Results tagged ‘ Jeff Samardzija ’
* Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta is inching closer to throwing off the mound. The right-hander, projected as one of the Cubs’ starters, has been slowed this spring because of tightness in his right shoulder. He will have a flat ground session on Saturday, and the Cubs will decide if he’s ready to take that next step and get on the mound after that.
“We’re going to take it day by day,” Arrieta said Friday. “Every day’s been good. It’s gotten progressively better. If we stay on the same schedule, I’m optimistic I’ll be ready by Opening Day.”
Arrieta has competition for the rotation. The Cubs signed free agents Jason Hammel and James McDonald and also have lefty Chris Rusin in the mix.
* Jeff Samardzija is expected to start the Cubs’ Cactus League opener next Thursday against the Diamondbacks in the first game at the team’s new Spring Training stadium, Cubs Park. Manager Rick Renteria did not reveal the rest of his spring rotation. The Cubs will tune up for Cactus League play with an intrasquad game on Wednesday at the new stadium. Top prospects Eric Jokisch and Kyle Hendricks will start that game.
* James McDonald was happy with his live batting practice session on Friday. It’s the first time the right-hander has faced a batter in about 10 months.
“This is the first time I was throwing without thinking about my arm in a while,” said McDonald, who was limited to six games with the Pirates because of shoulder issues. “I was like, ‘OK, my arm feels good.’ It was fun to be able to get out there and throw off the mound to a hitter.”
His goal, besides staying healthy, is to be better at the end of spring than he was on Friday.
“A lot of times when you first see a batter, you speed up,” McDonald said. “You get a couple times out and you start relaxing and you’re good. The first time out, seeing batters in a while, I feel like I got a little [rushed].”
* The Cubs will be featured in three live Spring Training games on MLB Network, and the games will be available in the Chicago area. Those dates include March 12 against the Mariners at 9 p.m. CT; March 18 against the Rangers at 9 p.m. CT; and March 19 against the Rockies at 8:30 p.m. CT.
– Carrie Muskat
* Wednesday was the Cubs’ first full squad workout, which meant it was the first day of live batting practice. Nate Schierholtz got to face exactly who he needed in lefty Travis Wood. Schierholtz is hoping he can convince Cubs manager Rick Renteria to not platoon the outfielder against left-handed pitchers. Last year, Schierholtz batted .262 against right-handers and hit .170 against lefties, part of the reason he had to share right field.
“That’s a huge goal of mine is to play every day and not necessarily platoon as much,” Schierholtz said Wednesday. “That’s one of my big goals this spring.”
* Renteria met with each player on Wednesday, and was impressed by shortstop Starlin Castro, who is coming off a tough year in which he batted a career-low .245.
“He’s very excited,” Renteria said of Castro. “We liked the way he looked in our meeting. He was very happy. We just told him to be himself, expand on his skills and improve his approach at the plate. He spoke a bit more than we did. He has an idea of what he wants to do.”
* Even though Mike Olt’s primary position is third base, he was working out at first on Wednesday on the first day of workouts. The Cubs don’t have a backup first baseman, and top prospects Kris Bryant and Christian Villanueva were sharing third during the session.
* Kyuji Fujikawa, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, had a long toss session Wednesday, throwing from about 135 feet. He is making progress.
“As long as there is nothing that sets him back, he continues to move forward,” Renteria said.
* Somehow, Blake Parker was aligned with lefties Wesley Wright, James Russell, Tommy Hottovy, Tsuyoshi Wada and Zac Rosscup. Parker is the only right-hander in that group. Did he have to adjust to the southpaws?
“No — I just took my glove off and we did a strictly right-handed shake,” Wright said.
* Besides Wood, Jeff Samardzija, Chris Rusin, Carlos Villanueva and Kyle Hendricks threw live BP sessions on Wednesday.
* Thursday’s workout in Cubs camp will start at the normal time, with stretching at 9:30 a.m. Arizona time.
– Carrie Muskat
Wednesday is the day for the Cubs’ first full squad workout, which means it’s time for live batting practice, which is always entertaining. Among the pitchers scheduled to pitch are Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Villanueva, Justin Grimm, Neil Ramirez, Travis Wood, Chris Rusin, Kyle Hendricks, and Armando Rivero. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts was expected to address the media.
The players will be on the field later because manager Rick Renteria is scheduled to address them.
– Carrie Muskat
Jeff Samardzija doesn’t want to talk about a possible long-term contract with the Cubs or his name being mentioned in trade rumors.
“We’re not really going to talk about that,” Samardzija said Friday. “We’re worried about the season and getting ready to compete and win some ballgames. We don’t want any distractions, whether it’s with [contract talk] or with trade talks or this or that. For me, it’s a no comment.
“Like I’ve said before, [I want to] put no doubt in anyone’s minds about who I am and what I can be for this organization.”
This is Samardzija’s third season as a full-time starter, and his name has been mentioned in trade rumors because of the Cubs’ trend the last two seasons under president of baseball operations Theo Epstein to deal players for prospects. Samardzija avoided arbitration this year by agreeing to a one-year, $5.345 million contract. He will be a free agent after the 2015 season.
“The last resort is to go a hearing,” he said of the talks. “I felt like from the beginning, both sides were in agreement that we were pretty close.”
The right-hander is coming off his first season in which he totaled 200 innings and 200 strikeouts. He finished 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA in a career-high 33 starts. His goal this year? To improve his pitch efficiency and reduce the total walks.
One of the ways to do that is eliminate any outside distractions. Whether he’s traded or not, Samardzija, 29, is doing his best to stay focused on baseball.
“All I can do is increase my value as much as possible and I think in the end it’s going to help the organization no matter what,” he said. “It either helps the organization by keeping me here and proving that I’m that guy, or I increase my value and help them get prospects in return.”
Does he think he’ll be with the Cubs at the end of the 2014 season?
“It comes down to the team,” he said. “It comes down to where we’re at as a team. If me, [Travis Wood], [Edwin] Jackson, [Jason] Hammel, [Carlos] Villanueva, [Jake] Arrieta, so on and so forth do their job and show that we’re pretty close to where we need to be, especially as a pitching staff, which is what we can control as pitchers, a lot of times that changes the plan. [They'll say] This is an important core group of guys and we can’t break this up.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs and Jeff Samardzija reached agreement on Saturday on a one-year, $5.345 million contract, and will avoid arbitration. A hearing was scheduled for Monday in Florida. The Cubs had offered Samardzija $4.4 million, and he filed for $6.2 million. The Cubs’ Opening Day starter last season, the right-hander finished 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA and reached 200 innings and 200 strikeouts for the first time in his career.
– Carrie Muskat
An arbitration hearing is scheduled for Monday in Florida if the Cubs and Jeff Samardzija cannot reach a contract settlement. The Cubs offered Samardzija $4.4 million, and he filed for $6.2 million. The Cubs’ Opening Day starter last season, the right-hander finished 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA and reached 200 innings and 200 strikeouts for the first time in his career.
“Obviously, I’m hopeful,” Samardzija said during the Cubs Convention in January about the possibility of a long-term deal. “I think I’ve said that from day one. Ever since I signed my first contract here with the Cubs, I’ve wanted to be here and a big reason for not playing football was to come here and play in Chicago. It obviously means a lot for me to be here.”
Theo Epstein has never gone to arbitration with a player. He was in Arizona this week to get settled in the Cubs’ new Spring Training facility in Mesa.
The last time the Cubs had a hearing regarding a player was in 2010 when Ryan Theriot “lost” as the arbitrator ruled in favor of the team’s $2.6 million offer over the $3.4 million bid submitted by the infielder.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs avoided arbitration with outfielder Nate Schierholtz, infielder Luis Valbuena and relievers James Russell and Pedro Strop on Friday, and exchanged salary figures with their other four arbitration eligible players, including Jeff Samardzija.
Schierholtz signed for $5 million, while Valbuena agreed to a $1.71 million contract and Russell signed a $1.775 million deal with the Cubs. Strop signed a $1.325 million contract.
The other four arbitration eligible players exchanged salary figures. The Cubs offered Samardzija $4.4 million, and he is seeking $6.2 million. Travis Wood filed for $4.25 million, and the Cubs countered at $3.5 million; Darwin Barney filed for $2.8 million, and the team offered $1.8 million. Justin Ruggiano, who the Cubs acquired in a trade with the Marlins for Brian Bogusevic, was seeking $2.45 million, and the team offered $1.6 million.
The players and the Cubs will continue to negotiate. Arbitration hearings are scheduled for Feb. 1-21 if no settlement is reached before then.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs have reportedly reached a contract agreement with infielder Luis Valbuena and avoided arbitration. According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, Valbuena has signed a $1.71 million contract with the Cubs. The third baseman is one of eight Cubs who filed for salary arbitration on Tuesday. Figures were to be exchanged today. Arbitration hearings are scheduled for Feb. 1-21.
Valbuena made $930,000 last year, and was projected by MLBTradeRumors.com to receive $1.5 million this year. He appeared in the most games at third base for the Cubs in 2013, batting .218 with 12 home runs and 14 doubles.
Other Cubs who filed for salary arbitration include Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Darwin Barney, Nate Schierholtz, James Russell, Pedro Strop, and Justin Ruggiano. Wood could get the biggest increase. The lefty, who was 9-12 last season, posting career-highs in starts and innings pitched, earned $527,500 in 2013 and was projected to receive $3.6 million this year.
A quick refresher on salary arbitration: Eligible players are those with at least three years of Major League service but less than six years needed to qualify for free agency. If a case goes to a hearing, the player and the team each present their case to a three-member panel.
– Carrie Muskat
Eight Cubs players were among the 146 MLB players who filed for salary arbitration on Tuesday. Figures will be exchanged Friday between the Cubs and the eight if no agreement is reached before then. Arbitration hearings will be Feb. 1-21. Here are the players involved, their 2013 salary, and projected 2014 figure, according to MLBTradeRumors.com:
Jeff Samardzija: $2.64 million in 2013; projected $4.9 million in 2014
Travis Wood: $527,500 in 2013; projected $3.6 million in 2014
Nate Schierholtz: $2.25 million in 2013; projected $4.4 million in 2014
James Russell: $1.075 million in 2013; projected $1.7 million in 2014
Pedro Strop: $502,500 in 2013; projected $1 million in 2014
Luis Valbuena: $930,000 in 2013; projected $1.5 million in 2014
Darwin Barney: $562,000 in 2013; projected $2.1 million in 2014
Justin Ruggiano: $494,500 in 2013; projected $1.8 million in 2014
The last time the Cubs went to arbitration was in 2010 when an arbitrator ruled in favor of the team’s $2.6 million offer over the $3.4 million bid submitted by Ryan Theriot.
– Carrie Muskat
* Do you have tickets yet for the Cubs Convention? This year’s annual fan fest will be Jan. 17-19 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, 301 E. North Water Street, Chicago. Call 1-800-325-3535 for more information. Individual weekend passes are $60 per person without a hotel reservation, and are valid for all three days. Passes are $20 if you stay at the hotel.
Among the players scheduled to participate are Darwin Barney, Welington Castillo, Starlin Castro, Edwin Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, James Russell, Jeff Samardzija, Nate Schierholtz, Carlos Villanueva, and Travis Wood. New manager Rick Renteria will introduce his coaching staff, and Cubs alum scheduled to take part include Fergie Jenkins, Derrek Lee, Ted Lilly, Mark Prior, Dwight Smith, Jody Davis, Todd Walker, Billy Williams, Kerry Wood and Ernie Banks.
* On Jan. 16, you can sing along with some of your favorite Cubs players and help a good cause. The David DeJesus Family Foundation and Cubs Charities will present “Strike a Chord” celebrity karaoke event at American Junkie, 15 West Illinois Street, Chicago, on that date. Cubs players, alumni and their wives will sing at the fundraiser, with proceeds to benefit ALS research and support the DeJesus foundation. There are reports Travis Wood will be singing a country song.
There will be karaoke duets, an open bar, live auction and raffle. Tickets are $125 per person ($150 at the door), and $1,000 per table (four tickets plus reserved seating). The karaoke show begins at 8 p.m. CT. There will also be dancing after the event. Cubs Charities will donate half of the proceeds raised to ALS Research and Support in the name of the David DeJesus Family Foundation. Go to Cubs.com/community/strike_a_chord for more information.
* Had enough of the winter weather in Chicago? Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training at the new facility in Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 13.
– Carrie Muskat