The latest twist in the continuing saga of the Cubs' attempts to extend pitcher Jeff Samardzija or deal him to a contender should perk up the ears of teams looking for a big arm down the stretch. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports the Cubs' latest proposal is unlikely to sway Samardzija's desire to pitch for a winner at market value.
The Cubs are said by sources familiar with the talks to have upped their previous bid of about $60 million for five years to a bigger number, also for five years, confirming the original Chicago Sun-Times report. The new offer isn't known but it's quite possibly something more in the range of $75-80 million but most definitely not in the vicinity of the $105 million guarantee Homer Bailey has with the Reds.
And even that probably wouldn't get it done, anyway.
Samardzija hasn't countered the Cubs' offer yet, he isn't obligated to counter it, and he may never counter it. As in the past, the sides appear to remain uncomfortably apart.
Samardzija, who is set to go on the free agent market after the 2015 season, is said to have set his priorities as such: 1. Play for a winning team. 2. Be paid his true market value. The rebuilding Cubs started the day with the National League's second-worst record (30-40).
Heyman breaks down MLB's biggest pitching deals that could factor into Samardzija's take on his market value:
Beyond Baliey, there are even higher comparables, if you're figuring free-agent years could put him comfortably into $20-million-a-year territory, such as Matt Cain's $112.5-million, five-year extension that guaranteed him $127.5 million over six, and Cole Hamels' $144-million, six-year deal. While those two pitchers are far more accomplished than Samardzija, there is a decent argument to be made that the lack of innings on Samardzija's arm, and therefore lack of stress, may make him as good or better bet for the future.
The Cubs avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $5.3 million deal with Samardzija in the offseason. He's 2-6 with a 2.77 ERA and 1.18 WHIP this season and reportedly is being scouted by potential trade partners, including the Giants and Royals.