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Cubs listened to offers for Jeff Samardzija

7/31/2013

CHICAGO -- Although trade conversations really didn't go anywhere, the Chicago Cubs did listen to offers for starter Jeff Samardzija before the non-waiver deadline expired Wednesday.

In the real world of baseball business, it is incumbent upon top executives to listen to offers on any and all of their players. In the sensitive world of long-term contracts and player control, the issues can become a bit emotional for all parties involved.

"I don't think players should be all that sensitive about it," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "If you are a seller, it is almost impossible for your name not to be mentioned in a deal. We never came close with any deal for Samardzija and we are happy we have him. We hope he is here for a long time."

The Cubs began talking about the parameters of a long-term deal (three years, $27 million) with Samardzija's agent, Mark Rogers, last fall. The conversations were preliminary but substantive. Samardzija decided he was not ready to commit to a deal and asked the Cubs if contract talks could be tabled.

At this point, the Cubs would like to know for sure that they will have contract control of Samardzija for more than his two remaining years of arbitration. After 2015, he can become a free agent.

"It is a valid question to ask him," Hoyer said after the deadline had passed. "He is a confident guy for sure. Part of what makes him good is that he has a swagger and great confidence. You probably take that into the negotiating room and you probably don't always separate those two things. That is a better question for him than it is for us."

Samardzija, 28, has already made over $15 million, despite the fact he is still learning his craft. Samardzija says he knows he is still developing and wants to concentrate on getting to the next level of top starting pitchers. If he accomplishes that goal, he knows a long-term deal for three times the amount of what was being talked about last November will be proper market value for his services.

"It is something we would like to do it for sure," Hoyer said of working out a long-term deal. "We love having him on the team. He brings the right competitiveness to the club. I think he will keep getting better. We want to acquire a lot more pitchers like him. It is hard to rank it on a priority list, but it is very high on things we would like to get done."