Say this for Chicago Cubs’ starter Jeff Samardzija: he is trying to do right by his colleagues across baseball as he considers his options for the future.
The Chicago Cubs have reached out to Samardzija on more than one occasion in the last year or so about a contract extension. In each case they made offers in the hopes that he would take a more team-friendly deal. The incentive for the ace to do so, of course, would be security over the risk of waiting for free agency and having something happen in the meantime.
Samardzija wasn’t interested. He cited the desire to win as one factor, while the huge salary he might get as a free agent certainly looms as well. But Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times notes another factor: fidelity to the MLB Players Union. Here is what Samardzija had to say:
“The only reason we’re in the fortunate spot we’re in is because of the guys that played before us and how they went about their business,” Samardzija, who grew up in a strong union household in Northwest Indiana, said in a recent conversation with the Sun-Times, “and how the whole free-agency thing started and what it’s become today. You just want to keep that going.
“You want to grow with the game. You always want the game growing, too. The way you do that is you work your butt off and you earn your way to free agency and you go from there.”
Samardzija’s candor is appreciated, I suppose. And now it is clear to the Toronto Blue Jays or whichever team lands him that they will have to pony up a market-setting deal to sign him to a long-term extension.