While the Chicago Cubs may be seriously interested in Jeff Samardzija, it’s virtually impossible to see them going to nine figures:
Forget the theory that Jeff Samardzija will be the bargain of the offseason. Teams talking with him say he's claiming to have $100M on table
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 2, 2015
Given Samardzija’s ability and projectability, I’m really not shocked if that’s true. Disappointed, but not shocked.
The thing is, though, that if you pay Samardzija $100 million, you’re paying for the upside already, with no accounting for the downside risk. In other words, Samardzija at, say, five years and $100 million is basically the max of what you’re hoping he’s worth. Teams tend not to pay that price, because there’s always some amount of risk – maybe even considerable risk – that a guy won’t even be close to maxing himself out over the life of a five-year deal.
Then again, there’s more money in the game than ever, and maybe we’ve got to stop thinking about arbitrary bench marks – like “$100 million pitcher” – in the way we’ve thought about them in the last five years. Perhaps, in the new economy, Jeff Samardzija simply worth this amount. The market pays what the market pays.
And maybe the offer out there – if it exists – is something closer to six years and $100 million. That’s under $17 million in AAV, which isn’t completely bonkers for Samardzija, even accounting for his 2015 season.
Projections had Samardzija getting a deal in the $70 to $80 million range, but, prior to that 2015 season, most thought he was going to be in line for a $100 million+ payday. So, perhaps, then, projections were putting too much stock into that down 2015 season. Maybe teams are willing to explain it away entirely.