Disappointment and an embarrassing lack of run support characterized the beginning of Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija’s season. His 2-6 record is far from a fair indication of how well and consistently he’s pitched this season, and as a result his trade value remains higher than ever even though his performance on the mound has faltered recently.
Despite still owning a respectable ERA of 2.77 and a WHIP of 1.18, Samardzija’s last start didn’t exactly go the way he and the organization hoped it would. He gave up a season-high nine hits against the Pittsburgh Pirates while picking up his sixth loss of the season. Aside from the nine hits and even in another defeat, the rest of Samardzija’s line looked on par with his consistency this season. He walked just two batters while striking out seven in six innings.
There’s little doubt that when push comes to shove, the Cubs will end up trading Samardzija either on or before the July 31 trading deadline. The fact that long-term contract talks stalled as spring training came to an end raised the first red flag. Despite being a particular type of homegrown starting pitcher that the organization hasn’t had in a while, one with some serious longevity potential, the Theo Epstein regime declined to try to retain Indiana native Samardzija, a serious mistake in several books.
At this point, Samardzija’s power in this situation, either to keep a place for himself on the North Side or to decrease his value to such a low point that the Cubs won’t be able to find a new home for him in exchange for a hefty bundle of young prospects, is minimal. Even if he keeps struggling like he did against the Pirates, Samardzija will be wearing a different uniform by the end of the season.