The Chicago Cubs embark upon the 2014 season after an off-season that saw the team made little changes to the Major League roster. In 2014, the Cubs will hope for improvement from their position players and pitching staff after a 2013 season that saw the team lose 96 games.
Jeff Samardzija was the No.1 starting pitcher in the Cubs rotation last season, and depending on who you read, Samardzija may not be on the Cubs roster by the time the 2014 season starts. Samardzija’s name has been cluttered in trade rumors this past off-season, and with a lack of an Opening Day commitment from manager Rick Renteria, those rumors don’t appear to be ending anytime soon.
After being the Cubs Opening Day starter in 2013, Samardzija has yet to be named the Opening Day starter for the 2014 season by Renteria. Leaving the door open to speculation that Samardzija could be dealt before March 31 or the likelier idea that Travis Wood could be the Cubs Opening Day starter.
Based off of the 2013 season alone, Samardzija proved that he is not a No.1 starter in the Major Leagues. In 2013, Samardzija posted a record of 8-13 to go along with an ERA of 4.34 and a FIP of 3.77.
Samardzija enters what will likely be an important 2014 season. Samardzija has been in the middle of contract negotiations with the Cubs front office, and so far, those negotiations have resulted in a stalemate. The Cubs are essentially offering Samardzija money that resembles a No.3 starter while Samardzija believes he deserves to be paid like a No.1 starter. If the stalemate continues, there is only one endgame for the Cubs and Samardzija. The endgame being a trade.
Samardzija is the biggest trading chip that the Cubs possess for the 2014 season. That would be why the 2014 season could be the last time Samardzija dons a Cubs uniform.