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Cubs, Shark Won't Talk Contract With Media During Season

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Does this increase the chances the righthander will be traded?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

AMARILLO, Texas -- The game's over, night has fallen, yet the Cubs are still making news this Opening day, via Mark Gonzales in the Tribune:

All the talking will be done on the field and no longer at the negotiating table, at least for now.

That's the status of negotiations with Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija, according to team President Theo Epstein.

"We talked about it early in spring training," Epstein said Monday before Samardzija raised his stock with seven scoreless innings against the Pirates. "We indulged the questions. Right now we're just focused on the games and just going out and winning.

"And when I think of Jeff Samardzija, I think I'm happy he's our opening-day starter and look forward to a performance like we saw last year from him."

I'm guessing Theo would like a better performance overall this year from Samardzija, although it appears that Theo was talking only about the Opening Day performance from 2013 in the quote. That, at least, Shark nearly did match Monday. Shark was a below-average starter last year in terms of his ERA+, which was 91, and was exactly average (replacement level) by bWAR: 1.0.

He'll have to do better to bring any value in a trade, and at this point I'm almost certain he will be traded by the July 31 deadline.

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