Samardzija Wants to Win with the Cubs and Other News and Notes

Jeff Samardzija spoke with Patrick Mooney prior to the holidays about his status and his desire to stay with the Cubs. Samardzija did not pull any punches and indicated then he is hopeful something could be worked out with the Cubs to keep him in Chicago. Samardzija pointed out his talks with the Cubs are “not as dire as what it’s all being made out to be” and he understands why the front office is listening to offers. Samardzija feels “there is still that common ground of what we both want to do.”

Samardzija also discussed the importance of winning ballgames and the fact the team needs “to win and win soon.” Samardzija received approval from the fan base when he pointed out he thinks the fans are ready for the Cubs to win and he knows the players are “ready for it.” And the “quote-unquote rebuilding word gets old.”

Patrick Mooney released more information on Monday from his time with Jeff Samardzija.

Jeff Samardzija told Mooney that “the odds are very slim” he would sign a long-term extension with a team that he was traded to. Samardzija would prefer to stay with the Cubs but he needs to know the front office’s timeline. Samardzija wants to pitch in meaningful games in August and September. Samardzija explained to Mooney that he remembers what Wrigley was like in 2008 when the team was in first place and he wants to be part of that again. Samardzija added, “Playing spoiler gets old after awhile.”

The Cubs would like to sign Samardzija to a long-term contract. Mooney reported “people who have spoken with Theo Epstein say the president of baseball operations sounds conflicted, that he doesn’t necessarily want to trade Samardzija and hopes they can work out a new deal, but there’s also no doubt Epstein wouldn’t hesitate if the Cubs get an offer they can’t refuse.”

Jeff Samardzija’s goal is to play in October at Wrigley Field … and he is hoping that happens “sooner rather than later.”

Frandy De La Rosa, Jose Zapata and Jefferson Mejia

Three Cubs’ prospects, Frandy De La Rosa, Jose Zapata and Jefferson Mejia were involved in a car accident in the Dominican Republic on Monday. Based on the photo (click here) all three are fortunate to be alive. De La Rosa was driving a Toyota SUV that caught fire, according to reports, after the wreck. All three players were hospitalized but reportedly not seriously injured.

The CCO will post updates to this story when more details are released.

Javier Baez

The Cubs’ top prospect is coming off a monstrous season and is preparing for the start of Spring Training. Javier Baez will be among a list of prospects that will receive a non-roster invite to Major League camp.

There will be a lot of attention on Javier Baez during camp with daily updates on which position he is playing. Baez will reportedly see time at second base and third base with the Cubs in the spring before he goes down to minor league camp to prepare for the start of his season as the I-Cubs’ shortstop.

Iowa’s Opening Day infield will reportedly include Javier Baez at shortstop, Arismendy Alcantara at second and Christian Villanueva at third base.

Expectations will greet Javier Baez when he reports to Mesa and apparently he is ready for the pressure. Baez tweeted on Monday, “I can’t wait to play in front of a lot of fans.”

News, Notes and Rumors

The Orioles are exploring ways to add pitching to their roster, both relievers and starters, and have reportedly talked to the Cubs about Jeff Samardzija. According to Eduardo Encina, the Orioles are focused on free agent starters Bronson Arroyo and A.J. Burnett right now and not the top free agent starters on the market … Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana. Dan Duquette is not looking to deal any of his young pitching for a starter or surrender his first round pick to add a pitcher. Encina reported “the trade market seems to have slowed, as it typically does in the New Year once teams have a better idea of what other teams are willing to deal.”

And speaking of Matt Garza, Darren Wolfson reported there was nothing new to report on the Twins interest in Garza on Monday. Wolfson added Garza knows where the Twins are willing to go with a contract but he is looking for a long-term deal. The Twins would like to sign Garza to a short-term contract.

The Cardinals are going global according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals no longer have the top farm system in the game after promoting a lot of their talent to the majors last year. Another one of the Cubs’ division rivals, the Pirates will be ranked at the top spot when Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook comes out later this month. The Redbirds scouted Masahiro Tanaka but will spend their money elsewhere this winter according to the report. Goold explained the Cardinals have expanded their search for talent and Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak “wants the team more engaged and at full stride with the free-agent market for players from Asia’s leagues and Cuba.”

Tim Brown posted a report on the ten compelling baseball figures to watch.

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  • WidespreadHisPanic

    Interesting link to St. Louis’ plan. Thank you for posting.

  • cubtex

    Can’t blame Samardzija one bit. Who wants to be on a team that loses all the time? Shark wants to know the timeline? When he will pitch meaningful games in August and September. Tell him to call me….. 2016.

    • Tony_Hall

      I don’t believe anyone has blamed Samardzija.

      He is doing what is best for him and is willing to play it out. He is also letting it be known he wants to be pitching for the Cubs the next time they are in the playoffs and wants to be on the mound for a World Series game as a Cub. He might be one that will get traded and still comes back home when he is a free agent.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      three year rebuilding plan went into a five year rebuilding plan……come back in 2018

  • K_Gripp

    Javy Baez has superstar written all over him. I love his confidence and his desire. I’m sure our pragmatic FO would still send him to AAA to start but I hope he kills it this spring and forces the FO to consider him at 2nd base to start the season.

    • mutantbeast

      Baez gets comped often to Gary Sheffield. Personally, I hope for better. Sheffield was a good, not great, player most of his career and carried headcase baggage with him. Baez can be better.

      • Tony_Hall

        9217 AB’s over 22 seasons
        292/393/514/907

        509 HR’s
        467 2B’s
        253 SB’s
        1676 RBI’s
        1636 Runs

        I think you may be setting the bar a little high for Baez if you think this was good, not great.

        I believe that 75% of the HOF voters will say he was great.

        • cubtex

          He had some of the quickest hands in the game. He had the “cream” admittance and voters might not vote for him because of all that.

          • Tony_Hall

            His PR people have been on this for a long time, stating his case and what happened.

            http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090513&content_id=4708010&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

            “There’s no connection — period,” said Sheffield, who told Sports Illustrated in 2004 that he used a BALCO cream in ’01 without realizing it was a steroid.

            “I took a cream from [Bonds' former trainer] Greg Anderson, from lifting weights, doing squats. I just came off of [knee] surgery, never used it again. Only one time you use something is going to be the reason why I hit 500 home runs? [That] is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. So, I’ll let it be known once again — it’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”

          • John_CC

            He is definitely a suspect.

      • John_CC

        Yeah I’ve got to agree with Tony here. Sheffield was a monster and is HOF bound eventually. A .907 OPS across 22 seasons is awesome!

        The comp to Baez that is always brought up is in regards to bat speed, not his overall game, or attitude.

    • K_Gripp

      In my delusional Cubs fan brain I’m trying to think of ways that the Cubs can have a season worth watching. If the Cubs sign Tanaka, and Olt becomes the player everyone though he could be, and Baez makes the team out of spring training, and Starling Castoro gets back on track, and all of the bullpen reclamation projects pan out maybe just maybe we could get that wild card.

      Being a Cubs fan is a sick disease. :)

      • John_CC

        I’d say take a couple asprin and call back in the morning, but I think you are much sicker than that! :)

        What I really want to see is Baez force himself into 3B. I don’t think Olt is going to be special, he could be solid and tradable, but he isn’t going to be the answer. Villanueva looks like a very good defensive 3Bman, a little pop and decent AVG/OBP – basically what Olt could be. In my sick fantasy, the Cubs infield is: Baez, Castro, Alcantara, Rizzo. Bryant will be in RF.

        btw, did you mean to type Starling Castoro? It’s got a really nice Latino ring to it … Castoro … I like it!

        • K_Gripp

          Meant Castro although it does have a nice ring to it. I’d love to see Baez, Castro, Alcantara, and Rizzo around the infield but Bryan, Castro, Baez, Rizzo would be fine too. Vabuena, Castro, Barney, Rizzo isnt cutting the mustard.

          • John_CC

            More like cutting the cheese.

            I suspect, I hope, some these position possibilities will shake out this year.

            There are so many interconnected variables – the success/failure of Olt. Villanueva, Alcantara, Bryant, Baez, Vitters even – there are so many options for these guys to move positions depending on who makes the next step.

            That said, if Alcantara continues to improve and looks like an ML 2Bman, I have a hard time seeing Baez there. He just profiles better at 3B. I don’t know and don’t really care one way or the other, I’m just excited to see how it plays out this year.

          • 07GreyDigger

            I can see Baez ending up in LF.

          • John_CC

            But then where does Bryant play?

          • 07GreyDigger

            RF. At least that’s the idea I guess.

          • John_CC

            Then what about Soler??

          • Tony_Hall

            Farther away. By that time, 3B will be figured out and Baez may be playing 3B or have taken over SS or 2B. The good part is most of these players are able to play more than 1 position.

          • John_CC

            I’m just kidding with this whole string Tony. As if every one of these kids is going to make it and be so good that they push other aside.

          • Tony_Hall

            They ALL will make it and be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the same time, retiring after 10 straight World Series victories!

          • Bredstik

            Boardrider, did you hack Tony’s account?!?! :-)

          • Tony_Hall

            LOL, that does sound like one of Boardriders posts.

    • 07GreyDigger

      I’m not sure its pragmatism. It’s about the $$$. Don’t want to start that service clock too early.

      • K_Gripp

        Making personnel decisions based off of a plan would be pragmatic. Pulling up a 20 year old because he hits 10 homeruns in spring training would be emotional.

        • 07GreyDigger

          You’re probably right. I wasn’t 100% positive what pragmatic meant.

      • paulcatanese

        Yes, it is about the dollars with Theo, and starting the clock too early. Holding off on all of these guys and hoping they set the world on fire when finally bringing them up is a huge risk for Theo. What happens when low cost for players and the continued losing for the last two and probably next two years waiting for the kids to develop and the clock to be right and hoping that it all comes together at the same time, a lot of ifs.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Samardzija wants to test the F/A market no matter what…..who is he fooling with that talk of his.

    • Tony_Hall

      I am not the one giving you down arrows. I up arrowed this just so you can see.

      • Tony_Hall

        Well at least I know you read it.

  • Rational Logic

    I hope they don’t trade Shark. If they do, the Cubs will be either forced to overpay for an aging pitcher, most likely an expensive and long term deal or bet that the prospects received in the deal pan out equal to or better than him. In terms of the latter, I think that’s quite rare: a 200IP, 200K starting pitcher is very rare when compared to the number of prospects. I don’t know the odds, but I’d be willing to say it’s ~1/100 if not much worse. Not worth it in my opinion, even if the prospect is “a sure thing.” Heard that before…