According to a report from Bruce Levine, “Jeff Samardzija is back on the front-burner for the Cubs” after David Price signed with the Red Sox. Levine expects the Cubs to sign a pitcher prior to the Winter Meetings, which unofficially begin Sunday. And Levine reported that Samardzija “appears to be a top consideration” for the Cubs.
Samardzija is garnering a lot of attention. The Diamondbacks, Tigers, Giants and Cardinals are among the teams believed to be interested in him. Levine explained that Samardzija “won’t be afraid to move on if the Cubs don’t ante up.” After the meeting between Samardzija and Theo Epstein “both sides have an understanding of their mutual interest in each other.”
Buster Olney reported Tuesday after the news about David Price hit the wire that Samardzija “just became one of the most valuable commodities on the market.” Samardzija is healthy with “far fewer innings than his free agent peers.”
Based on multiple reports, the Cubs could be closing in on a reunion with Samardzija.
Before Price agreed to terms with the Red Sox, Pete Abraham reported the Cubs “appear focused on bringing back Jeff Samardzija.” Buster Olney mentioned the Cubs “already had begun positioning themselves for Samardzija long before Price made his final decision.”
With the contracts signed by David Price (seven years, $217 million), Jordan Zimmermann (five years, $110 million) and J.A. Happ (three years, $36 million), it is likely Samardzija will end up with a contract closer to the five-year, $85 million ($17 million AAV) extension he rejected from the Cubs than the four-year, $62 million ($15.5 million AAV) deal Jim Bowden predicted.
The Cubs reportedly believe Samardzija will be able to provide similar results working with Chris Bosio that he did prior to the trade that sent him to Oakland.
During his two-plus seasons (2012-14) with Chris Bosio as his pitching coach, Samardzija started 78 games and posted a 19-33 record with a 3.83 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 3.55 FIP. Samardzija allowed 232 runs, 211 earned, on 466 hits with 165 walks and 497 strikeouts. Samardzija gave up 52 home runs in 496 1/3 innings.
For his career, Samardzija is 15-17 in 104 appearances, 40 starts, at Wrigley Field with a 3.84 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. Samardzija has allowed 159 runs, 141 earned, on 306 hits, 36 home runs, 138 walks and 334 strikeouts in 330 1/3 innings.
Jeff Samardzija turns 31 in January and has completed 200 or more innings in each of the last three years.
Update 1:07pm CST – According to Jayson Stark, teams talking to Jeff Samardzija said he has a $100 million offer on the table.