Blue Jays Reportedly Still Talking to the Cubs about Jeff Samardzija

According to a report from Bruce Levine, at least 15 scouts were on hand to watch Jeff Samardzija face the Mariners on Thursday afternoon at Cubs Park. Levine reported during the broadcast on Cubs.com with Mick Gillispie that the Blue Jays are pushing hard for Samardzija.

The Blue Jays had three scouts at Thursday’s game to watch Samardzija, including former Cubs’ GM Ed Lynch.

The Cubs are hearing from “a ton of teams” about Jeff Samardzija according to Levine due to the long list of pitching injuries this spring.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would like to sign Jeff Samardzija to a long term contract. Hoyer and Epstein have said on numerous occasions the Cubs need more Jeff Samardzijas, not less. And while Samardzija would like to stay with the organization, a gap remains on how the two sides value the pitcher.

According to Levine’s report, Samardzija and the Cubs “are no closer to a deal on a long-term contract now than they were the last time they had substantive talks in December at the Winter Meetings.” Levine reported that the two sides would not comment on the negotiations when he asked about them on Thursday but the Cubs and Samardzija are believed to be $15-20 million apart in the negotiations. The numbers Levine reported are consistent with the numbers that have surfaced in recent months.

Samardzija’s agent, Mark Rogers, was recently in Arizona according to Levine but he did not speak with the Cubs about his client’s contract.

The Cubs and Jeff Samardzija are preparing for the season. And if a deal is not done soon, Samardzija will likely be traded by July. It is believed that Samardzija does not want to negotiate a contract extension during the season.

The Cubs and Blue Jays have discussed a deal for Jeff Samardzija. Toronto is believed to be very high on Samardzija. But to this point Alex Anthropolous has not wanted to pay the Cubs price to acquire Samardzija. The Cubs are believed to have asked the Blue Jays for a package of players that included RHP Aaron Sanchez and RHP Marcus Stroman, the top two prospects, according to Baseball America, in Toronto’s system.

The Diamondbacks and Braves are believed to be interested in Samardzija again after season-ending injuries to Patrick Corbin, Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy have left the two teams short in their rotations.

Will a team step-up and make the front office a deal for Samardzija they simply cannot turn down?

Theo Epstein reminded Bruce Levine that the Cubs are preparing for the season and Samardzija “is working hard to be our ace and get us off to a good start.”

Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face the Pirates’ Francisco Liriano on Opening Day at PNC Park in 10 days.

News and Notes

Jeff Samardzija was asked about Javier Baez following his start on Thursday. Samardzija said the Cubs don’t need just one Baez, the team needs six or seven more of him.

Jake Arrieta is scheduled to throw a two-inning simulated game on Friday. According to ESPN Chicago, Arrieta is on a schedule to throw every five days. Arrieta should be a little over three weeks behind at this point based on him throwing a two-inning simulated game.

James McDonald was feeling better on Thursday and if all goes well he could play catch on Friday according to a report from Carrie Muskat. The Cubs have not made the announcement, but McDonald should begin the season on the disabled list.

Tsuyoshi Wada faced a Diamondbacks minor league team Thursday and did not allow a run. Wada gave up five hits with a walk and six strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings on 56 pitches.

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