By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) — The hometown kid from Northwest Indiana will no longer pitch for the Chicago Cubs. Jeff Samardzija was part of a six player deal that has now altered his and the teams direction for the near future.
At 29, Samardzija was put in a position of either signing a long-term extension now or being traded one year and three months before he becomes a free agent in November 2015. The Cubs were not going to wait for the pitcher to get any closer to leaving before getting optimum talent in return or signing Samardzija to a favorable contract. The initial offer of 5 years $55 million was tendered in December of 2013. After the Reds Homer Bailey signed a $100 million deal last spring, both sides appeared to reach the same conclusion. A parting of ways was inevitable.
A report last week was floated that the Cubs had offered $85 million.
“I did not hear anything from my agents,” Samardzija said. “They would have come to me with an offer if it was in the area we wanted to be.”
The pitcher had to know at that point the end of his time in Chicago was drawing near.
“I think it is fair to say we were close to a deal because of mutual interest,” president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said after the trade was completed. “The talent and work ethic in the clubhouse, the competition level we saw as a guy starting playoff games for us at Wrigley Field. We had a desire to keep him here. We know he wanted to be here. In the end, we missed timing by a year or two. It is no one’s fault. There are no hard feelings. We wish Jeff well. We are proud of what he accomplished here. We hope he goes and gets a ring.”
I agree with both sides in this situation. Samardzija has a right to get market value and present value for the life of his first and maybe only long term deal. The Cubs needed to get back quality for quality. Obtaining the top young shortstop in the minor leagues was go time for Epstein to complete a trade.
Did the fans get what they want? Only time will give us that answer.