Free agent starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija and the Chicago Cubs have discussed the idea of a possible reunion this offseason, about 18 months after the Cubs dealt Samardzija to the Athletics. The right-hander spent the 2015 campaign on the other side of Chicago, pitching to the tune of a 4.96 ERA to go along with an 11-13 record for the Chicago White Sox.
In June of 2014, Cubs General Manager Theo Epstein offered Samardzija a massive extension to stay on the North Side. Despite being offered around $85 million over five seasons, Samardzija declined the offer with the mindset of testing the free agent waters following the 2015 season. Soon after, the Cubs ace was dealt to Oakland along with SP Jason Hammel, in return for prized shortstop prospect Addison Russell. Russell has become the shortstop of the future for the Cubs organization, and Epstein managed to re-sign Hammel in the offseason.
So, can the Cubs manage to lure Jeff Samardzija back to Chicago, in hopes of bolstering their rotation? According to Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago, Epstein and Samardzija have met to discuss a deal. Chicago Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio is a huge fan of the possible reunion, having been quoted saying, ¨I'd love to see Jeff Samardzija back in a Cubbie uniform." Although his numbers were much less than spectacular, the veteran righty still appears to be commanding a deal upwards of $100 million.
Despite the unexpected outbreak of NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta, The Cubs still need another top-of-the-rotation starter, and Samardzija is not that guy. Chicago has been included in the David Price and Jordan Zimmerman rumors, both of whom would have a much larger impact than Samardzija. However, the Cubs have enough money that they could add both a top-notch starter and Samardzija to their rotation for next season. Especially after announcing the plan for a Cubs television network beginning in 2020, which will bring in fantastic revenue, Chicago has more to spend now than they ever have before.
How much is Epstein willing to spend on the rotation? With the winter meetings beginning December 6th, Cubs fans should have an answer to that question in the next few weeks.