Is it possible that Jeff Samardzija may not be headed out of Chicago after all? There are now indications that the Cubs may be ready to keep their ace pitcher rather than trade him. The Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer says that even as the Cubs continue to field trade offers for Samardzija, they have contacted the pitcher about working out a new deal to keep him in Chicago.
Sources indicate to Wittenmyer that the Cubs are offering a five-year deal worth more than the $60-65 million they offered Samardzija two years ago when they first began talking long-term deal with the pitcher. One source said it would probably take something in the $17.5 million-per-year range to get Samardzija to stay, especially if the Cubs are unwilling to offer a no-trade clause.
Samardzija is one of the hottest commodities on the trade market right now, with at least ten teams reportedly showing interest. The right hander is 2-6 with a 2.77 ERA and 1.176 WHIP.
The Cubs are reportedly also dangling starters Jason Hammel, Edwin Jackson and Jake Arrieta as trade bait. Samardzija has the most value of all their pitchers, but he also is the one who has the most potential to be an ace-level pitcher for the next five years.
With the team showing signs of life under first-year manager Rick Renteria, is the fire-sale being called off in Chicago? The Cubs are at the very least keeping all their bases covered as they head into the summer.