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Matt Garza’s advice to Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija: “Pitch your way out of there”

Apr 27, 2014, 1:34 PM EDT

matt garza getty Getty Images

From Patrick Mooney of

MILWAUKEE – Matt Garza has a simple message for Jeff Samardzija: “Pitch your way out of there.”

The Cubs used to be a destination, but now it sounds more like a place where the inmates are hoping for early parole. Just ask Garza, who escaped last summer, getting traded to the Texas Rangers in the heat of a pennant race.

This was after the Cubs fell to the Brewers 5-3 on Saturday night in Milwaukee and dropped to 10 1/2 game back in the National League Central standings.

Samardzija owns a stellar 1.53 ERA in five starts this season but doesn’t have a win.

“I told him: ‘It doesn’t matter, dude. You play in Chicago,'” Garza said late Saturday. “I was there and I lost 30 wins in three seasons. So it’s not your fault. Just pitch your way out of it. … There’s nothing else you can do. … I’m hoping the best for him. He’s a young kid who deserves a shot to maybe go win something.”

Samardzija is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2015 season. Negotiations about a long-term extension have not gone far, and the thought is that he might be traded at some point this summer.

  1. groupofsevenrules - Apr 27, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    He’s in the same situation in his extension talks with the Cubs that the Iron Giant is in with regard to the Feesh. I don’t know if Samardja wants to get away from Wrigley as badly as the Iron Giant wants to escape from Macondo, but I suspect they’ll both drive bargains hard enough to be better trade bait than expensive ornaments on teams that are going nowhere.

    • Old Gator - Apr 27, 2014 at 2:04 PM

      Hey sev – I don’t know if their service time is the same or if their relationships with their teams are the same, either. Samardja has every right to be frustrated and disappointed, but if the Cubs are inept, they’re at least trying. I don’t know if Samardja has ever made any comments about that, though. The Iron Giant doesn’t even believe that the Feesh are serious about building a winner and has explicitly said so. I’m sure the big guy doesn’t want to leave any money on the table; he might sign an extension through his arbitration years for a bundle that would gagg an egg-eating snake, but I cannot imagine he would sign away his walk year for any amount.

      • vivabear - Apr 27, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        It’s “Samardzija” – you morons.

      • happytwinsfan - Apr 27, 2014 at 3:35 PM

        You’re slipping viva. Personally knowing dozens of “morons” and “retards”, I can’t speak for gator or group, but I would consider it a compliment to be called a “moron” or “retard”. Unfortunately, however I would not be able to return the compliment.

      • Old Gator - Apr 27, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        And what kind of moron spells “sewer” v-i-v-a?

      • happytwinsfan - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:33 PM

        me gator, because, as you understand, i aspire to be a “moron”.

  2. raysfan1 - Apr 27, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    Samardzija is on record that he won’t re-sign early at below-market rate, at least what he sees as below-market for his services. He claims it’s to protect future ball players and some see to buy it (Bill Baer).
    [“Without a doubt,” Samardzija said. “I’ve said it before: Personally, numbers and money don’t really drive me. What does drive me is protecting and setting up the players behind me, the future generations, so that I’m not signing any of these crummy early deals for seven or eight years.”]
    I say baloney. He will either follow the money because that’s what drives him, or he will follow what he thinks is most likely to get him to the postseason, or both. Concern for the incomes of future players will be a distant third when he signs his next contract, at most.

    • Old Gator - Apr 27, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      Wel-l-l, I don’t know. The pressure on him from the player’s association, now that he’s opened his mouth on the subject, to hold the line he’s drawn will be enormous. I recall that Jim Thome caved into it when he signed with the Feelies because they offered the biggest deal, even though I seem to recall that he wanted to be somewhere closer to his family.

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 27, 2014 at 8:26 PM

        It turned out all right. We adopted him in Philly so he had another family.

    • jeffbbf - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:47 PM

      Jeez, we’re not talking Tom Seaver here. The guy’s thrown 5 good games. 35 innings. Against some pretty crappy and/or cold offenses (pgh/az/cin/stl and phl). His k/9 is under 7. He started out hot last year and quickly came back to crap once the weather heated up. He’s 29. He’s never had an all-star year. This is the best thing possible for the Cubs. The hype is strong. Get as much as possible for him before he turns back into a pumpkin.

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:33 PM

      What gets me is that he will sign for a lot of money and I don’t know why…

      Yes, pitching is ALWAYS needed in baseball.

      To date, his CAREER ERA+ is 100. Exactly league average…

      Yes, teams need arms in the #3 and #4 spot in the rotation depending on how strong their rotation is… but an exact league average pitcher is NOT who you break the bank for…

      His CAREER NL ERA is over 4… many guys pitch in the AL and have lower ERA’s than that…

      Also, he will be 30 yrs old next yr and 31 yrs old for the season when he is a free agent.

      Usually ones seasons from 27 to 31 or so are their BEST seasons in pro baseball and he will BEGIN his next contract at 31.

      Yes, he will get paid millions and millions, but I get the feeling that he will be OVER paid and I mean relative to the game and regular Joe’s in society…

      His best years, well he’s still in his peak, have only gotten him to a 4 ERA in the NL and a league average ERA+

      A.J. Burnette, not the greatest pitcher ever we all know (just ask Yanks fans). In A.J.’s NL years ONLY, his career NL ERA is 3.59 and his career NL ERA+ is 110.

      A.J. has pitched much better overall than Samardzija has. A.J. has a lower career WHIP too.

      When you compare Jeff to his similarity scores, the list will NOT bowl you over…yet he thinks he’s worth more than he is… (that’s my feeling anyway).

  3. djpostl - Apr 27, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    A. Garza is a clown who has rarely, if ever, lived up to the hype. B. The Cubs will taste a serious post-season run long before the Brewers will I bet.

    Epstein may not walk on water like some seem to think, but the dude has a plan. The farm system is starting to flourish and will only get better when they inevitably fleece some team in a tarde for Samardzija imo.

    • andrewploessl - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:36 AM

      Replace “Garza” with “Epstein” in point A…

      Farm system hasn’t proven anything if:
      A. None of the lower level teams win their leagues.
      B. You don’t move any of the ‘prospects’ up, just hype them up.

  4. yourcubreporter - Apr 27, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    Glad Garza went away, he was injured half the time he played for the Northsiders. His only value to the team was the prospects the Cubs got for him. Shark is asking for #1 starter money, but he isn’t worth it. Just because you may be the best pitcher on the staff doesn’t make you an Ace. The Cubs are playing this smart and refusing to overspend.

    My message to Garza: glad you’re gone.

    My message to Samardzija: follow Garza’s advice and pitch your way out. Good luck on your next team.

  5. mantastic54 - Apr 27, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    I think it’s just a bit of a stretch for garza to claim playing for the cubs cost him 30 wins in 3 years

    • Francisco (FC) - Apr 27, 2014 at 8:28 PM

      On the other hand I’m nearly positive Cliff Lee can make the claim, hyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

  6. chacochicken - Apr 27, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    Young kid? Garza is only about a year older than Jeff. I guess that’s how he got “lost 30 wins” with that math.

  7. labfan30 - Apr 27, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    I love idiots like this. Look, I’m a fan of the Rockies. They suck and I know it, I just want to point out I’m not a die hard Cubs fan. Let’s analyze Garza here:

    1) I lost 30 wins in three years:

    Garza started 60 games in his three years with the Cubs. He went 21-18 in those starts. I guess he’s trying to say he should have went 51-9 with a different team?

    2) Since leaving the Cubs he is 5-7.

    Wins area stupid stat, but so is being an idiot about it.

    As for the Cubs, they have a great front office who is rebuilding them piece by piece. They have a deep farm system full of hitters. As hitters are usually easier to see in the minors than pitchers, it’s not a huge statement to say they’ll probably have one of the best offenses in the league within the next five years. They may even get there in time to beat Garza’s brains in.

    Good pitcher, but get over yourself.

  8. boyofzimmer - Apr 27, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    He talks about winning after signing with the Brewers?! His actions don’t exactly match his words, but then Garza’s always has been an impulsive, petulant, ADHD annoyance. Good riddance!

  9. zdravit - Apr 27, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    Welp, the city is an absolute sh!thole.

    • yourcubreporter - Apr 27, 2014 at 9:30 PM

      Wait, which city?

  10. chiadam - Apr 27, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    Garza has pitched his way out of every place he’s ever been. He never lives up to the hype, he never shuts up, and teams get tired of his act. Whining about how many wins he lost only begins to illustrate what a monumental jerkoff he is. Good riddance.

  11. uknownothingatall - Apr 27, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    The cubs owner is just stealing millions from their dumb fans every year. Relying on a bunch of so-called prospects that will continue to fail.

    • chiadam - Apr 27, 2014 at 5:29 PM

      Do you think about these things before you actually type them? First, attendance at Wrigley Field has taken a big hit each of the last few years. Second, the fans are extremely aware of what is going on. We understand that money is being diverted from the big league payroll to other places. Third, everyone that makes their living scouting and analyzing minor league systems raves about what the Cubs have coming.

  12. idolized1 - Apr 27, 2014 at 7:45 PM

    Is it just me, or does Matt Garza seem like a total douche?

  13. rythestunner - Apr 27, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    Matt Garza is just bitter that nobody wants to keep or extend him. The Cubs absolutely cashed in on trading him to the Rangers for 2 1/2 months. They’re not the least bit sorry that he’s no longer with the team.

  14. keltictim - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:56 AM

    Jeff was such a good wide receiver at ND, I would have loved to see what he could have done in the NFL.

    I can’t see Theo doing anything other than trading Jeff for prospects. Loading up the farm system is what allowed 2004 to happen, the same could be done in Chicago, but he’s going to have to stick to his gameplan and not deviate at all.

  15. psousa1 - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    Out of habit Theo is going to call John Henry and ask him if he would extend him 200 million to sign Samardijza.

  16. poordanisinadroop - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    Wow so cubs management has at least convinced its moronic fan base into giving up on saying “this is the year” and start saying “five years from now will be the year”. Nice job.

  17. irishdodger - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:41 PM

    Samardzija will definitely be trade bait & based on his age and career numbers, I’d say the Cubs would be smart to do so. He may have a fewer amount of miles on his arm than most pitchers his age depending on how much he threw in college.

    As unselfish as his motives claim to be, he will buckle to the MLBPA’s demands when it comes down to it. They’re the most powerful union in America.

    The difference between Garza & Shark is that Shark grew up a Cubs fan and is a Midwestern kid. Also, while they both have earned millions, Samardzija has a degree from Notre Dame so it’s not like he’d be relegated to coaching HS ball.

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