Earlier in the offseason, Jeff Samardzija‘s name was floated out nearly everyday as a legitimate trade target for teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees and even Atlanta Braves. Moreover, the calendar is about to flip to February and the starting pitcher remains under contract with the Chicago Cubs. The only noteworthy thing to come out of the Samardzija camp this winter is that he reportedly turned down a five-year $55 million offer from the Cubs in December.
One of the main reasons why he didn’t sign that extension is because Samardzija wants to win. In fact, the former Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver let his colors show when asked about the possibility of Masahiro Tanaka becoming a Cub — Samardzija’s quote may surprise you:
‘‘I’ve mentioned my frustration with the ‘R’ word (rebuilding) before, You bring him in, and that ‘R’ word essentially kind of disintegrates.’’
Of course, every 29-year old wants to pitch in the bright lights of October and November, so Samardzija’s hunger for victory isn’t all that surprising. However, now that Tanaka is with the Yankees, Chicago has no choice but to either extend Samardzija long term or at least wait until next year to trade him. As of now, Cubs fans are already upset that the team has done virtually nothing on the free agent front, and trading away one of the team’s most talented players would be a recipe for disaster.
A lot can happen in these next few months, but if I feel very comfortable saying that Samardzija will be in a Cubs uniform until the year 2015 at the least.