These tweets from Jon Morosi of Fox Sports sum up the current Jeff Samardzija situation:
Source confirms Jeff Samardzija rejected a five-year offer from Cubs. Value was slightly more than $85 million, source said.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 18, 2014
Bottom line: Jeff Samardzija is likely to be traded by July 31, as long as he remains healthy.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 18, 2014
Unfortunately, I agree with Morosi's take. Theo & Co. are likely going to start being more aggressive in trying to trade Shark (and Jason Hammel, too, I'd think) with just 42 days left before the non-waiver trading deadline.
Personally? I think this is a mistake. Samardzija has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this year. He's clearly ramped up his level of performance and the team apparently agreed, by offering him a five-year deal. It just wasn't for enough money, given Shark's rejection, and I can understand that. The Homer Bailey comparison has been made several times, and I'm going to make it again. Bailey recently signed a six-year, $105 million deal ($17.5 million AAV) and this reported proposal was close to that ($17 million a year). You'd think the Cubs could have offered an option year, or a bit more money per year. Samardzija is having a much better year than Bailey and has a lot fewer miles on his arm.
Perhaps Shark wants Matt Cain money (six years, $127.5 million, $21.25 million AAV). Prior to this year, Samardzija wasn't even close to Cain's equal. This year, he's been far better. The Cain deal is too much, I think, but somewhere in between might be the right price.
The Cubs don't appear ready to meet it, and I wish they would. Because if they don't, they're going to have to spend more money to get equivalent production. And if you say "Max Scherzer," that's going to cost more, and at this moment, anyway, Shark is having a better year than Scherzer, too.
But it now appears inevitable now that Jeff Samardzija will be wearing the uniform of some other team come August 1.
Which team will it be? And who can the Cubs receive in return?
Normally, I'd ask BCBer Kevin Aumiller, who wrote so many detailed trade-related articles over the last year, to do this again. He's let me know he has to step aside from front-page writing due to personal concerns. I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly thank Kevin for his excellent work.
And also, to put out a call for any of you who would like to write articles of the type Kevin did -- about potential trade proposals, trade partners and looking at other teams' farm systems. If you're interested, drop me an email and we'll talk.
Just to briefly mention a few teams that have been linked to Samardzija rumors: The Royals, Blue Jays and Giants have been prominently featured in some online writing on this topic in recent weeks. If I had to pick one of those three, I'd say Shark is headed to the Royals. They're hot right now, they'd like to win and Dayton Moore is a GM that the Cubs might be able to fleece. Or maybe there's a "mystery team" -- there always seems to be, even if no such team acquires a player like this. Vote in the poll (maybe you think he'll stick around after all, that's one of the poll choices) and weigh in on this in the comments.