that said, I think 5/$55 million would actually be fair at this juncture. It’s the Cubs saying that they are betting on Samardzija becoming that legitimate 2 he has the talent to become, but they’d be paying him like a 3 because Samardzija has to accept the risk that he may not ever be any better than he was last season (e.g., very inconsistent).

          • Chad

            5/55 is far from an overpay in this market. He’d get much more than that right now on the FA market, which is basically what you are doing by giving him an extension. I think 5/55 is fair, but he knows he could get more if he goes to FA. I agree that if he doesn’t sign an extension he will get traded, eventually, but I have no doubt in my mind that it will not be this off-season. July at the earliest. We won’t get much clarity on if he will sign an extension or not until more things play out.

            • CubFan Paul

              ” 5/55 is far from an overpay in this market. He’d get much more than that right now on the FA market”

              If I were talking about that, you’d have a solid point, but Samardzija is under team control for 2 more years.

            • Noah_I

              If Samardzija actually hit the free agent market, I’d say he gets somewhere between the Edwin Jackson deal (4/52) and the Anibal Sanchez deal (5/80). I’d guess 4/60. Samardzija would be with the Santana/Garza/Jimenez group, waiting for Tanaka to play itself out.

              I agree, Samardzija will not be traded this offseason. What you have is a dichotomy in value perception. Samardzija wants to be paid like a 1/2 type of pitcher, but the Cubs want to pay him like a 3. The Cubs want the type of value in a trade you’d get for a 1/2 type of pitcher with Samardzija’s amount of team control left, but other teams want to give up what they’d give for a 3. At some point, Samardzija’s sample size will get big enough that he’ll either develop into a 1/2, or be a 3.

              • CubFan Paul

                “Samardzija will not be traded this offseason”

                Why? There’s several teams with holes in their rotations waiting for the market to play out, why dismiss a trade now (before the dominoes start falling)?

                • Noah_I

                  I don’t think the Cubs are going to move off their current demands on Samardzija at this point. I just don’t see the team that would be willing to give up a truly top notch prospect for Samardzija right now. I’m seeing a return similar to the Garza return, maybe a bit better, where the best player (Edwards) is very talented but has significant concerns.

                  I also don’t see, barring injury, Samardzija’s value decreasing by any meaningful amount before July. But, if he puts together a dominant first half, then teams might decide he is worth what the Cubs are asking. In other words, I just don’t see the Cubs’ demands decreasing at this juncture, and I don’t see the Blue Jays, for example, meeting those demands.

                  • CubFan Paul

                    “willing to give up a truly top notch prospect for Samardzija right now”

                    I’m not talking about right now so nevermind.

    • rcleven

      Is it the 5/55 that he’s balking at or the Cubs ability to be competitive?
      Outside of prospects the Cubs have shown no interest in improving the the MLB roster. If I am reaching my prime I would want 1) to be paid 2) on a team that has a chance to make a run for the ring. The Cubs have done neither.
      Two years is a long time and things can change quickly but there is no reason for Samardzija to commit to the Cubs at this point in time.
      Unless he gets hurt he will get paid where ever he ends up.

      • CubFan Paul

        “Is it the 5/55 that he’s balking at or the Cubs ability to be competitive?”

        It’s always about the money. Sad teams sign players to extensions all the time.

      • Noah_I

        I think people are overrating the competitiveness issue. If these guys, or their agents, are smart at all, they should know that being good now is not a guarantee of being good later. If you saw guys who were focusing on winning a ring with teams best set to compete over the next 5 years, you’d just see a ton of players giving up millions of dollars to sign with the Pirates or Cardinals. They aren’t doing that. Robinson Cano has 1 ring. He greatly decreased his odds of getting another by going to the Mariners instead of staying with the Yankees. Maybe competitiveness is a consideration, but it’s a DISTANT second to compensation. Hell, for a lot of the players who’ve been with one team a long time, I’d say competitiveness is third behind compensation and not moving their family.

        • CubFan Paul

          Solid points.

  • IndyCubsFan

    Will Maddux go in the HOF as a Cub? Or Brave? Remember how Hawk wanted to be a Cub but they wouldn’t let him?

    • Blackhawks1963

      He’s a lock to go in as a Brave. There’s no debate on that point.

      • jadebuddha

        Registered to say this. All of his most dominant years were with the Braves, or at least the majority of them. I remember defacing my Maddux poster as a child when he left, when I really should have been defacing a poster of Dallas Green.

        • brickhouse

          Don’t blame Dallas Green – Blame Larry Himes and the Tribune execs

          • Noah_I

            Yeah, Dallas Green was not the Cubs’ GM when Maddux left. Green was gone after 1987 due largely to disputes with the Tribune.

    • Edwin


      • hansman

        Ya, I have never quite understood Cubs fans latching on to him as a Cubs great. He had some good seasons with the Cubs but his greatness was while he was with the Braves.

        To me, it’s like the Red Sox claiming Ruth or the Angels claiming Pujols as their great player.

        • jadebuddha

          True, but I think they do, because he was a CUB great, especially for that time, and he did spend 10 years with the Cubs, that is only 1 less year than the Braves. I do agree though that his most dominant years were with the Braves.

        • Edwin

          I kind of get it. He came up as a Cub, he had 3 seasons with the Cubs where he put up 5.4, 6, and 6.9 WAR, including winning a Cy Young award with the Cubs. So he was a Cub when he started having great seasons and established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball.

          But then he reached an even higher greatness with the Braves.

          • hansman

            Ya, I see that point and it probably has more to do with the Cubs history.

        • Edwin

          He’s also one of the best pitchers the Cubs have had since 1986. SInce 1986 he’s first in IP with 2016 (Zambrano is 2nd with 1826), first in wins with 133 (Zambrano is 2nd with 125), his ERA- witht he Cubs was 89 (Zambrano had an ERA- of 82).

          So even though his best seasons happened for someone else, he’s still one of the best the Cubs have ever produced/seen.

          But at least when Carlos Zambrano is elected to the HOF, he’ll go in as a Cub, right?

          • hansman

            Ya, I guess for me, a lot of it has to do with the fact that pre-2005-2006, I didn’t follow baseball nearly as closely as I do now (I used to bounce through all of the sports and NASCAR (at least before February 2001)) and pre-1998 I wasn’t a Cubs fan so the only time I knew that Maddux was brought up by the Cubs was when we signed him.

        • woody

          Just goes to show how desperate cub fans are for a heroe.

  • Blackhawks1963

    I’m sick of the Samardzija saga. Frankly, I don’t see him being traded this offseason because its getting late and nobody seems willing to meet TheoJed’s high asking price. So keep him and try to flip him come the July 31st trade deadline ala the excellent mid-season moves of Dempster in 2012 and Garza in 2013.

    I’ll say this too. Prior to 2012 Samardzija was a big disappointing enigma. There were low expectations for him in 2012 and he literally came out of nowhere to produce a rock solid season in the rotation. In 2013 he was a valued starter, but reality is he was also frustratingly inconsistent. The positives on Spellcheck are that he is a low mileage arm and has excellent stuff. Also, his contract for 2014 and 2015 is very favorable. But the negatives are that I don’t think I want to give him monster money. I hope the Cubs move him in July. I really do. If we could get something approaching the Garza haul then I would be ecstatic.

    • CubFan Paul

      “its getting late and nobody seems willing to meet TheoJed’s high asking price”

      Did you read Brett’s last paragraph on this? Samardzija isn’t the only guy available…

  • Internet Random

    “Jeff Samardzija sucks at baseball and the Cubs should trade him for a bat rack.”

    —Myles Phelps, 2014

    (Context? What’s that?)

  • davidc

    For those grasping for hope for the 2014 offense, the Cubs ranked dead last in the majors last year in babip. Even getting to around 20th could make the same offense look noticeably better.

    • Noah_I

      Yeah, you have several players who, even if they do nothing else better, should get a BABIP bump. Rizzo’s 2012 BABIP was .310, in 2013 it was .258. I’m estimating on the final numbers, but the 52 points of BABIP probably equated to about 30 points of batting average. If Rizzo had put up a .263/.353/.449, people are a lot less concerned about him moving forward. Barney’s another candidate for a bounce back there (.310 BABIP in 2011, .273 in 2012, .222 in 2013), to a level where at least he’ll be a decent 8th hitter considering his defense, although my guess is that Barney will at least start the year in a platoon with Valbuena at 2B, and occasionally spelling Castro at SS.

      • CubFan Paul

        “Barney’s another candidate for a bounce back there (.310 BABIP in 2011, .273 in 2012, .222 in 2013)”

        Looks like regression to me, in almost equal clips.

        • Voice of Reason

          But he is a candidate for a bounce back year since his numbers can’t go anywhere but up!

          And, if he doesn’t show improvement then he won’t be with the big league team very long this year.

        • Noah_I

          That depends on if you’re using regression to mean “decline” or “reverting to the mean.” BABIP is too unpredictable to use it as an indicator of decline. Barney’s walk rate was the best of his career in 2013, and his ISO and and K rate were right in line with his prior numbers. If he was declining, considering the type of player Barney is, you’d expect to see it in at least one of those other numbers.

          Odds are, as far as BABIP is concerned, Barney had good luck in 2011, bad luck in 2013, and 2012 is somewhere near where you should expect. Even at that rate, however, he’s a poor MLB hitter, and not an ideal every day player in any way that could be imagined. He’s a survivable second baseman and eighth hitter because his defense is so good. Ideally, though, he’s either part of a platoon or a defensive replacement.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Regression should be used to mean “regress to expectation.” We expect Rizzo’s BABiP to regress back up to expectation next year, for example.

            Similarly, Barney’s BABiP will almost certainly regress upwards, too. The key point to remember is that a player’s BABiP in one year is a lousy predictor of what it will be the next year. In particular, singles rates fluctuate wildly. Things like BB-rates, K-rates & XBH-rates tend to be pretty predictive of future performance, however.

            • CubFan Paul

              “a player’s BABiP in one year is a lousy predictor of what it will be the next year”

              What about a span of 3 years?

              • Norm

                1800 PA?
                Average it out and use that as a baseline.

              • hansman

                We should expect one of two things to happen next year based on the previous 3:

                1. Barney’s singles rate will return to his career average and his doubles and HR rates will remain about what they have been for his career
                2. Barney’s singles rate will continue to plummet while his doubles and HR rates will continue holding where they have for the previous three years.

                (I guess it’s not entirely fair to say his doubles and HR rates have stayed steady as they both have increased through his career)

                He won’t return as a stud at the plate but expecting a return to a .650-.660 OPS is reasonable.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                It’s simply never a very good. The best correlates over many players are with GB:FB ratios: grounders get through for hits more often than do FB. There is a weak correlate with speed, and there is a weak correlate with average velocity of grounders, but in any one year for any one player, stochastically varying factors drown those out.

              • ClevelandCubsFan

                I read the other day on–I think–either BBRef or Fangraphs that it takes about 8 years of BABIP to get a good benchmark. That’s a lot of volatility. In short, you can get a fairly strong idea of a guy being wildly high or wildly low, and you can kinda sorta guess somewhat low or somewhat high. But until a guy is well into his career (or possibly, done), it’s hard to appraise what kind of BABIP guy he was.

                But TYPICAL BABIP ranges from .290-.310. Things like really good speed can skew it up (infield hits and whatnot). Strong line drive hitters can skew it up (less time in the air = more hits). And vice versa,

                • CubFan Paul

                  “But TYPICAL BABIP ranges from .290-.310…good speed can skew it up…Strong line drive hitters can skew it up (less time in the air = more hits)”

                  That’s BABIP 101. Thanks for the refresher. None of that applies to the topic though (Barney).

                  • hansman

                    Barney isn’t a good hitter and his .310 BABIP was, probably, a high water mark for him but .220 is abysmal.

                    Even Koyie Hill was able to get a .279 BABIP. (BTW, it’s really hard to believe he played on the Cubs for 5 freekin years)

                    The thing that drove Barney’s babip down last year was that he had a depressed singles and triples rate. Considering triples are more luck than anything, that’s not too surprising.

                    Now, if you think his singles rate will continue to be depressed because he sucks that bad at hitting, then his doubles and homers will vanish as well. So far, we haven’t gotten any indication that those items will vanish.

            • woody

              I always enjoy your comments Doc, but in this case you are wrong. Regession is a negative term and improvement would be a positive term. A regression indicates a negative value and in no way can be attributed to an improvement which is a positive value.

              • Danny Ballgame


                the act of going back to a previous place or state; return or reversion

                Sounds right to me

                • woody

                  Webster dictionary : regression
                  A trend or shift toward a lower or less perfect state

                  You are thinking of return which could be a return to a better of worse state. Pro-gression would be a positive value. Re-gression as the definition states is a lower or less perfect state.

                  • DarthHater

                    Webster’s gives about 12 definitions for regression. Of course, you pick out the one that supports your opinion and pass over the rest in silence. In particular, the STATISTICAL definition of regression — which is the one that is actually relevant in a discussion about baseball STATISTICS — does not possess the connotation of movement toward a lower or less perfect state.

                    • cub-hub

                      The point is what difference does it make. Everyone knows what he meant, so why get away from the point of the post to argue definition of a word.

                    • DarthHater

                      At this site, the word regression gets used all the time in a statistical sense that does not connote either positive or negative movement. So keeping its meaning straight is a perfectly legitimate consideration.

                    • cub-hub

                      Darth, I was agreeing with you. I’m talking about the guy Woody arguing against the use of regression in either direction.

                    • DarthHater

                      Sorry. I get pissy when i’m still at the office at this hour. 😛

              • ProfessorCub

                No. Regressing to the mean (the context in which the term is often used) can mean numbers going up or down back to the expected value.

                • MichiganGoat

                  Yeah it use to confuse me because “pro” and “re” have specific ideas of going up or down, but here in stats everything is based on the mean (average) and some stats are regress (positively or negatively) to the norm or mean. When someone told be to think about regression as REturning it made more sense.

              • Brett

                Regression has different meanings in different contexts. In stats, it isn’t inherently positive or negative.

  • http://bleachernation 29bigcat

    Winning is what matters no matter how ugly it is….we need winners on this team not players who want huge raises for losing but have good periferal stats.if its shark or his agent either or dont matter id trade him, tor. Is a good fit rasmus an a cpl arm prospects will do, an then see if sharks demands are met after two yrs in the a.l. east….55m is more than anyone needs an for him not to take that …..say gbye now

  • kyjp55

    I do not know why Samardzija thinks he is all that, to me last years #’s he put up would be #’s a 3rd or 4th starting pitcher’s #’s on any staff except the Cubs. Samardzija needs to prove himself before huuuuge $ are being thrown his way. I too am sick of the Samardzija saga, keep him, do not trade him and make him prove himself.