Many of us discount things written by Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times, but this time he's got a rumor worth discussing about a possible contract extension for Jeff Samardzija:
But even as the Cubs continue early trade talks with some teams about Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija, they also have quietly reached out to Samardzija with a new offer on a contract that would keep him in Chicago as long as Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, according to multiple sources. The sides have been miles apart for more nearly two years since having initial conversations about a multiyear extension, with differences on issues ranging from dollars to the club’s competitive timeline to management style and stability.
The article goes on to say that the offer would be "higher" than previous offers, rumored to be in the $60-$65 million range. It's been said here and elsewhere -- and also mentioned in Wittenmyer's article -- that Shark would want a contract similar to the six-year, $105 million deal signed by Homer Bailey of the Reds before this year. Samardzija is just one year older than Bailey, has fewer miles on his arm, and is having a much better year, a season that could be termed a breakout year, in his third full year as a rotation starter.
Then there's this sequence of tweets from Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, who usually has a pretty good insight on things like this:
Not surprising that #Cubs are again talking extension with Samardzija, as Gordon Wittenmeyer reported; they’re taking one last shot.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 17, 2014
There's no doubt that Cain has been a much better pitcher than Shark over his career, although Samardzija has been better than Cain this year. The two are only a few months apart in age. $127 million would be quite a bit to commit to Samardzija, but it would definitely show this front office's desire to build around the young(ish) building blocks they already have in place. Six years for Shark would be his age 30-35 seasons; pitchers can still have productive seasons at that age, and for Shark, perhaps more so because he has fewer innings pitched than most pitchers his age.
Even though Samardzija has been in the major leagues since the end of 2008, nearly six years ago, he had four years, 28 days' worth of major-league service time at the start of the 2014 season. Thus it would be about five and three-quarters years from then, and thus after the trading deadline in 2020, before he would have 10-and-5 rights. That's probably the reason he's rumored to want a no-trade clause, something this front office hasn't been willing to give.
So what will happen? What do you think should happen? I think I'd sign him. It would send a clear message to the team that this FO wants to keep a key piece around; from Wittenmyer's article:
"We’d take him here in a heartbeat," said Marlins outfielder Reed Johnson, the former Cub, who has watched Samardzija’s evolution since his 2008 rookie year. "He’s not only a good pitcher, but he’s got what it takes mentally to succeed. He believes in himself.
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