Results tagged ‘ Jeff Samardzija ’

7/6 Samardzija’s reax to All-Star selection

Jeff Samardzija accepted the news about being named to the NL All-Star team but not being able to pitch because he was traded Friday to the Athletics in the American League.

“Random happening,” Samardzija told reporters in Oakland after picking up a win in his first start Sunday. “I don’t think it’s ever happened before, and I don’t think anyone knew I was going to be an All-Star before the trade. It just happened to be that way. I won’t get to pitch, which is a bummer, but that’s all right. I’ll just go through the ceremony and then jump over to the AL dugout with an NL jersey on and have fun with the six other guys we have over there.

“You care about putting a whole season together, but this means you got off to a good start, your first few months went well. Most importantly, it’s respect from your fellow players. That feels good. It means they’re noticing what you’re doing and they respect it, and that means a lot.”

Samardzija was selected to the NL team by the players’ votes.

– Carrie Muskat

7/6 Castro, Samardzija named NL All-Stars

Starlin Castro and Jeff Samardzija were both named to the National League All-Star team. Both were elected by player votes. This is Castro’s third All-Star selection.

“After that bad year last year, that’s what we’re looking for — make it a good year this year,” Castro said in Washington after the Cubs’ game. “Make it to the All-Star Game. And come back on that level.

“[It feels] awesome,” Castro said. “Everybody in my family is happy, too. I called them right away and they celebrated at home.”

Samardzija, who picked up a win in his first start for Oakland on Sunday, will be able to attend the game as a member of the NL squad, but he will not play in the game because of the trade. The right-hander, who was 2-7 with a 2.83 ERA in 17 starts with the Cubs, will be replaced on the roster in the same way a pitcher who throws the Sunday before the All-Star Game is replaced.

“I think that the fact that he was recognized for his performance in and of itself speaks to that,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Samardzija. “Good for him.”

“He’s done a great job,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said of Castro. “He’s not trying to hit home runs or anything. It’s not about that, it’s about getting on base and letting other guys do the job.”

Rizzo could also get to the All-Star Game but needs fans’ help. He’s one of five candidates in the Final Vote. Go to MLB.com for more info.

Castro, 24, is the third shortstop in franchise history to be selected to at least three All-Star teams, joining Ernie Banks (nine times as a shortstop) and Don Kessinger (six times). Castro is one of only six shortstops to be named an All-Star in franchise history, joining Banks, Kessinger, Billy Jurges (once), Woody English (once) and Shawon Dunston (twice).

In 2011, Castro became the youngest player in franchise history to be named to an All-Star team at the age of 22. Castro, Dunston and Kessinger are the only three Cubs shortstops to earn All-Star honors in the last 50 years.

– Carrie Muskat

7/6 Start of a new era

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7/5 Cubs-A’s trade follow-up

About a month ago, A’s GM Billy Beane talked to Theo Epstein about Jeff Samardzija. Beane wanted to make sure if Epstein was going to trade the right-hander that he call the A’s.

Epstein has been in rebuild mode since joining the Cubs in October 2011, and dealt two starting pitchers in 2012 and again last year. The focus has been on adding pitching and impact talent. But Epstein and Beane had a tough time finding a combination of players that fit each other’s check lists. Beane wanted a way to expand the deal and get more back, and the Cubs were focused on one player who they felt was better than any pitcher offered in exchange.

On Friday, the Cubs acquired a player who now makes the core four the fab five.

“There was no pitcher available who was even close to the caliber of player that Addison Russell is,” Epstein said of the shortstop, ranked No. 11 on MLB.com’s list of top 100 prospects, who is now a Cub.

Once again, Epstein dealt two starting pitchers, packaging Samardzija with Jason Hammel, and sending both to the A’s for three Minor Leaguers — Russell, right-handed pitcher Dan Straily, and outfielder Billy McKinney. The Cubs will also receive a player to be named later.

“We certainly hope this is the last year we’ll be obvious sellers at the Trade Deadline,” Epstein said Saturday. “Nothing would make us happier than being in the position Oakland is in, which is to aggressively add to the big league team and enhance the team’s chances of making the postseason and winning the World Series.”

If the Cubs were to make a trade this year, Epstein said they needed to get a player who “significantly impacts the organization and helps make our future a heck of a lot better.” Russell, who was the A’s No. 1 pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, is that type of player, Epstein said. The Cubs now have eight of the top 100 prospects on MLB.com’s list, and four of the top 15 in Javier Baez (No. 6), Kris Bryant (No. 8), Russell (No. 11) and Albert Almora (No. 15).

The Cubs wanted Samardzija to be part of that future, too, and had discussed a contract extension. However, the right-hander, who will be a free agent after the 2015 season, was looking for market value, which the Cubs couldn’t offer.

“It’s fair to say we were close just because there was mutual interest,” Epstein said. “We’ve always admired Jeff and the way he goes about his business, his talent, his work ethic, what he means in that clubhouse, his competitiveness. He’s somebody we thought about possibly starting playoff games at Wrigley Field.

“We did have a desire to keep him,” Epstein said. “I think Jeff loved the Cubs and the fans and loved the city and wanted to be here. In the end, that mutual interest wasn’t enough. I don’t blame that on anybody. I think the timing wasn’t necessarily aligned.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/28 Cubs lineup – second game

Jeff Samardzija gets the start in the second game of Saturday’s day-night doubleheader. Here’s the lineup:

Coghlan LF
Sweeney CF
Rizzo 1B
Castro SS
Valbuena 3B
Castillo C
Schierholtz RF
Barney 2B
Samardzija P

6/24 Samardzija: “I love to pitch in big games”

Scouts have been at each of Jeff Samardzija’s starts, and Monday night was no exception. According to FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, the Blue Jays’ contingent at Wrigley Field included scouting director Perry Minasian. Morosi reports there are “strong indications” the Cubs would deal Samardzija for a package including right-hander Aaron Sanchez, lefty Daniel Norris and center fielder Dalton Pompey. However, the Blue Jays GM says he won’t include that trio. Morosi also reports the Blue Jays may consider David Price or Cole Hamels. Of the three Blue Jays prospects, Norris has a 1.62 ERA in 72 innings between high Class A and Double-A.

Samardzija notched his 12th quality start in 16 outings Monday night, but it wasn’t good enough. The Cubs lost, 6-1. Samardzija gave up one run over six innings. He has received one or fewer runs in eight of his 16 starts, and has a 2.82 ERA in those games. Samardzija’s success is one of the reasons several teams have scouts trailing him. Samardzija has been able to shrug off the trade rumors.

“He’s being a professional,” Anthony Rizzo said. “I’m sure it’s not easy reading where he’s going, when he’s going, who he’s going to, who we’re getting if he does get traded. It’s just a distraction and not easy, and he’s dealing well with all of it.”

The Cubs most likely will have October off. What would it be like to pitch in a pennant race?

“I love to pitch in big games,” Samardzija said. “I love to pitch in games when I can’t sleep the night before — those days when you’re up until three, four in the morning, and you have a day game the next day, you know it’s a big game. Those are fun. I’ve learned over the last couple years that every start is important.”

When was the last time Samardzija had a sleepless night prior to a big game?

“That’s a good question,” he said, and paused. “It’s happened a few times this year.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/23 Cubs lineup

Jeff Samardzija gets the start Monday night as the Cubs open a three-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field. Welington Castillo makes his first start behind the plate since being activated from the disabled list. Here’s the lineup:

Coghlan LF
Ruggiano CF
Rizzo 1B
Castro SS
Valbuena 3B
Castillo C
Sweeney RF
Barney 2B
Samardzija P

* Samardzija is the only pitcher in baseball to make at least 15 starts this year and have only two wins despite an ERA under 3.00. The only other pitchers in baseball with just two wins despite a sub-3.00 ERA in at least 12 starts are the Padres’ Andrew Cashner and the Phillies’ Cole Hamels, both of whom have two wins in 12 starts. Both Cashner and Hamels have seen time on the DL this year.

The previous pitcher with just two wins and a sub-3.00 ERA in his first 15 starts to a season was James Shields, who was 2-6 with a 2.72 ERA in his first 15 starts last year with the Royals.

* Samardzija this season ranks ninth in the NL with a 2.60 ERA. He has allowed three or fewer walks in each of his last nine starts since May 5, having walked 16 and struck out 59 in that span.

6/18 Samardzija talks ongoing

There are reports that Jeff Samardzija rejected an $85 million contract offer from the Cubs. However, Samardzija and the Cubs are keeping conversations open, and have not ended discussions.

Scouts have been following Samardzija closely this season, and the Blue Jays had two representatives in Miami Tuesday night for his last start.

How is he dealing with all the trade rumors and contract chatter?

“Numb would be a good word,” Samardzija said Tuesday. “I’m just out doing my job. I feel good. I’m really excited, compared to these last two years of starting, I feel really good where I’m at with my routine and my arm feels great. … I’m going to keep doing my job and I’m not too worried about that stuff — it’ll take care of itself.”

Samardzija has one more year of arbitration left and will be a free agent after the 2015 season. He told his agent he did not want to be distracted by contract talk until something had been finalized.

Samardzija would appear to be the type of pitcher the Cubs want to move forward with in their rotation but Theo Epstein has been intent on rebuilding the farm system, and has traded two starting pitchers each of the last two seasons, including Matt Garza and Scott Feldman last year. Jason Hammel and Jake Arrieta also have reportedly drawn interest from teams looking for starting pitching.

“We have a couple guys on the trading block, but that’s what comes with being quality starters or being able to pitch at the level some of the guys can,” said Arrieta after his start Wednesday in Miami. “I look forward to having Jason and Jeff as teammates as long as possible. Obviously, I’d like them both to stay here. Theo and Jed [Hoyer] will do everything in their power to put the best team on the field, whether it’s keeping those guys or swapping them for prospects who they feel can be here for a long time.

“It’s really not something we need to think about,” Arrieta said. “You have to continue to go day to day and see what happens. I’d love to see those guys stick around.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/17 Extra bases

* During a radio blitz on Tuesday to promote his Foundation To Be Named Later fundraiser in Chicago, Theo Epstein was asked about Jeff Samardzija’s status. The right-hander will be a free agent after the 2015 season.

“The bottom line is nothing has changed,” Epstein said on ESPN-AM 1000. “We think the world of Jeff. He has a year and a half left on his contract. We’d love to find a way to keep him in Chicago for a long time. He’d love to be a Cub for a long time, but it’s a business and things aren’t quite that easy. We’re just not going to get into detail or give a public play by play.”

There were several scouts at Tuesday’s game in Miami, including two from the Blue Jays who have seen nearly every one of Samardzija’s starts.

* Epstein also was asked about Kris Bryant, who is leading the Southern League in home runs, batting average and RBIs. When will Bryant get to Wrigley Field?

“I can say he’s doing everything we could ask of him at Double-A,” Epstein said. “If he continues this and if he continues to work on his development plan and work on his weaknesses, there will be a time in the not too distant future that he’ll see Triple-A this year.

“Is he dominating Double-A right now? Of course he is,” Epstein said. “Does that mean his development is complete? No.”

* Welington Castillo is still rehabbing in Mesa, Ariz., at the Cubs complex. He has right rib cage inflammation, and is eligible to come off the disabled list now. Castillo was scheduled to play in extended Spring Training game Tuesday in Mesa. He may not need a Minor League rehab assignment.

“If he can get some at-bats and be able to swing the bat with intensity and catch, it’s still the same [rehab],” manager Rick Renteria said Tuesday. “From a games perspective, it’s a matter of making sure he’s healthy.”

* Renteria does not plan on batting Travis Wood sixth in the lefty’s next outing but may call on his starting pitcher sooner to pinch-hit. On Monday, Wood delivered a game-winning RBI double in the 13th inning to give the Cubs a 5-4 win over the Marlins.

“I think when you have a short bench, it’s not unheard of to use a pitcher if you want to save the bench,” Renteria said. “You have situations where they may not be as key as that one [Monday]. I think that’s always been open for most clubs.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/17 Cubs lineup

Jeff Samardzija gets the start Tuesday night in the second game of the Cubs’ three-game series against the Marlins. There are plenty of rumors about Samardzija and whether he’ll stay or be dealt by the Trade Deadline. The Cubs are continuing talks with Samardzija’s agent about a possible deal to stay.

Here’s the lineup:

Valbuena 3B
Ruggiano LF
Rizzo 1B
Castro SS
Schierholtz RF
Lake CF
Barney 2B
Whiteside C
Samardzija P

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