One of the hot rumors throughout this offseason has come out of Chicago’s North Side, as the Chicago Cubs were apparently shopping around de facto ace Jeff Samardzija. While they never stated the intention of dealing Samardzija, he was clearly available, and the Cubs had conversations about him with at least a couple of different teams. At one point a trade looked imminent. Now, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
According to John Arguello over at Cubs Den, rather than trade Shark, the Cubs are now expected to hang onto him, at least for the time being. Arguello makes the argument that if Samardzija were a free agent this winter, he’d be the type of arm the Cubs would actually pursue, making it more logical for the club to hang onto him. There’s plenty of logic in it both ways, but the fact that the Cubs would trade Samardzija would be puzzling in a couple of different ways.
For one, it would almost certainly stall the progress they’ve made to date in building up their franchise. Yes, they’d acquire some more minor league depth, potentially of the pitching variety (which they still lack overall compared to position players), but they’d also take a step back from a competitive standpoint. That would take their timeline to be competitive to 2015 or potentially even later. Not to mention, it wouldn’t be the best message to send the fanbase.
While the club has been unable to work with Samardzija on an extension, Arguello points out the fact that money isn’t necessarily the issue here. Samardzija has reportedly voiced his concern over the team being competitive in the near future, and that’s why he’s reluctant to sign, rather than the terms of a potential extension. You could certainly understand that from his point of view. If the Cubs are able to show progress in this time that Shark is still under team control, perhaps a deal does get done eventually.
It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out for Jeff Samardzija and the Chicago Cubs. If the two sides are unable to come together and the Cubs struggle in the first half of the year, perhaps a trade takes place then. At least it would make more sense at that point. If not, Samardzija is still young and without a great deal of mileage on his arm. Perhaps he’s the piece to build around as the Cubs have been referring to him as in the last couple of years.