Monthly Archives: December 2013

Jeff Samardzija extends his contract with the Cubs

Jeff Samardzija extends his contract with the CubsChicago Cubs have mixed feelings about the season that recently ended, as the club didn’t finish on the last place in their conference. On the other hand, the results are still disappointing and the fact that the playoffs remain a mirage, is frustrating to say the least. Resources are scarce, which means that the management needs to be extra careful when transferring new players and they frequently fight an uphill battle trying to re-sign players or keep their veterans in their rotation.

There are not many pitchers that are worth keeping in their backyard, but Jeff Samardzija is definitely one of them and it comes as no surprise that he’s among those expected to remain with the Cubs this winter. The club has already made a juicy deal for the starting pitcher, with Jeff expected to cash in $11 million per year until 2019. The amount itself is exciting, but we need to keep in mind that Samardzija will be a free agent two years from now and depending on his results in the next two years, his paycheck can rise.

There is no shortage of clubs interested in his services, which explains why Jeff is reluctant to sign an extension to his contract right away. There are some rumors regarding the prospect of Samardzija being loaned to another team, something that the Cubs did in the past but it is very unlikely for Chicago to take on superior opponents without a quality pitcher.

The club is trying to replace aging players but their plan is not to purchase new talents, instead they intend to promote those who play in the minor leagues. They’ve got a couple of names that have the potential of becoming the top hitters of tomorrow, but when it comes to pitching, their options are limited to a couple of players. Having said this, Samardzija is not the star pitcher and even though his numbers were superior to most of his colleagues in 2013, he shouldn’t push his luck by asking for a lot more money.

The prospects for Chicago in 2014 are not too great and the best case scenario for the Cubs is to finishing the first half of the standings. For the time being, reaching the playoffs remains a bridge too far and such an objective could only be reached to a three years from now. What the team needs is to constantly improve its pitching rotations, including the starters and relievers, until their young sluggers get to prove their worth in the majors.

Finally some good news for Chicago Cubs

sportsearchThe Cubs are used to finishing last or second to last in the National League, but there are a couple of reasons for why 2014 promises to be a better year. On one hand, Chicago will have to step up its game to avoid finishing last, now that Houston has been moved to the American League, on the other they’ve made certain progress in the season that concluded in October.–mlb.html makes some powerful observations for why Chicago is very likely to finish closer to the top, without being a playoff contender. It should all begin with a wrap-up of 2013 season, another year that saw them finishing below .500, a miserable performance, that is still a bit better than what happened one year ago.

Nobody expected the Cubs to achieve something remarkable in 2013 and Chicago met expectations to the letter, playing in a highly competitive division. St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati gave them a run for their money and with all of them making the playoffs, it is easy to understand why Chicago fans were not too happy this October.

The future doesn’t look bright but at least there are a couple of reasons to be optimistic, with Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo being the ones to boost their confidence. These young players have a lot to prove and both of them are promising, but the best thing is that they can reach their full potential without playing under a lot of pressure. Nobody expects Chicago to make the playoffs but if they do, Castro and Rizzo will be celebrated and probably head on to a better team at the end of 2014.

The Cubs have a new manager, now that Rick Renteria has fully recovered following a hip surgery and he has just enough experience to help the reeling Cubs. He didn’t lead them to many victories in the last two years, but his numbers are constantly improving and with plenty of new players under his guidance, he might achieve something in 2014. Chicago has a couple of top prospects in its sight and the drafting system should help them improve the strength of their rotation.

Perhaps the closest contenders for the title of the worst team in 2014, at least when it comes to the National League are the Milwaukee Brewers. They’ve got a lot of problems to deal with including the numerous scandals surrounding Ryan Braun who was accused of using performance enhancing drugs. Even though he will play for Milwaukee in 2014, he can’t single-handedly carry the Brewers, so they are very likely to finish behind Chicago.