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MLB Chicago Cubs

Jeff Samardzija Officially Chicago Cubs Trade Bait After Contract Talks End

Jeff Samardzjia

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Pitcher Jeff Samardzija is likely the best pitcher on the Chicago Cubs‘ staff. He certainly looked that way on Monday’s opening day game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Maybe the Buccos would like to trade for the man known as “Shark” come July 31.

Samardzija is likely going to be another trade casualty of the Theo Epstein regime come the MLB trade deadline after neither the club nor the pitcher could come to terms on a new, lon- term deal before the regular season’s first pitch.

Numerous reports have surfaced saying the Cubs don’t have any interest in engaging in contract talks during the regular season. Samardzija doesn’t seem especially enamored with the idea either. That means if there are to be more talks, it will have to be in October. Waiting to see if they can sign their arguably most attractive trade piece is a gamble general manager Jed Hoyer and Epstein have already shown they loathe to do.

At this point, it seems extremely likely the franchise will look to deal the opening day starter at the highest point of his value, which, of course, will be when contending ball clubs are looking to bolster their roster at the end of July.

Cubs fans have seen this scenario play out before. Last year’s situation with Matt Garza was incredibly similar, with both sides talking as though they wanted an extension but wouldn’t discuss it while games were being played. That extension never came and Garza was shipped off to the Texas Rangers just before the trade deadline.

At some point, the Cubs are going to have to be the team that holds onto players the caliber of Samardzija in order to take the next step, but the team probably hasn’t hit that point yet. Shark will net a pretty nice return, if that Garza trade can be used as a model. That deal saw the Rangers send back a top pitching prospect, as well as Mike Olt, the Cubs’ opening day starting third baseman.

The Cubs brass is probably hoping Samardzija can bring something similar.

Oliver VanDervoort is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bovandy, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.