If the reports are correct, Jeff Samardzija’s days with the Cubs could be dwindling down.
According to multiple reports, Jeff Samardzija rejected the Cubs latest attempt to sign him to a long term extension. According to a report from Jon Paul Morosi, Samardzija rejected a five year deal believed to be worth slightly more than $85 million. Jon Heyman believed the extension was in the $75-80 million range.
Ken Rosenthal indicated Samardzija was looking for an extension bigger than the six-year, $105 million contract Homer Bailey signed with the Reds. And if that is the case, the Cubs knew the $85-plus million offer would be short of Samardzija’s expectations.
A lot can change in two days.
Even with the Cubs reaching out to Samardzija again, according to the Sun-Times, the front office made it clear to teams that Samardzija is available in the right deal.
Jeff Samardzija was asked about the Cubs re-opening negotiations and he said that was news to him and he’s become numb to the situation. Samardzija told his agent he did not want to discuss an extension after Spring Training because he did not want the distraction.
The Cubs and Jeff Samardzija have not been able to find a middle ground in the negotiations that would allow him to stay with the team.
Cubs Due Diligence
Theo Epstein said Tuesday on 670 The Score that the team has not reopened talks with Jeff Samardzija over a contract extension because they were never closed. Epstein was adamant in the fact the Cubs and Samardzija have a good relationship and the lines of communication have been left open.
The Sun-Times report Monday that indicated the Cubs reached out to Samardzija to try to work out an extension was reduced Tuesday to the front office doing its due diligence the same way the Cubs did with Matt Garza last summer before ultimately trading him.
Gordon Wittenmyer called the Cubs last attempt as “a final run at a contract extension” in Tuesday night’s report and teams have been told the Cubs believe Samardzija will not accept their last offer. Patrick Mooney labeled the Cubs final attempt with Samardzija as “testing the waters” to make sure they’ve done what they could before trading him.
Bruce Levine addressed the Samardzija reports and rumors during a segment Wednesday morning on Mully and Hanley (670 The Score). Levine said nothing has really changed on the Samardzija front. Levine spoke with a source that knows Samardzija wants to stay with the Cubs, but he does not want to deal with the distraction of a contract extension right now. Samardzija is focused on pitching. Levine added that the Cubs policy of not including no-trade clauses remains an issue. Samardzija would not want the possibility of a trade hanging over his head if he signed an extension.
Teams in the Mix for Samardzija
As was reported Sunday, it might be easier to list the teams that have not been connected to Jeff Samardzija by the mainstream media than the ones that have. With the draft firmly in the rearview mirror, front offices of contending teams are focused on improving their big league rosters.
All but eight teams have been connected to Jeff Samardzija in recent days
- AL East: Blue Jays, Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox
- AL Central: Royals, White Sox, Twins, Indians
- AL West: Angels, Mariners, Rangers, Athletics
- NL East: Braves, Nationals, Marlins
- NL Central: Pirates, Reds
- NL West: Giants, Dodgers, Rockies, Diamondbacks
Multiple scouts from several teams were on hand Tuesday night in Miami to watch Jeff Samardzija pitch. The Blue Jays had two scouts at Tuesday’s start after sending two scouts to watch him in Pittsburgh in his previous outing. Ken Rosenthal and Gordon Wittenmyer reported multiple scouts from Toronto being on hand Tuesday. The Blue Jays had one of their top scouts, Russ Boye, in Miami on Monday to see Jason Hammel and Tuesday to watch Samardzija.
According to reports from the Sun-Times, Comcast SportsNet, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi, scouts from the Angels, Giants and Royals had at least two high-level scouts at Samardzija’s start Tuesday night in Miami.
The Tigers have been watching the Cubs for the last week according to the Sun-Times and both the Mariners and Braves (Cubs have been connected to Lucas Sims) have interest in Samardzija according to Patrick Mooney. Jason Hammel is also thought to be high on the Mariners’ list.
Ken Rosenthal reported the Indians and Reds had scouts at Tuesday’s game. The Reds play the Cubs at Wrigley next week, so that would explain the reason for the Reds to be scouting the Cubs … unless of course, Cincinnati is willing to give up one of their highly-touted young arms for a season and a half of Samardzija.
The Giants are very interested in Samardzija, contrary to earlier reports from Rosenthal. San Francisco had two scouts, including Pat Burrell, watching Samardzija Tuesday but the Giants system is rather thin in the pitching department unless Kyle Crick was to be included.
According to Ken Rosenthal, acquiring Samardzija would make a lot of sense for the Angels. The Halos need pitching and tried to sign Matt Garza in the off-season, but he was on vacation and not talking baseball at the time. Like the Giants, the Angels probably would not have enough to give the Cubs in a deal for Jeff Samardzija.
Multiple reports are now stating the Yankees and Red Sox are “not considered serious players” for Samardzija, neither team had scouts in attendance Tuesday night.
The Orioles are thought to be interested in both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. The Cubs know the Orioles system extremely well and have been out scouting it again this season. The Cubs are thought to be interested in the top four pitching prospects in the Orioles system (Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Eduardo Rodriguez and Hunter Harvey), a price likely too steep for Dan Duquette.
The Cubs are believed to be looking for a package of players in return for Jeff Samardzija that includes two top pitching prospects and two other prospects.
Alex Anthopoulos talked with the Blue Jays beat writers Tuesday and he admitted to having preliminary trade talks. The Sun-Times indicated the Jays and Cubs had preliminary conversations about Jeff Samardzija. The Jays GM told Shi Davidi that “everyone is calling everyone.”
“The stage that everyone is at is, where do we have fits, what teams do we line up with and then the next step is, teams are out seeing our affiliates, or are going to see our affiliates. … I think it will be at least a few weeks for teams that we think we line up with, to evaluate what we have, and then maybe trade talks get more serious obviously when you get to the first week of July, or right before the break.”
Anthopoulos was scheduled to leave Wednesday for a tour of the minor league affiliates in the system in order to make final decisions on which players he would be willing to use in trades. Davidi believes Anthopoulos is laying the groundwork for trades.
The Blue Jays have been trying to land Samardzija for quite some time. But the acquisition cost is too much for Anthopoulos. The Cubs and Blue Jays have talked about numerous pitchers in a deal for Samardzija that is believed to include Drew Hutchinson, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris, Roberto Ozuna and Sean Nolin.
The Cubs have been scouting the lower levels of the Jays system. Tim Wilken was recently at one of Daniel Norris’ starts, a name Patrick Mooney said to remember in one of his Tuesday reports.
Ken Rosenthal and Gordon Wittenmyer reported multiple scouts from Toronto being on hand Tuesday. And the Blue Jays had one of their top scouts, Russ Boye, in Miami on Monday to see Jason Hammel and Tuesday to watch Samardzija.
Package of Prospects
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will not give Jeff Samardzija or Jason Hammel away. The front office is believed to be looking for four prospects in return for Samardzija, with two of the four being top pitching prospects. The Cubs could also be looking for a young catcher in a deal for either Samardzija or Hammel.
Many feel the Cubs will try to trade Jason Hammel first, like Scott Feldman last year, in order to drive the price up on Jeff Samardzija and try to get as much in return as possible right after the All-Star break. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer moved Feldman in the first week of July and could be looking at a similar timeframe.