Rumblings have already begun surrounding the Chicago Cubs’ willingness to trade right-hander Jeff Samardzija, but the team continues to hold out hope that they’ll be able to reach an extension agreement that will let them keep their ace starter. The club is making a late push to get a new deal in place, but according to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi their latest extension offer has been rejected.
The offer was reportedly a five year deal worth $85 Million.
News that the two sides were talking again was first was reported on Tuesday by Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times. While details were still unclear, Wittenmyer did learn that the club had made an offer of higher value than the $60-65 Million offer that had been made a few months prior. He did note that the offer would likely keep Samardzija in town as long as Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro were under contract (i.e. through 2019).
Wittenmyer also learned from a source that Samardzija was looking for a deal in the neighborhood of the six year, $105 Million extension that the Cincinnati Reds agreed to with Homer Bailey in Spring Training.
Samardzija has pitched like an ace for much of the season, but doesn’t quite have the track record to justify a big money deal in the eyes of some pundits. He’s made 15 starts this season, with a 2.78 ERA and 1.206 WHIP. Entering the season his career marks were a 4.19 ERA and 1.355 WHIP. He’s never benefited from having strong run support in Chicago, a certain consideration in his willingness to sign an extension.
Chicago will likely continue to discuss all of their options in the coming weeks, but with each rejected proposal the chances of trading Samardzija would appear to increase. He should arguably be among the top arms available at the trading deadline but certainly will not come cheap for an opposing club.