Cubs’ Samardzija ready to talk contract? “Absolutely not”Continue reading.
Cubs don’t believe contract issues affecting Samardzija
ST. LOUIS – The Cubs’ brass is counting on Jeff Samardzija’s recent struggles being short-lived as they continue to look ahead at a possible multi-year extension for their Opening Day starter.
“Last year he had a bad month as well,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “He got through it and threw really well at the end of the season. I’m hopeful he’s able to get through this down stretch and get going.”
Samardzija, who turned down a team-friendly extension offer last winter, has allowed 30 earned runs in 40 innings (6.75) in seven starts since the end of June, winning just once since June 23, with a 1.775 WHIP in that span.
Last year, he finished with a 2.58 ERA in 11 starts after the All-Star break, including 2.39 in his final seven – with a dominating, complete-game victory over Pittsburgh on Sept. 8 in his final start (as he reached a planned innings limit).
“Certainly last year, the way he finished up the season, in his last start showed he had a lot left in the tank. So I don’t think he’s getting tired. He might be pressing, but he’s gotten through this kind of stretch before as a starter, and I’m hopeful he’ll be able to do it again.”
It’s been well documented that Samardzija is a candidate to be shopped at the July trading deadline next year if the club can’t get a multi-year extension done before he goes into his final two seasons before free agency.
Samardzija admitted the uncertainty “weighs” on him at times, but says he doesn’t believe it affects his performance. And Hoyer doesn’t think so, either, he said.
“We’ve had some dialogue at different times, but nothing’s really changed on that front, so I don’t see why he would start pressing now as opposed to other times,” Hoyer said. “So I don’t see that as a huge issue. I certainly hope it’s not.”
After a career-worst start Thursday in Philadelphia, manager Dale Sveum said he wasn’t concerned about Samardzija’s recent inconsistencies.
And Friday the manager said there’s no plans to alter his pitching schedule down the stretch as he nears a career-high innings total for the second straight year. He’s 21 1/3 innings short of last year’s career high.
“We took the reins off obviously [this year], and there’s no holding back,” Sveum said. “As long as we feel he’s not getting tired or losing velocity or whatever it might be, we don’t have any plans to do anything.”