Could the Chicago Cubs actually keep Jeff Samardzija? We have spent the better part of the last 12 months assuming he was on his way out of town, a sentiment that was strengthened by Samardzija’s inexplicable lack of victories despite a league-leading ERA to start the 2014 season.
While the eroding relationship between Samardzija and the Cubs has been well-documented since the off-season, Peter Gammons writes about the possibility that the Cubs could still look to re-sign him. Such a plan would include a trade that sends Jason Hammel out of town for prospects:
There’s a chance the Cubs will try to re-sign Samardzija and trade Hammel, who could be a major chip for the Jays—who have inquired—and most contenders.
Besides the dynamic between the ace pitcher and the Cubs’ front office, this rumor signals an interesting shift in the Cubs’ current philosophy.
If the Cubs saw themselves as a team in full rebuilding mode, trading Samardzija would seem like an obvious move. He has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, his career continues to trend the right direction, and he is under team control through next season. Reports still suggest that the Cubs are looking to trade him, but the mere suggestion that they could try to keep him raises interesting questions.
With exciting young talent on the way and some nice moments this season, do the Cubs see themselves as a team that is close? Can they sell Samardzija on that idea? If they can, with the big money to go along with it, could we actually see Samardzija in Chicago long term after all?
A trade still seems most likely, but it is an interesting rumor to consider.