Archive | Jeff Samardzija

With Price and Zimmermann Off the Table, Where Do Cubs Go From Here?

Posted on 03 December 2015 by Bob

Well the off-season is officially under way as Jordan Zimmermann and David Price both locked up long-term, high-dollar contracts with the Tigers and Red Sox, respectively. While many had Chicago pegged as Price’s destination, the Red Sox made sure they got their man by blowing all other clubs away with their offer of $217 million over seven years and most likely overpaying in the process. But, that is what you do when your club lacks a clear #1 starter and ended last year in the basement of a highly competitive division; two problems which the Cubs do not have.

Their fall back, Zimmermann, was essentially the first of the tier-1 free agents off the board with his deal becoming of a pitcher with a 3.32 ERA over the last seven seasons and who has been a top-ten pitcher in N.L. over that time. So the Cubs missed out, or rather chose not to throw gobs of money at these two free agents who would certainly have been welcome additions to an already promising club. That’s OK. The Cubs didn’t need to over pay and tie up money that could be used elsewhere; cash that can be applied a bit more thoughtfully to help flesh out next year’s team. There is more than one way to go about acquiring starting pitching and a new center fielder. There will still be free agent acquisitions but now trades have also become a possibility as well. The Padres’ Tyson Ross and Atlanta’s Shelby Miller come to mind as two young pitchers who would be worth exploring as options.


So where do the Cubs go from here?

A lot of signs point to the Cubs going hard after Cardinals free agent right fielder, Jason Heyward. He’s only 26 and while he would command a hefty price tag, wouldn’t you rather spend big on an excellent, YOUNG, defensive outfielder with a pretty good bat than a pitcher on the wrong side of 30? I am all for this, someone to get on base ahead of the nuclear power behind him in Bryant, Rizzo, Schwarber etc. Spending on Heyward may mean picking up a few cheaper options as back end starters but isn’t that what the Cubs need anyways? We have our top two in Arrieta and Lester, it’s the depth that needs help. Acquiring a guy like John lackey makes a ton of sense on a good deal, and the same goes for Jeff Samardzija, although from the sound of things, he thinks he won’t be all that cheap.

Jason heyward

There is still a lot action left; moves to be made, dominoes to fall, but my estimation is that losing out on Price and Zimmerman may be a blessing in disguise. They didn’t go to division rivals or even stay in the same league and the Cubs didn’t break the bank and hamstring themselves. Money will be at a premium in coming years as our young talent grows and it is imperative to continue making the smart moves, rather than the flashy ones. Now, the Cubs can spend some of that money on pieces that make more sense and hopefully enable us to keep some of the depth and redundancy we have in our infield.


Stay Tuned…The trickle of moves could become a stream in the next few weeks.

Let’s Go Cubs!

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Does Jeff Samardzija Have What it Takes to a Starter at the Major League Level?

Posted on 12 October 2009 by Lou

jeff samardzija iowa

Jeff Samardzija still thinks he has what it takes to be a starter in the Cubs rotation in 2010 – now he just needs to go out and show it.  After a rough 2009, he’ll have even a tougher time than he had in Spring Training this past year given the competition.  Samardzija appeared in 20 games for the Cubs during the course of the 2009 MLB schedule (including 2 starts).  He had a 1-3 record with a hefty 7.53 ERA (29 ER) and 1.76 WHIP in 34 2/3 innings pitched.  Teams batted .329 against Samardzija with 7 home runs and his strikeout to walk ratio was not great – 25 to 21.  Compare that to his 2008 numbers in his rookie year, and there is a stark contrast:

1-0 record; 2.28 ERA (7 ER) and 1.41 WHIP in 27 2/3 innings pitched; .226 opponents’ batting average with a 25-15 strikeout to walk ratio; 1 save with 3 blown saves.

So what went wrong in 2009?  Was it simply a sophomore jinx, does he not really have what it takes to pitch at this level, or at the age of 24, does he still need more minor league time to work on developing more pitches like a changeup or cutter that will keep batters more off-guard?  It’s unclear right now, but Samardzija will continue to work on throwing this offseason, playing winter ball in the Mexico league for Triple-A manager Bobby Dickerson.

Manager Lou Pinella had good things to say about the youngster: “The kid needs to pitch winter ball.  He’s on the right path… He just needs to work on the things he’s working on and get more consistent with it, and winter ball will give him that opportunity… Starting-wise, I think he’ll be able to throw all of his pitches and I think he can get better quicker.  When you pitch out of the bullpen, you’re only pitching an inning, two innings at a time, so you basically go after the hitter with one or two pitches.  Starting-wise, you have to develop all of your pitches and repertoire.”

The Cubs are pretty much locked into 4 starters in 2010 – Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells.  The 5th starter role will likely come down to Tom Gorzellany, Samardzija, Sean Marshall and Angel Guzman.  Gorzellany made some nice starts in 2009 after coming over in a trade from the Pirates; Marshall won the 5th starter’s role in 2009, but Pinella moved him to the bullpen after Neal Cotts’ was hurt because the Cubs needed a lefty reliever out of the pen; and Guzman pitched well in the bullpen in 2009 and will likely serve a similar role in 2010.  So it will be interesting to see how it all pans out in Spring Training in 2010.  Samardzija can improve his chances with a good showing in winter ball in the Mexico League, so we’ll keep you posted how he is throwing later this month…

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Cubs Playing Poorly Like the Weather

Posted on 02 October 2009 by Lou

Pirates Cubs Baseball

Ticket brokers let out a collective sigh of relief last night as the Cubs-Pirates game was delayed and then postponed after just 3 innings of play on Thursday night at Wrigley Field.  One of our sponsors – – was thrilled with the decision to cancel the game without any make up date since the season has been over for a while now.  Those unsold tickets will now either be refunded or can be used as a credit towards future Cubs tickets purchases in 2010.  Hip hip hooray!  Jeff Samardzija was the other winner as the 3 runs and 3 hits he gave up in the 1st inning were washed out of the record book with the rain out.

The Cubs were back on the field on Friday to take on the Diamondbacks, but they might as well have stayed at home today.  Tom Gorzelanny looked like the pitcher that the Cubs used to beat on every game, giving up 6 ER on 7 hits and 1 walk in 3 innings.  Jeff Stevens, David Patton and Aaron Heilman struggled out of the bullpen, combining to give up 5 runs. The Cubs bats didn’t do much better.  The Cubs managed just 7 hits in the game, as they scored all 3 of their runs in the 7th inning.  Koyie Hill was the only player with more than 1 hit for the Cubs.

Man I can’t wait for this season to be over…

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Lilly, Zambrano, Cubs Struggle in Double-header Loss to Pirates at Wrigley Field

Posted on 01 October 2009 by Lou

APTOPIX Pirates Cubs Baseball

This image of Sam Fuld and Micah Hoffpauir colliding in the outfield sums up the Cubs 2009 MLB schedule perfectly. Ted Lilly and Carlos Zambrano each struggled in their final 2009 starts, as the Cubs dropped a double-header to the Pirates at Wrigley Field on Thursday.  Guess that really sums up what a bad 2009 the Cubs organization has endured.

In the opener, Lilly gave up all 4 runs in the 1st inning.  After that, he settled down and pitched 7 innings, giving up just a total of 5 hits and 2 walks.  He struck out 8.  Lilly will end the year with 12 wins, a 3.10 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP.  The sad part was that the Cubs bats were silenced by rookie Charlie Morton.  Just 5+ weeks ago, the Cubs lit up Morton for 10 ER on 7 hits in just 1 inning of work.  How he goes from that to a complete game 4-hit shutout against the same team is mind-boggling.  Just proves how inconsistent the Cubs have been at the plate in 2009.

In the nightcap, the team did not fare much better.  Zambrano pitched just 6 innings because of a high pitch count (117 pitches).  Big Z walked 4 and ended up giving up 4 ER and 6 hits.  Zambrano suffered his 7th loss of the season, and it will be the 1st time in 6 seasons that Carlos does not end up with double-digit wins.  Very disappointing from your supposed ace.

Esmailin Caridad had another perfect inning of relief work and now has a 1.56 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP.  Carlos Marmol, on the other hand, continued to struggle when not in a save situation.  Marmol gave up a leadoff  home run in the 9th inning and 2 walks before recording the 27th and final Pirates out of the night.

Jeff Samardzija will make another spot start in the series finale against the Pirates on Thursday night at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs are still stuck on 82 wins…

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Samardzija Looks Better, But Cubs Still Lose to Brewers

Posted on 24 September 2009 by Lou

Cubs Brewers Baseball

The Cubs could not complete the sweep of the Brewers in Miller Park on Wednesday night as Jeff Samardzija suffered his 3rd loss of the 2009 MLB schedule.  Although Samardzija has had a disappointing 2009 (like the Cubs), he looked better in the 5 innings that he pitched against the Brewers.  He only gave up 5 hits, 2 of which were home runs.  One to Prince Fielder and one to Jody Gerut.  He had 1 walk and 3 strikeouts and seemed to be in more control of his pitches throughout the night.  Since being called back up to the major league level in September, however, Samardzija has pitched 7 innings and given up 5 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks.  Overall, Samardzija is 1-3 on the year with a 7.53 ERA and 1.76 WHIP.  Not really sure where the Cubs see Samardzija long-term (reliever or starter), but 2010 could be a big year for Jeff.  He needs to show more consistent control all throughout the season and he needs to show a better strikeout to walk ratio.

The Cubs managed just 7 hits against Chris Narveson and 4 Brewers relievers.  Jeff Baker had 2 hits for the Cubs to raise his batting average to .302.  In addition to a Jeff Samardzija solo home run in the 6th inning, Bobby Scales drove in Baker with the Cubs only other run.

The Cubs finish up their final road trip of the 2009 season with a 4-game weekend set against the Giants in San Francisco.  Ryan Dempster duels Brad Penny in the tonight’s opener.

Cubs Brewers Baseball

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Randy Wells Rebounds; Another Day Another HR for Derrek Lee

Posted on 23 September 2009 by Lou

Cubs Brewers Baseball

Randy Wells likes pitching against the Brewers in Miller Park in Milwaukee.  Wells made his major league debut against the Brewers back on May 8th and pitched 5 scoreless innings giving up just 5 hits and 2 walks.  Although he got a no decision in that start, and took the loss in 3 of his first 7 starts without getting a win, Wells has been one of the Cubs most consistent pitchers all season long.  He picked up his 11th win of the season by beating the Brewers 7-2 on Tuesday night.  Wells regained his control after walking 5 Brewers in last week’s 7-4 loss at Wrigley Field.  Wells did not walk a single batter in 6 innings, and he gave up just 1 run on 7 hits in a solid outing.  The lone run scored on a solo home run by Prince Fielder.  Wells has a 3.00 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP and looks to have solidified a spot as a starter in the Cubs 2010 starting rotation.  He has held the opposition to just 2 ER or less in 17 of his 25 starts – pretty damn good.

On the offensive side, Derrek Lee just keeps on hitting.  Lee hit another HR – his 35th of the season – and with 2 more RBI’s, he set a career high with 109 RBI’s on the season.  Lee’s average well above .300 now at .310 and he has put together a solid individual season despite the daily turmoil in the Cubs locker room on a daily basis.

Esmailin Caridad also pitched a scoreless inning of relief.  Caridad gave up 1 hit and struck out 1 Brewers batter.

The Cubs have now won 3 straight and look to sweep the Brewers with Jeff Samardzija making a spot start for Ted Lilly (left shoulder tendinitis) in the series finale on Wednesday night.

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Zambrano’s Messy 5th Costs Him 9th Win; But Lee Leads Way Again

Posted on 16 September 2009 by Lou

Brewers Cubs Baseball

Carlos Zambrano – what in the world are we going to do with you?  Big Z is simply an enigma.  If somone could work with him to get his head on straight, Zambrano could be one of the best pitchers in baseball.  Instead, we get Carlos Zambrano being Carlos Zambrano.  The 2009 version – 8-6 record in 25 starts.  A good 3.94 ERA, but a startling high 1.43 WHIP.  132 strikeouts in 148+ innings, but also 70 walks.  Not the numbers of the ace of your staff, someone who is set to make $18 million per season for the next 3 years.  It’s not bad enough that the Cubs are locked into bad contracts with Alfonso Soriano, Milton Bradley and Kosuke Fukodome.  But now we have to worry about how many stints Big Z is going to spend on the DL trying to swing the bat too hard.

Uggghhhh – – it is so frustrating.  Last night, the Cubs offense took advantage of a wild Brewers staff – 11 hits, 12 walks, 3 HBP, 2 wild pitches – and took a 4-0 lead by the end of the 4th inning.  But for some reason, Big Z crapped the bed in the top of the 5th inning.  After getting the 1st 2 outs, Zambrano gave up a hit to the pitcher Giovanni Gallardo and he lost his cool.  Zambrano followed that up with a walk, 2 hits, a wild pitch, another walk and then an error by Ryan Theriot at shortstop that would have ended the inning.  We know how Big Z feels about his teammates making errors, so he let the next batter get a 2-run single to give the Brewers a 5-4 lead.  Now granted, the last 2 runs should not have scored because of the Theriot error, but come on.  Five runs on 6 hits and 4 walks over 5 innings of work – 105 pitches ???!!! – is not acceptable from your alleged ace.  Someone has gotta get through to this guy.

Luckily the Cubs offense rallied the troops for a come-from-behind win, and the Cubs bullpen (save for Jeff Samardzija who has had just a brutal 2009 – 1-2 record, 7.89 ERA, 1.85 WHIP, 26 ER on 41 hits and 14 walks in just 29 2/3 innings) turned in another solid 3 innings of scoreless relief.  Aaron Heilman pitched a scoreless inning of relief and has now given up just 2ER in his last 9 outings (12 innings).  And can you see the 26-year old Esmailin Caridad setting up for Carlos Marmol in 2010?  After a rough major league debut in Colorado on August 10th, Caridad has been lights-out in his next 6 appearances.  And since being called back to the major league level on September 8th, Caridad has pitched 4 scoreless innings, giving up just 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 2.  I know he is raw and young, but a good off-season could solidify his spot on the 2010 Cubs.

As for the bats, the Brewers pitching was just awful.  But give Derrek Lee some credit.  Lee was patient at the plate – 2 for 2 with 3 RBI’s and 1 run scored.  He also walked 4 times.  Geovany Soto’s bat has shown some of the pop from his 2008 Rookie of the Year campaign – 2 for 5 with 3 RBI’s and 2 runs scored, including his 11th homer of the season.  Ryan Theriot’s bat has cooled off a little bit of late, but he had 4 walks as well on Tuesday night and scored 3 runs.  Theriot also stole his 18th base of the year.

Not a lot to get excited about, but we’ll take the positives where we can get them…

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Phillies Sweep Cubs @ Wrigley Field – – This is Getting Ugly Fast

Posted on 13 August 2009 by Lou

Phillies Cubs Baseball

Wow – how a season can turn.  Heading into last Friday’s game against the Rockies, the Cubs were tied for 1st place in the NL Central and just 2 games out of the NL Wild Card race.  6 losses in 7 game later, and the Cubs find themsleves in a very difficult situation.

On Wednesday night, the Phillies crushed the Cubs 12-5, behind a solid outing by Pedro Martinez.  Martinez made his 1st start of the 2009 MLB schedule and pitched 5 innings, allowing 3 ER on 7 hits and 1 walk.  He struck out 5.  Once again, the Cubs had scoring chances early, but failed to take advantage of the situations – they left 13 runners on base. Ryan Theriot was the only Cub player with more than 1 hit and he raised his batting average to .300 even.  Theriot and Derrek Lee have been the only consistent hitters for the Cubs all season long.  Starter Jeff Samardzija -3 1/3 innings, 7 ER on 8 hits (1 HR) – and Sean Marshall – 3 1/3 innings, 5 ER on 6 hits (2 HR’s) and 3 walks – were downright awful.  The Cubs sent Samardzija down to Triple-A Iowa after the loss.

In Thursday afternoon’s series finale, Cliff Lee shut the Cubs down with ease.  Lee won his 3rd straight since coming over in a trade from the Cleveland Indians.  Lee hasn’t allowed more than 1 ER in any of the 3 starts.  Not too shabby.  The Cubs did have 6 hits and 3 walks against Lee, but struck out 8 times and left 16 runners on base.  Jeff Baker had 2 hits and 2 walks and scored the only run for the Cubs on Ryan Theriot’s RBI single in the 5th inning.  Ryan Dempster lost his 6th game for the Cubs this season.  He pitched 7 innings which gave the Cubs bullpen a welcome rest.  He gave up 6 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks, and he struck out 8 Phillies hitters.  Justin Berg who was called up from Triple-A Iowa to take the place of Samardzija pitched the games final 2 innings.  In his major league debut, Berg allowed 2 hits and a walk but did not allow a run.

With the sweep, the Cubs are now 4.5 games behind the Cardinals for 1st place in the NL Central and 5.0 games behind the Colorado Rockies in the NL Wild Card race.  There’s always next year Cubs fans – although with essentially the same team locked in for 2010, it’s hard to imagine much better results in 2010…

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This Team Sucks – Pinella Rothschild Out of Ideas

Posted on 11 August 2009 by Lou

Cubs Rockies Baseball

The Cubs wrapped up a dismal 4-6 road trip by losing 3 of 4 to the wild card leading Rockies in Denver.  The Rockies outscored the Cubs 33-18 in the series, as the Cubs fell 3 games behind the Cardinals for 1st place in the NL Central and 3 games behind the Rockies for the NL wild card lead.  Can you say “Game Over”!

Manager Lou Pinella and pitching coach Larry Rothschild are out of ideas and probably already thinking about their golf games in October.  To make matters worse, with the still-pending sale of the Cubs, there’s really not much that the Cubs will be able to do in the off-season to turn things around for the 2010 MLB schedule.  The outfield is set – Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukodome and Milton Bradley all have years left on their deals.  The pitching staff is set – Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster all have years left on their deals, as does Randy Wells who is not even arbitration-eligible yet.  The Cubs will have to decide on Rich Harden, but the 5th starter slot could be filled from within – Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija, Tom Gorzelanny etc.  The infield is also set – Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee at the corners, Ryan Theriot at shortstop and Geovany Soto behind the plate.  Koyie Hill has established himself as a dependable catcher as well.  So the only real question mark in the infield is the 2nd base position, where Mike Fontenot has clearly shown that he is not capable of being a consistent, productive every day player.

Unless the Cubs could pull off a trade to move an outfielder – probably having to assume some of the money that GM Jim Hendry overpaid to each of Soriano, Fukodome and Bradley – the Cubs will be stuck.  And that doesn’t mean good things for 2010.

Sorry Cubs fans – hate to be brutally honest, but we could be in for a rough stretch for a few years to come.

Oh yeah – what about the 11-5 Cubs loss to the Rockies on Monday night?  Aw, who cares anyway.  It was more of the same.  No clutch hitting, poor fielding, and bad pitching.  Sound familiar?!

Cubs Rockies Baseball

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Cubs Doing Their Best to Avoid 2009 Post-Season Play

Posted on 10 August 2009 by Lou

Cubs Rockies Baseball

I was just way too irritated to even do a post on Sunday.  This could be one of the most frustrating Cubs teams to follow in the last few years.  No clutch hitting, no concentration, no desire to win, no emotion, no nothing.  Unless the Cardinals lose the rest of their games, I don’t see how this team will be able to win a 3rd straight NL Central crown.

The Cubs actually showed some grit in Saturday’s 6-5 win.  The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the 4th inning on a Kosuke Fukodme double and a Ryan Dempster walk, only to have Dempster give back 4 runs right away in the bottom of the inning.  But the Cubs responded with 4 runs in the next 3 innings to take a 6-4 lead.  As they had done so many times earlier this season – Angel Guzman, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Greeg worked relatively easy scoreless innings of relief to preserve the 6-5 win.

Looking to build off the big win after losing Friday night, the Cubs looked to Randy Wells to put forth another solid start.  Wells had one of his worst outings of the year, and although the Cubs generated numerous scoring chances against Jason Hammel early in the game, they could only push across 3 runs in the game’s 1st 5 innings despite racking up an incredible 11 hits.  No clutch hitting once again, and the Cubs found themselves trailing 8-3 by the end of the 6th inning.  Wells ended up giving up 5 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks in 5 1/3 innings, while Jeff Stevens got lit up for 4 ER on 5 hits and 1 walk in his 1 inning of work that spanned the 6th and 7th innings.  All in all, it was bad day for the Cubs.

The loss pushed the Cubs 3 games behind the Cardinals for 1st place in the NL Central.  The Cards took care of business sweeping a weekend series over the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

Carlos Zambrano is back on the DL with lower back soreness that could have been aggravated by over-swinging during batting practice before Friday’s game.  Does Big Z realize he is a pitcher 1st and that the Cubs already have starting pitcher Ted Lilly on the DL?  Obviously not.  Big Z is scheduled to come off the DL on Friday, August 21st and Jeff Samardzija will likely make 2 starts during Big Z’s absence.

Aramis Ramirez has been dealing with right shoulder soreness from his early season dislocated shoulder.  Ramirez left Saturday’s game early and Jake Fox started for Ramirez on Sunday.  It is unclear if Ramirez will miss anymore time.

With Kosuke Fukodome batting great in the lead-off spot, I’m extremely confused as to why Manager Lou Pinella all of a sudden decided to re-jigger the lineup in Colorado.  Pinella had Ryan Theirot leading off, Milton Bradley batting 2nd and Fukodome batting 5th.  The players produced in the new lineup (Ryan Theriot had 3 hits on Saturday and 2 hits on Sunday; Bradley had 2 hits on Saturday and 4 hits on Sunday and his average is up to .266; & Fukodome had 2 hits in each game), but it seemed odd that Pinella would mess with a good thing, especially when the Cubs had already found themselves in so many poor hitting droughts several times during the 2009 MLB schedule.

Pinella did his best to motivate the club by getting thrown out of the game for arguing a horrible call at 2nd base on a double play ball that thwarted a Cubs rally, but in the end, the Cubs players looked like they wanted to join Pinella in the showers early instead of trying to win a baseball game.

The Cubs are still just 2 games behind the Cards and the Giants and Rockies for the wild card race, and they have even played 4 fewer games than the Cards and 2 fewer games than each of the Giants and Rockies, so there is room to gain ground.  But this team is too inconsistent, too prone to give up way too soon, and too apt to follow a 3-game winning streak with a 5-game skid.  I have officially given up – I’ll still root for the Cubs and report on the positives and the negatives, but at the end of the day, this is a middle of the road team, not a division leader…

Cubs Rockies Baseball

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