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Jeff Samardzija heats up Cubs rotation competition

Mar 13, 2012, 10:05 PM EDT

Jeff Samardzija Getty Images

It looked like six pitchers for five spots initially, but with Jeff Samardzija having made a strong early impression on new manager Dale Sveum, there are currently seven pitchers in the mix for the Cubs rotation.

The givens are Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, though Garza’s name has been a very popular one in trade rumors. After those two were expected to be Paul Maholm and Randy Wells, leaving newcomers Chris Volstad and Travis Wood competing for one spot. Samardzija’s emergence, though, has broadened the competition and perhaps left Wells vulernable to being replaced.

Volstad, for what it’s worth, has answered the bell early on. He pitched three scoreless innings in a win against the Giants on Tuesday, bringing his spring total to six scoreless frames. Samardzija has allowed two runs in his six innings and boasts a nice 6/0 K/BB ratio. Wells has pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, while Wood has allowed one run in 2 1/3 innings.

Since Wood, who came over in the Sean Marshall deal, has options left, he seems the most likely candidate to be bumped now. Samardzija then could take the spot of either Volstad or Wells if he’s promoted from the bullpen. Wells has seen his ERA jump from 3.05 in 2009 to 4.26 in 2010 and 4.99 last season, so there’s no reason he should be promised anything.

  1. paperlions - Mar 13, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    Samardzija has walked over 5 guys per 9 IP over 160+ career innings….yeah, let’s ignore that and pay attention to the 6 IP in ST, where he is mostly facing minor league players and results take a back seat to things guys are working on during the game.

    • istillbelieveinblue - Mar 14, 2012 at 8:16 AM

      I mostly agree with you, but Jeff was able to cut down on his walks last year. He still has a ways to go, but I still like him, even if only as a solid setup guy.

  2. Tim's Neighbor - Mar 13, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Paper, no one is saying ignore his past and the Cubs won’t. It all factors in. Samardjiza’s hot start simply means that he is in the discussion, which is appropriate.

    Why so angry?

    • jlove42 - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:06 AM

      Because its still March….

    • paperlions - Mar 14, 2012 at 7:43 AM

      If you read anger in there, you need new glasses. It was sarcasm, and pointing out that 6 innings against mostly minor leagues in spring training scrimmages does not represent a guy making a push for the rotation, especially when that guy walks over 5 batters per 9 with a life time ERA in the mid-4s as a reliever….you can probably add at least another run to that ERA if you put him in the rotation, which is pretty typical as guys have go through the order more than once and can’t throw with max effort.

      • El Bravo - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:22 AM

        Paper is on fire today. Jeff Samarkajdajfoidsafdsahfjkdfklajdfsakldv,adsv,dsanvashjd consistently and effectively starting is the epitomy of wishful thinking.

      • paperlions - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        Of course it is wishful thinking, the guy is a marginal reliever that can’t throw strikes….marginal starters that can’t throw strikes can be effective relievers, but if a guy already struggles in a limited role he is not a candidate for a larger roll.

  3. detroitcityryda - Mar 14, 2012 at 3:18 AM

    Dude should have chose football

  4. aceshigh11 - Mar 14, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    He looks like he walked straight off the “Dazed and Confused” set.

    “George Washington was in a cult, and the cult was into aliens, man.”

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:04 PM

      He looks like a damn swashbuckler.

  5. phatnate - Mar 14, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    6 decent innings in spring training and he’s now in the rotation. Really?? Who is writing this guys PR? Matthew Prouliot?

  6. El Bravo - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    In other news, Yu Darvish got knocked around a bit and gave up a couple walks in his latest outing. As a result, he’s been shipped back to Japan and the Rangers will eat his posting fee and contract b/c they just don’t like what they’ve seen in his six innings of work.

  7. mianfr - Mar 14, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    Look at that hair. He looks like a girl.

    Now where’s Jeff Francoeur? There’s a haircut you can set your watch to.

  8. ndrocks2 - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    Samardzija will go down as one of Hendry’s many bust especially as starter, best chance, middle reliever which are a dime a dozen but he can take delight that he will be the highest paid middle reliever. Control & stamina as a starter will continue to dog his career. Can’t blame him for taking the money and passing on football this is another Hendry problem we are left with.

  9. nightman13 - Mar 14, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Based on the picture, I will now refer to him as Jeff “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die” Samardzija

  10. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    Hoh hoh hoh, Pierre the French Pirate is heating up missles like cannons from the Black Pearl!

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