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Cubs made offer “well above” five years, $30 million to Jeff Samardzija

Mar 16, 2013, 7:15 PM EDT

Jeff Samardzija AP

The Cubs and Opening Day starter Jeff Samardzija are still far apart on a deal that would cover his remaining two years of arbitration, reports Jon Heyman. The club offered him a contract “well above” Rangers lefty Derek Holland‘s five-year, $30 million deal signed on March 20 last year.

Cubs president Theo Epstein isn’t worried, citing a shared interest in a continued partnership:

“He really wants to be here, and we really want to keep him, so I’m not worried about it,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said this spring.

Epstein isn’t kidding about Samardzija wanting to remain a Cub. In fact, Samardzija, a native of northwest Indiana (Valparaiso, ostensibly a Chicago exurb) doesn’t hide his love for the Cubs, or for Cubs bosses. Well beyond saying there’s “no bad blood,” he speaks glowingly of his bosses, the folks who gave him a chance to move from the bullpen into the rotation, setting in motion this big-bucks negotiation.

“It’s nice to work for people who want me here. I want to show they are not wrong,” Samardzija said earlier this spring. “A lot of it is up to me and how I perform on the field.”

The two sides avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a one-year, $2.64 contract.

Samardzija pitched out of the rotation exclusively for the first time his career in 2012 and had great results. He finished with a 3.81 ERA in 174.2 innings and was one of only 19 qualified NL starters to average three strikeouts for every one walk. Of those 19, he was one of three to also average a strikeout per inning of work.

  1. paperlions - Mar 16, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Wait a second….you are telling me that he moved from the bullpen to the rotation, and not only did his arm not fall off, but he thrived? No freaking way!

    Note that this happens all the time, people just ignore the fact when there is no injury….which is most of the time….as injuries occur to these guys about exactly as often as they occur for guys that stay in the bull pen.

    • tuberippin - Mar 17, 2013 at 4:06 AM

      Annually (as of last season), 50% of starters go on the DL with an injury, while only 34% of relievers do.

      • paperlions - Mar 17, 2013 at 11:35 AM

        Considering that starters average throwing 3-6 times as many pitches as relievers, that’s a pretty good gamble then, isn’t it? 300-600% of the return with only a 50% increase in risk of going on the DL.

      • tuberippin - Mar 17, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        I wasn’t trying to say that such a fact devalues your point; rather, I was attempting to convey that injuries to each type of pitcher do not occur “about exactly as often” for one as for the other.

      • paperlions - Mar 17, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        I was just clarifying the relative risk and reward….I really think it is pitching that causes injuries, no matter if you do it as a starter (when guys don’t throw max effort) or as a reliever (when guys tend to throw much closer to max effort).

      • tuberippin - Mar 17, 2013 at 4:44 PM

        Certainly is. It doesn’t take a specialized license to note that the overhand motion of pitching is anathema to proper biomechanical movement.

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