(CBS) After contract talks stalled last offseason, the Cubs and right-hander Jeff Samardzija have re-engaged in discussions on a multi-year extension, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The 29-year-old Samardzija is under club control through 2015, but it’s long been speculated that the Cubs will look to trade him by the July 31 deadline because the sides were about $25 million apart in long-term contract talks, CBSChicago.com’s Bruce Levine reported in April. Essentially, Samardzija wants to be paid like a staff ace and in previous contract talks, he didn’t believe the Cubs were ponying up such money. The Sun-Times also reported there were differences between the parties regarding the team’s “competitive timeline to management style to stability.”
Now, though, it appears team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer are making one last run at keeping Samardzija in Chicago.
Even as the Cubs continue early trade talks with some teams about Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija, they also have quietly reached out to Samardzija with a new offer on a contract that would keep him in Chicago as long as Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, according to multiple sources.
The longer Samardzija has pitched into what is fast becoming his best season, the more he’s looking like the front-line pitcher many expected him to be, and the more outcry that has risen from an already grumbling fan base waiting for this rebuilding process to take traction.
The deal being discussed is “believed to be” for five years and worth more than the $60 million-$65 million that the Cubs last had on the table, the Sun-Times reported, but it’s not known how high the team has gone.
Samardzija is in the midst of his best season, with a 2.77 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 82 strikeouts in 91 innings.