With rumors swirling, the Cubs would like to extend Jeff Samardzija.
Over the past year or so, one player whose name is constantly brought into trade rumors is that of Chicago Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija. It’s easy to understand why he’s considered such a hot commodity. He won’t be able to hit free agency for another two years. He’s coming off a season where he hurled more than 200 innings (213.2 IP). In the last two seasons where he’s been a starter, he owns more strikeouts (394) than innings pitched (388.1). He’s turning 29 in January.
Will the rumors stop? Not sure, and can’t say for certain this will diffuse them either.
"We've had discussions w/Samardzija because we like him + want to keep him. We'll see where things go. We like hearing he wants to be here."
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) November 16, 2013
At first glance, you can’t tell who Kaplan is quoting here. If you head to his timeline, you can guess that he’s quoting Cubs GM Jed Hoyer as Kaplan does so a couple of tweets prior to this one.
I would imagine Theo and Jed would prefer the Samardzija of 2012 rather than the Samardzija of 2013. 2012 saw a solid campaign from Samardzija, but 2013 saw his SO% decline (24.9% to 23.4%) and his walk rate increase (7.8% to 8.5%). There were increases in WHIP and batting average against among other numbers that trend in the wrong direction.
That said, Samardzija proved he can handle the workload, if for only one season. That will be the job of new skipper Rick Renteria and his staff.