After a rather busy weekend, the Jeff Samardzija rumors quieted down on Monday. Jed Hoyer reiterated the team’s desire to sign Samardzija to a contract extension, and he explained the team is staying in contact with Samardzija and his agents.
At least six teams (Nationals, Orioles, Pirates, Rockies, Diamondbacks and Blue Jays) have contacted the Cubs about Samardzija with the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks appearing to be the most interested. Toronto and Arizona tried to trade for Samardzija last July and were unsuccessful.
If the Cubs cannot work out an extension with Samardzija by the Winter Meetings, they are expected to shop him at the annual gathering. The Cubs have no intention of giving him away and it will likely cost a team three-four top young players to acquire Samardzija, according to Bruce Levine.
Jeff Samardzija is under team control for two more seasons and would give the acquiring team a cost-effective top of the rotation starter. Samardzija figures to be paid $5-$6 million in his second year of arbitration eligibility, which should fit easily into a contending team’s payroll. But if the Cubs decide to move him, will the front office find a team willing to pay the price to acquire Samardzija?
Masahiro Tanaka and the Posting System
According to a report from Jon Heyman, “top Japanese officials are scheduled to fly to New York this week to try to finalize a new posting system.” Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball were expected to have the new posting system in place by Nov. 1, but the deal was pulled off the table after a lengthy delay. And Heyman reported “there is no guarantee a deal will be struck” between the two leagues.
Citing a report in the Japan Times as his source, Heyman added that representatives from the 12 NPB teams met last Monday about the situation and Japanese officials are leaning toward a deal similar to the previous posting agreement in which interested teams placed blind bids and the highest bid was awarded exclusive rights to negotiate a contract with the player. The previous window was 30 days after the team was informed they placed the winning bid.
Ben Badler posted an update on the negotiations between MLB and NPB on Baseball America. Badler reported “speculation from Japan is that an agreement could be reached by the end of the month.” Badler explained the new posting system was accepted and expected to be approved by both leagues before MLB took the proposal off the table during the GM Meetings in Orlando. MLB cited a delay in response from the NPB as the reason.
The new system would have allowed the team with the highest bid to “pay the average of the top two bids to the Japanese club as the posting fee.” And the new agreement would “likely allow MLB to count a greater percentage of what a team pays to acquire a Japanese player against the luxury tax, since only the posting fee itself is not subject to the tax.”
Once the two leagues hammer out the details, the Rakuten Eagles are expected to post Masahiro Tanaka.
The Yankees are considered a lock to outbid the other interested teams for the right to negotiate a deal with Masahiro Tanaka. The Cubs are on record saying they will be involved in the process, once he is posted, and the Dodgers, Angels and Giants are also expected to place a bid.
News, Notes and Rumors
The Cubs have been connected to free agent outfielder Nate McLouth this winter. And while the Cubs might be interested in signing McLouth as a stopgap for next season, the Yankees are also interested in McLouth according to Ken Rosenthal. The Yankees remain in contact with McLouth and view him as an inexpensive option for their outfield if they do not have enough money this off-season for Carlos Beltran or Shin-Soo Choo.
And speaking of the Yankees … they are eyeing every free agent on the market, or just about, according to Jon Heyman.
The Marlins are showing interest in Phil Hughes and Dioner Navarro. The Cubs are one of the teams thought to be interested in Hughes while they have showed little public interest in re-signing Navarro. Peter Gammons reported Monday afternoon that Navarro was close to signing with a team … but Gammons did not specify which one while ruling out the Red Sox. Nick Cafardo posted what one talent evaluator recently had to say about Navarro. “He’s great on a one-year or shorter-term deal. Problems are his weight, his work ethic, and flexibility behind the plate, so it gets a little scary on a multiyear deal. He can flat-out hit, so if you have the catch/throw guy, he’s not a bad complement to that.”
Kris Bryant talked about the year in which he played in five leagues and wore five different uniforms with Ron Kantowski of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
A report on Chicago Side Sports explained why the Cubs should sign Jarrod Saltalamacchia.