Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs haven't been able to agree on an extension that would keep the right hander in Chicago long-term, but that doesn't mean the two sides are at odds. Samardzija has a very good understanding of his position in the organization's plans. He knows he could be traded this season -- maybe sooner rather than later, according to the Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer.
Samardzija, 29, is set to become a free agent after the 2015 season, so the Cubs could begin shopping him more aggressively during the coming season to maximize their return.
A trade is far from a guaranteed outcome -- since the two sides are still going back and forth in extension talks -- but Chicago would likely see a much more useful haul of prospects if they could offer more than one year Samardzija.
Samardzija grew up in Indiana and attended the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, so his ties to the area are strong, but he's been able to separate the business end from his "emotional attachment" to the club.
"All I can do is my job to the fullest and keep being wanted ... Sometimes you’re just a product of the situation. I think that’s where I’m at."
Last season, Samardzija posted a 4.34 ERA in 213⅔ innings with 214 strikeouts and 78 walks. In 61 career starts, he's put up a 4.10 ERA, striking out more than a batter per inning.
If the Cubs decide to move him, they will likely be looking for young pitching in return since most of their top prospects are position players. As things stand now, a few teams could use a pitcher like Samardzija and have the prospects to facilitate a deal with Chicago, but a lot can change between now and the trade deadline.