The Cubs are listening to offers for Jeff Samardzija while talking to his camp about a long-term contract extension. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will seriously listen to offers for Samardzija next week during the Winter Meetings and if they do, the amount of teams interested in trading for Samardzija should increase.
Bruce Levine reiterated on Thursday that Samardzija’s camp turned down a five-year, $55 million extension and at least one other offer from the Cubs that is thought to be higher five years and $55 million. Theo Epstein told Levine on Thursday that nothing has changed with the contract negotiations with Samardzija.
The Cubs have maintained they would like to lock Samardzija up long-term. Theo Epstein called Samardzija the Cubs best pitcher and he thinks Samardzija “can be a difference-making starting pitcher for a long time.”
Epstein spelled out the Cubs’ options with Samardzija on Wednesday. Epstein said, “Now, obviously, when you’re in this situation, you have to factor in: How many years of control do you have left? And is there a way to extend that – to make an asset that’s still medium term and turn it into an asset that impacts you for the long-term? The simple, best way to do that is with a contract extension. The second-best way to do that is by trading the player for multiple younger-impact assets.”
Theo Epstein and the Cubs want Samardzija to be a Cub for the long term and Samardzija wants to remain with the Cubs as well.
According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs and Samardzija’s camp continue to have an open, amicable line of communication. But will the two sides work out a deal before the front office hears an offer they simply cannot pass up?
Shi Davidi caught up with Alex Anthopoulos on Wednesday and the Blue Jays’ GM admitted there are three starting pitchers he has targeted and those targets are not free agents. Davidi reported Anthopoulos would be “pushing hard to swing a deal” next week at the Winter Meetings.
Davidi thinks that is reasonable to expect that Jeff Samardzija is one of his targets, “given that the Blue Jays have pursued him in the past.” Anthopoulos indicated there are starting pitchers in play the public is not aware of but the Blue Jays pursuit of a starter will not be done at any cost. Anthopoulos is looking to add at least one starter this winter but would not rule out adding two pitchers to his rotation if the opportunity to do so presented itself.
Jim Duquette mentioned on Thursday he thinks there is a big enough market for Samardzija that he could see him traded at some point this winter. Duquette sees the Kansas City Royals as a fit but did not say if he was told if the Royals are in the mix for Samardzija. The Orioles, Blue Jays and Diamondbacks are the teams Duquette has heard connected to Samardzija.
According to multiple reports and outlets, the asking price on Samardzija is thought to be very high right now. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are believed to be asking for at least three top prospects for Jeff Samardzija.
Stay tuned …