Results tagged ‘ Jeff Samardzija ’

2/14 Samardzija hopes to avoid distractions

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

2/8 Cubs, Samardzija settle

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

2/7 Cubs and Samardzija

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

1/17 Four Cubs sign; four swap numbers

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

1/17 Cubs and Valbuena

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

1/14 Arbitration figures – UPDATED

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

1/2 Mark your new 2014 calendar

* 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

12/23 Spreading good cheer

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Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija visited children on Monday at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and handed out goodies as well as signed autographs and posed for photos.

(Photo courtesy of Cubs)

12/11 Samardzija update

Theo Epstein met Wednesday with Jeff Samardzija’s agent at the Winter Meetings, and said as of now, the pitcher is the team’s Opening Day starter. Samardzija also doesn’t appear to be any closer to agreeing to a long-term contract. Samardzija will be a free agent after the 2015 season. His name has been mentioned in trade rumors but interested teams have not been able to meet the Cubs’ demands. Samardzija is coming off his first 200-inning, 200-strikeout season.

“Every time we meet with [agent Mark Rodgers], I feel great about the relationship and the relationship with Jeff, too,” Epstein said. “Talks are amicable, open. We’re transparent about the situation and our interests, and he’s transparent about Jeff’s desires and interests.

“We continue to try to move the ball forward as much as we can on one of two or three possible outcomes,” Epstein said. “There hasn’t been any fundamental change in the situation. Communication is good and we continue to view Jeff as a really big part of what we’re doing even as we admit there are several possible outcomes.”

And that’s that as far as Epstein is concerned. He won’t be giving daily briefings on Samardzija’s status.

“At some point, I don’t think Jeff deserves to read about this every day,” Epstein said. “It’s a tough thing to read about someone speculating on where you’re going to work. We’ll put it to bed. The sitaution now is Jeff’s our Opening Day starter and that’s how we’re moving forward.”

Epstein said he and GM Jed Hoyer will stop answering questions about Samardzija’s status.

“I don’t want Jeff to have to read the paper every day that there’s speculation that he might be traded or not,” Epstein said. “We’re asked about all of our good players all the time and it’s no surprise we’re asked about Jeff Samardzija. There’s no trade imminent, and we’ll see what happens. We hope he’s here for a long time.”

– Carrie Muskat

12/11 Winter Meetings, Day 3 – UPDATED

* Jeff Samardzija’s agent was expected to meet Wednesday with Theo Epstein. The Cubs would like to extend Samardzija, but he will be a free agent after the 2015 season and is most likely to politely reject their offer. The right-hander, who would like to test the market at that time, has been the subject of trade rumors. The Cubs also could deal Samardzija in July.

The three-way trade between the Angels, the Diamondbacks and the White Sox may have had an impact on what the Cubs do with Samardzija. The Cubs were believed to be looking at lefty Tyler Skaggs as part of the package for the right-hander, but Skaggs was sent to the Angels.

* The Cubs are reportedly expanding their search for starting pitching. According to Comcast SportsNet Chicago, the Cubs are considering not only Masahiro Tanaka but also Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda and Korean right-hander Suk-Min Yoon. CSN Chicago also says the Cubs are looking at Jason Hammel, 31, who has pitched for the Orioles, Rockies and Rays. He has a 49-59 career record and 4.80 ERA. Tanaka, 25, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last season. The president of his team, Rakuten, arrived at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday. MLB and Japan baseball officials were hoping to resolve the posting system.

A source said Maeda most likely would not be posted until next year. Maeda, 25, was 15-7 with a 2.10 ERA for Hiroshima last season, striking out 158 over 175 2/3 innings. Yoon, 27, is a free agent who has been a starter and reliever with the Kia Tigers in the Korea Baseball Organization. He has battled injuries.

* Major League managers and general managers met early Wednesday to discuss instant replay, among other things.

– Carrie Muskat

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