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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Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt