(CBS) In an interview with the McNeil and Spiegel Show on Friday, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer gave no indication of whether Jeff Samardzija will be in the team’s long-term plans but spoke volumes about Chicago’s ace and said his “best days are ahead of him.”
“He does rise to the occasion, I don’t think there’s any doubt,” Hoyer said.
“His personal positives are many. Some of those are the fact that he wants the ball in big games. He does compete and really wants to win. He’s not going to be scared off in a big moment … We all feel as though his best days are ahead of him, and he hasn’t reached that consistency that he can get to. I think when you look at his ERA for the year (of 2013), I don’t think that’s representative of his talent level. I think he will in time get better at being consistent over 32 starts because when you look at last year, he had some great starts, especially early, then he had some games that killed him (later) and put that ERA where it was.
“I think his competitiveness is a big part of that.”
Samarzija had a 4.34 ERA in 2013.
As for Samardzija’s future, Hoyer added, “If things worked out right … we’d love to have him as part of what we’re doing.”
Hoyer also spoke of the importance of new third baseman Mike Olt and addressed the idea of whether he can be an everyday player.
“We’re kind of in wait-and-see mode,” Hoyer said. “I think he’s got more hurdles to cross, and I think he’s going to have the same adjustment struggles that any young player will. But it would mean a lot — all of our reports on him … were that he has very good hands at third and he’s got great power — I think if he can do that, we’re in very good position. He’s a good player.”