With each passing day in the Major League Baseball off-season, it appears that starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija has pitched in his last game with the Chicago Cubs.
According to a report from CSN Chicago insider David Kaplan, Samardzija will be traded before Opening Day 2014. The reports states that the odds are overwhelming that Samardzija will be traded at some point this winter.
“I don’t see him throwing another pitch in a Cubs uniform. I think it’s 99 percent that he gets moved. They’re not ready to win and he brings you the young pitching you need for the future,” said a major league source. -CSN Chicago
The Cubs have had interest in trading Samardzija since last July. Before the trade deadline last season, the Cubs were believed to be in trade discussions with the Arizona Diamondbacks about a trade involving Samardzija.
The Diamondbacks remain one of the favorites to acquire Samardzija this winter. Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers has been adamant about his team’s desire to acquire a starting pitcher this winter and Samardzija appears to be the team’s top target. The Diamondbacks are not the only team in on Samardzija. The Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles are also in the same category as the Diamondbacks in terms of being considered the favorites to acquire the Cubs’ starting pitcher this off-season.
Samardzija struggled last season with the Cubs as he had a record of 8-13 to go along with an ERA of 4.34. Though, digging deeper into Samardzija’s stats from last season and one would find that the starting pitcher may have been the victim of bad luck. Samardzija had a xFIP of 3.45 for the Cubs last season, a mark that was only 7 points higher than it was in 2012. Not to mention, Samardzija had a WAR of 2.8 for the Cubs in 2013–only two points lower than it was in 2012.
The Cubs interest in trading Samardzija results from the idea that the starting pitcher won’t sign a contract extension with the team. By all accounts, the Cubs front office prefers to sign Samardzija to a contract extension rather than trade the starting pitcher. Though, with Samardzija unwilling to sign an extension at this point, the Cubs have turned their attention to trading the starting pitcher. A move that has generated a strong response from teams and put the team in a position to receiver a haul of talented prospects.
With each day that comes, the chances are increasing that it will be Samardzija’s last with the Cubs.