Samardzija was the Cubs opening day starting pitcher in 2013 and will be trusted upon again with the opening day duties in 2014. At the start of the 2013 season, Samardzija appeared to be on the cusp of being a top-tier starting pitcher in the National League.
After Samardzija’s ERA inflated to 4.34 in 2013, the starting pitcher is determined to improve his value during the 2014 season.
Samardzija’s value has been on the mind of the Cubs front office for much of these past two years. Over the course of the past two years, the Cubs front office has been working feverishly trying to sign Samardzija to a long-term extension. Till this point, the Cubs’ attempts have fallen on deaf ears. Samardzija has rejected several contract offers from the Cubs as the starting pitcher has voiced displeasure with the idea of the Cubs rebuild as well as his perceived value.
On Friday, Samardzija admitted that there is a gap over what the Cubs perceive his value is and what he believes his value is.
“If there wasn’t a gap there I would have already signed,” Samardzija said. -Jeff Samardzija, ESPN Chicago
Can we take Samardzija at his word?
Samardzija has been outspoken about the Cubs rebuild over the off-season to the point where it may seem that the starting pitcher is at odds with the front office. Meaning if the gap did not exist, would Samardzija have signed a contract extension? The answer to that question may very well be “no.”
Samardzija may feel that his value may never peak with a team that is not ready to win. A situation that the starting pitcher may have alluded to on Friday.
“Sometimes it’s just a product of the situation,” Samardzija said. “I think that’s where I’m at … when you win ballgames … this dialogue changes. So if we can change that around, the perspective changes and all of a sudden my situation changes.” -Samardzija, ESPN Chicago
There appears to be only one solution to the growing friction between Samardzija and the Cubs front office. A trade. Samardzija has been in the center of trade rumors for most of this past off-season and those rumors will continue up to the July 31 trade deadline. Samardzija is the biggest trading chip that the Cubs currently possess. Meaning the front office may revert back to their motto of turning short-term assets into long-term assets and trade Samardzija for a haul of prospects.