Samardzija OK with being patient on deal

February, 12, 2013
2/12/13
4:28
PM CT
By ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com
Jeff Samardzija Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesJeff Samardzija was impressive in his first season as a starter.
Jeff Samardzija is in no rush to sign a long-term extension with the Chicago Cubs, but the pitcher said he would like to have a deal at some point to keep him with the team he rooted for as a kid.

"A big reason why I'm here playing with the Cubs was because of the city and the location to where I grew up and my love for the Cubs as a kid," Samardzija said Tuesday on "Carmen, Jurko & Harry" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "There's no where else I want to be. I've played in every other stadium, I've been in every other stadium and are there some other great ones? Absolutely. Would being a free agent be outstanding? Absolutely. But I'm happy with where I'm at. I'm comfortable with where I'm at. The people that are in the front office I'm excited about where the team is going, the direction.

"We had some great talks. I thought we did personally anyway. It wasn't chippy, we didn't get at each other's throats. I guess you could say we had gentlemanly talks and we went from there. Did we meet on something? No, but I think we have the sides in the right direction to hopefully in the future knock this out so I can be a Cub for life."

Samardzija and the Cubs had basic talks on a three-year deal but ended up signing a one-year deal for $2.64 million in January to avoid arbitration.

After pitching parts of four seasons with the Cubs primarily as a reliever, Samardzija became a full-time starter in 2012 and was one of the bright spots in a 101-loss season. Samardzija, 28, went 9-13 with a 3.81 ERA in 28 starts with 180 strikeouts in 174 2/3 innings.

Samardzija is confident he and the Cubs will agree on a new deal at some point.

"(Cubs president) Theo (Epstein) and those guys are professional, and I'm a pretty professional guy," Samardzija said. "I understand we're not going to let it affect the field play, but I also do understand the importance of getting this done ... every year that goes by the closer you get situations change so obviously I would like to get this done. It's not a big rush for me because I personally want to go out and prove more on the field which in turn will make the contract negotiations a little clearer.

"To me it's not really that important right now. I've got a lot to worry about on the field, and I've still got a lot to prove. Last year was a great stepping stone year for me but it wasn't nearly what I want to be and it wasn't nearly as complete as I want it to be. On top of that our season as a team wasn't very well so we have some work to do on that front. When you win ballgames and everyone is doing their job the money and the contracts, all that takes care of itself."

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jake Arrieta
WINS ERA SO IP
10 2.53 167 156
OTHER LEADERS
BAS. Castro .292
HRA. Rizzo 32
RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167