Last week, we discussed the different obstacles surrounding the Chicago Cubs as they attempted to re-sign pitcher Jeff Samardzija. Whether to a short-term deal or a long-term one, the Cubs don’t seem to be willing to fork over the kind of cash that the pitcher will be demanding in either type of deal, and that concern could end up leading to him being traded.
On Saturday, the Cubs addressed some of those questions by avoiding arbitration with Samardzija, settling at about the halfway point between the two figures that the sides submitted to an arbitrator recently. The $5.345 million is slightly more on Samardzija’s side, but only by about $45,000.
There are a couple of questions that immediately come to mind when discussing the deal. The first, of course, is how tradeable the contract is. A one-year deal, complete with one more year of arbitration eligibility, is likely a deal that the Cubs can move fairly easily, so from that perspective, the contract is a good one.
The second and more important question is whether or not this represents any progress toward a resolution on his contract status. The answer to this query is far murkier and less defined, but if one were to place a bet on this type of thing, the most likely answer is that no, it doesn’t represent any progress. After all, a one-year deal is simply a method to kick the can down the road a bit, so in all likelihood, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer haven’t firmly decided how they will proceed with Samardzija in the future.
With several teams like the Diamondbacks, Braves, and Blue Jays potentially interested in his services, the odds are that the Cubs will end up dealing the starter before the July 31st trade deadline. Judging by the types of pieces (Pedro Strop, CJ Edwards) that Hoyer has gotten for other starting pitchers (Feldman, Garza), the haul for Samardzija could be downright impressive if his track record is any indication.