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“Grown man” Jeff Samardzija doesn’t want the Cubs front office involved in his pitch counts

May 8, 2014, 10:49 AM EDT

Jeff Samardzija Jeff Samardzija

Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija threw a career-high 126 pitches in Monday night’s loss to the White Sox and the next day reporters asked him and manager Rick Renteria about the wisdom of letting him have such a big workload early in the season.

There was also some indications that the Cubs’ front office wasn’t thrilled with Renteria for allowing the 126 pitches to happen, especially in cold weather, to which Samardzija said:

This is an on-field issue for uniform personnel. That’s all there is to it. I’m a grown man. I’m 29. I’m not a prospect or 22. I feel good. I think I’m grown up enough and responsible enough to understand when I can go and when I can’t go. … But just from what it’s sounding like, there was a response. For me, it’s just something that we need to handle here in the clubhouse.

Which is fine, except you’re never going to see a pitcher say any differently and, obviously, being “a grown man” doesn’t preclude anyone from wearing down physically over the course of a season or, say, needing Tommy John surgery. Toss in the ongoing speculation about the Cubs possibly trading Samardzija rather than signing him to a long-term extension and there’s plenty of tension surrounding him and the front office right now.

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  1. El Pollo Loco - May 8, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    Theo Epstein is a fraud he’ll be fired by next year.The cubs are a joke

    • larryboodry - May 8, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      No, trolls like you are a joke. But thanks for sharing your enlightened comments with the real fans on here.

    • Wesley Clark - May 8, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      The Cubs were a mess. It isn’t like Theo inherited the Yankees of the 1950s. The major league team is struggling, but the future looks incredibly bright with the talent in the minors (from an offensive standpoint anyways). This has been a rebuild from the ground up. As a lifelong Cubs fan I know a thing or two about patience. If Theo/Jed get fired by the end of next year it would be a really shortsighted decision by ownership.

      It is great to make blanket statements on the internet such as, “Theo is a fraud….” A fraud that won two (2!!!) World Series with a team that hadn’t won anything in a long time. I’ll take that fraud any day of the week.

    • senioreditor2 - May 8, 2014 at 12:01 PM

      Not only will he still be there in 2 years, they’ll probably be looking at Wild Card spot in the post season.

      • kastout11 - May 8, 2014 at 12:57 PM

        I’m a Cubs fan too, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. Right now, they are a bad baseball team. Although, it appears they have a bright future offensively, I think they are more than a year or 2 away from a wild card. If they trade Samadrzija, they will have no quality Major League starters in their rotation, which is why they might want to sign him to a long term deal.

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 8, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      Top 5 farm system in baseball without much consideration of the Cubs haul of international signings last July says Theo is doing quite well actually.

    • hockeyflow33 - May 8, 2014 at 5:32 PM

      Didn’t the Cubs have one of the worst farm systems when he was hired? I believe he’s turned it around in a fews years which should speak volumes about his ability.

      Teams don’t turn around in a few years and it’s short-sighted to keep hiring new GMs every 3 or 4 years.

  2. autmorsautlibertas - May 8, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    He may be a grown man, but as long as the Cubs are paying him, they own his arm, and have an interest in keeping it healthy.

  3. fm31970 - May 8, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    Cue up Chicago’s “I’m a man” the next time Samardzija takes the mound.

    126 is a lot of pitches, and Cubs management should be concerned with their manager overworking their top asset.

    • mckludge - May 8, 2014 at 3:49 PM

      “25 or 6 to 4” is also a typical Cubs score.

  4. Andee - May 8, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    The specter of Matt Garza’s comments seem to loom large here. If it wasn’t for Samardzija, the Cubs would be even worse than they already are. But Theo can build a winner anywhere, right?

    • chiadam - May 8, 2014 at 11:39 AM

      How? They never win when he pitches, anyway. Are they going to lose the same game twice when he’s traded?

  5. 1harrypairatesties - May 8, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    El Pollo Loco,

    You are a tool.

    All of Chicago

  6. chiefdt58 - May 8, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    should have gone to the nfl…

    • Wesley Clark - May 8, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      Pretty sure he is going to make a lot more money than he would have ever made in the NFL (and it is even guaranteed money!). There is also the little fact that once he retires from baseball he will be able to, you know, walk around without limping and not have had a dozen concussions. So to sum it up, he will make more money AND have a better quality of life after his playing career, but yeah,he should have definitely gone to the NFL instead.

  7. El Bravo - May 8, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    “Which is fine, except you’re never going to see a pitcher say any differently and, obviously, being “a grown man” doesn’t preclude anyone from wearing down physically over the course of a season or, say, needing Tommy John surgery.”

    Of course, there are many more TJ surgeries in all levels of baseball now than ever before. All of this in the current era of stricter pitch counts. So as this comment sounds sensical and is a common belief, clearly something is still off in terms of preventing pitcher ligament injuries.

    • Wesley Clark - May 8, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      That is an interesting point. There are a couple of reasons that come to mind right off the bat.
      1) Kids are throwing earlier and year round. The season never really ends with all the different travel teams and such. That has to cause more wear and tear over the long haul.
      2) I think, and this is speculation on my part, that kids are throwing breaking balls earlier than ever before. There could be some correlation there, but still speculative on my part.
      3) Modern medicine is better at detecting injuries. It used to be that you rubbed some dirt on it and got back out there. Ligament injuries are not the death sentence to a pitcher’s career that they once were.

    • paperlions - May 8, 2014 at 5:49 PM

      Look at the guys getting TJ surgery, almost all of them are young. The UCL doesn’t magically tear on the day that pitcher abuse happens, it is worn down by extensive use over years until it finally can’t handle the stress any longer….and the best available research shows that abuse at younger ages (especially as a teenager) contributes significantly to UCL damage and the likelihood of TJ surgery.

      In short, most of the guys were already busted before a MLB team drafted them, they did not break because of the pitch counts and work load management while in the majors or minors….they break because of the lack of work load management at levels before that (HS, college, travelling teams).

      • jeffbbf - May 8, 2014 at 10:37 PM

        There’s no “available research”. It’s all speculation and opinion.

  8. insidefastball - May 8, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    There are still some workhorse #1 starters in the league that you just don’t worry about. Teams can’t let every pitching decision be based upon Tommy John paranoia.

  9. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 8, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    If he threw 116 pitches, nobody would be discussing this at all. Do those last 10 pitches really change the narrative this much?

    I didn’t see the game, so I don’t know if he was laboring or dealing with long innings or anything, but 126 over 9 innings averages out to about 14 pitches per inning. That seems pretty reasonable.

    • cktai - May 8, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      Well it is commonly believed that the real issue is not throwing a lot of pitches, but it is throwing a lot of pitchers tired. So while the difference is only 10 pitches, those do come when they have the biggest impact. Might be better to see it as 26 rather than 16 pitches over 100.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 8, 2014 at 1:56 PM

        14 pitches per inning does not sound grueling. He was getting his little breaks in there. And it does seem that the pitcher and the staff on the field would be best able to assess his level of fatigue. If he felt good, and his mechanics looked normal, why not throw a little extra?

      • jwbiii - May 8, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        It’s actually easier to see on TV than from from the dugout, or at least from a seat behind the dugout. A pitcher’s drive leg will start to flail in his follow through on fastballs. At that point, wake up the bullpen. Easy to see from behind, tough to see from the side.

  10. someguyinva - May 8, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    His words would carry more weight if he’d played for Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State.

    • fm31970 - May 8, 2014 at 11:55 PM

      “I’m a man, I’m 40!”

      I must admit that also went through my head.

  11. bolweevils2 - May 8, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    Like Aaron says, every pitcher is always going to say they are good to go, regardless of whether it’s true or not, because that’s what’s expected of them. In baseball circles it looks bad if you ever say your done and want to be taken out. So his opinion shouldn’t matter for squat. It’s all the manager and the pitching coach.

    Unless there is some acceptable code for saying your finished. Like “I think I can go another inning” means take me out while “I’m still throwing great, let me stay” means you really do think you’re good for another inning.

  12. mikhelb - May 8, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    Samardzija is right, only him and his coaches can determine wheter he can pitch after his count got to 100 or not. The Cubs are paying him, sure, but they do not “own him” nor they have a say on whether he is tired or not.

    As for risking a TJ for overuse: check the amount of relievers who have needed a TJ surgery, and it wasn’t because they threw too many pitches. Uninformed opinions like “oou too many pitches, thats not good” are garbage, first inform yourselves on the potential reasons why pitchers get hurt, not because in MLB everybody decided the pitch counts were the reason means they are right.

  13. moogro - May 9, 2014 at 4:35 AM

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