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Monday, May 13, 2013
Samardzija not worried about contract

By Bruce Levine

Jeff Samardzija
Jeff Samardzija is 1-5 but has a 3.70 ERA and is holding hitters to a .227 batting average this season.
CHICAGO -- With Chicago Cubs core players Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo now signed to long-term contracts, will starter Jeff Samardzija be next on the list?

Samardzija's agent Mark Rogers told there is nothing to report on a potential Samardzija deal at this point. It appears after the 2013 season both sides will re-evaluate their positions and see if a long-term deal makes sense for everyone involved.

"It is not really important to me to tell the truth," Samardzija said. "I am the type of guy that his play speaks for itself. Most importantly you do the things you are supposed to do to win ballgames." reported last November that the two sides had preliminary discussions about a three-year deal in the fall of 2012. At the time both parties agreed to talk in the future. Samardzija avoided his first year of arbitration and signed a one-year contract.

"We both have an understanding," Samardzija said, referring to Cubs management. "We both want me here and that is a great place to be."

Samardzija is under contract control of the Cubs until the fall of 2015. At that point if he has not signed a long-term deal he can become a free agent.

"For me the baseball arbitration process is (fine )," he said. "You get paid what you are worth. That is all I am out for. I am not out for a deal or anything other than that. I want my play to determine how everything goes down after that. I have high expectations for myself and this team. That comes first, after that I think everything else will fall in line for me personally."

Although Samardzija's record is 1-5, the Cubs still look at the 28-year-old pitcher as one of their upper-tier starters of the future. The minor league system has begun to produce prospects with major league potential but it appears none will be ready before the middle or end of 2014.

Drafting a pitcher with the No. 2 pick in this year's June draft appears to be a sure thing. That type of move will escalate the Cubs' chances of competing and enticing players like Samardzija to sign and stay in the organization.

With Edwin Jackson the only starting pitcher with a long-term deal, signing Samardzija and at least one other young free agent pitcher this offseason seems essential. Those types of moves, to go along with obtaining quality pitching in the draft, could quickly change the look of the franchise.

In turn, a strong rotation to go along with the young position players under control could change perception of the Cubs as they work toward contending for the playoffs every season.