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#pounditThursday, February 29, 2024

Jeff Samardzija rejected Cubs extension because he was ‘sick’ of hearing about future


San Francisco Giants pitcher Jeff Samardzija was one of the mainstays of the Chicago Cubs during their more recent lean years. Now, he admits that he’d have stayed if he could have seen their renaissance coming, but simply got tired of being fed promises about the future.

“If I had a fortune teller, I probably would have stayed,” Samardzija told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. “But you have no idea, man. I remember coming up, it was always the talk about prospects.

“It was the easy thing to do. You can always sell the future, and people always buy it. It’s a great way to rebuild, and I understand that. But as a veteran guy, it was becoming a joke.”

Samardzija was part of the Cubs’ previous bright future that went to the playoffs in 2007 and 2008, but the struggles returned. President Theo Epstein embarked on an ambitious rebuilding plan, but when the Cubs offered him an $80 million extension in 2014, he simply wasn’t buying what they were trying to sell.

“I just got so sick of hearing about it,” Samardzija said. “They had to do what they had to do, but as a professional, you always want to be competing, not hearing some rhetoric every year.

“There are certain things you don’t forget.”

It turns out Epstein and co. got the last laugh. The Cubs traded Samardzija for a haul that included shortstop Addison Russell, the rest of their prospects matured, and they finally went all-in with the acquisitions of Jon Lester after 2014 and Jason Heyward after 2015. Samardzija admits that he didn’t see it coming.

“It was a risky plan, right, counting on the draft and Cuban guys and things like that,” Samardzija said. “They spent money to get guys. They hit on the guy Bryant who’s a difference maker. (Anthony) Rizzo came on. Now, they’re rolling.

“They will always be in my heart. I’ll take pride in what they do because I’m a Chicago guy. You always want to see your boys do well, until we play against them.”

The Cubs offered Samardzija a short-term deal this offseason, but he opted for financial security and long-term home the Giants offered.

Samardzija’s comments read somewhat harshly at first, but the Cubs’ rebuild was a risky one and, frankly, the trade involving him was a big part of why it is currently paying dividends. He’s been on three teams in the last two seasons, so it’s easy to understand why he wanted the guarantee of a long-term home. Plus, if you know anything about Samardzija, you know that he was plenty devoted to the Cubs when he was there. The timing just didn’t quite work out for player and club, and there are clearly no hard feelings.


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