The Chicago Cubs have actively attempted to extend Samardzija. They reportedly offered him a five-year, $55 million deal earlier this winter, but if the two sides can't come to an agreement, the Cubs best option might be trading the 28-year-old. Samardzija will be a free agent after the 2015 season. However, his trade value will likely diminish as he approaches the open market. Many teams have shown interest, but the Cubs' return would be significantly larger if they were able to shop him as a two-year commodity rather than waiting until next year when he would be considered a one-year rental.
The Cubs have one of the league's best farm systems, but most of their highly-touted prospects are position players. Over the next few seasons, hitters like Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, and Albert Almora are likely to reach the majors, but the Cubs' pitching prospects aren't nearly as compelling. If the Cubs aren't able to extend Samardzija, they could target minor league arms in return for the pitcher.
Samardzija has shown considerable promise since moving into the Cubs' rotation in 2012, posting a 4.10 ERA in 61 starts. His ERA doesn't jump off the screen, but his peripheral stats hint that he's been a victim of bad luck, bad defense, or both. The evidence of those positive peripherals are apparent in his 5.8 wins above replacement (fWAR) since 2012.
In the interview with Mooney, Samardzija said he realizes "things need to be written" about the trade rumors surrounding him, but that he doesn't "think it's as dire as what's it's all being made out to be."