Samardzija says Cubs management on right path

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 19, 2013
Chicago-cubs-starting
Jeff Samardzija can see the big picture coming into focus for the Chicago Cubs. They're about to begin their second season with Theo Epstein leading the front office, and the right-hander believes the pieces are starting to fall into place. Samardzija said he ''absolutely'' likes what he's seeing from management, and he wasn't referring to the one-year contract he agreed to on Friday. He sees a team coming off a 101-loss season that just might surprise a few people. ''You understand that they care and that they're making their decisions,'' he said Friday at the Cubs' annual fan convention. ''Obviously, some of those decisions are hard decisions. That's why there are only certain people making them. Yeah, I like what they're doing. They're winners.'' A year ago, optimism on the north side was as heavy as a slice of deep dish pizza. Epstein, the man who built two championship winners in Boston, had just taken over as president of baseball operations and was leading a front office that included new general manager Jed Hoyer. Hope that the Cubs were on the path to their first title since 1908 was soaring. But even Epstein and Hoyer didn't realize just how big a task they were facing as they began to overhaul the roster and the farm system. A year in, well, the Cubs believe the results are coming. Never mind the record last season. ''We are building something long-term,'' Hoyer said. ''Our goal ultimately is to get to the point where we're a team with great young players and we're going to make the playoffs every single year or eight out of 10 years.'' Players believe the right steps are being taken. ''I think we have a better chance this year because of what I see so far,'' Alfonso Soriano said. They believe they have enough arms after bringing in Edwin Jackson to lead a rotation that includes Matt Garza and Samardzija. Throw in Travis Wood and newcomers Scott Baker and Scott Feldman, and the Cubs have six potential starters. They also can boast a young All-Star in shortstop Starlin Castro and a Gold Glove second baseman in Darwin Barney. The four-year, $52 million deal the Cubs gave Jackson after they tried to sign Anibal Sanchez was a break from the pattern of acquiring low-priced players, hoping they can contribute. It was a signal that management was looking for improvement now while eyeing the future. Who exactly will be a part of that future remains to be seen. Soriano said Friday that he would like to stick around. He has two seasons left on his eight-year, $136 million deal, and while he's been slowed by injuries, he showed that he can still be productive when healthy. There were rumors last season that he might be traded to San Francisco, but Soriano nixed them when he said he didn't want to go there. He wound up finishing with 32 homers and 108 RBIs. Soriano said he hasn't talked with management about his future since the end of the season but would like to do so soon. ''Like I said, I'm ready to play hard here or for another team because this is my job,'' Soriano said. ''This is what I like to do.'' Garza, meanwhile, said he's ''champing at the bit'' to get back on the mound after having his season cut short by an injury to his pitching elbow. The right-hander expects to have no restrictions when camp starts. He likes the additions made to the Cubs and sees no reason why they can't make the playoffs. ''There's no reason to suit up every year if that's not what you're trying to do,'' he said. Garza's name frequently comes up in trade talks. He agreed to a one-year, $10.25 million deal that avoided salary arbitration and wouldn't mind discussing a multiyear contract. He's said he's not focused on that at the moment, though, and management isn't ready to offer one, anyway. ''It's not the right time right now,'' Hoyer said. ''He hasn't pitched since (July 21). He feels great, he feels healthy. I think if there's a time in the future where he feels really good, that's a more rational time to have that discussion.'' A long-term contract is also something Samardzija would like to continue to discuss. He said the sides talked about a multiyear deal before agreeing to a one-year contract that includes a $2.64 million salary and an additional $125,000 in available performance bonuses. ''There's definitely common ground between both of us that we both want to be here in Chicago,'' he said. ''That's really all that needs to be said. We will continue to talk.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Best and worst from NBA All-Star Saturday night

WATCH: Klay Thompson can't go home unless he beats Steph Curry in 3-Point contest

Star players are hurting Houston Rockets

Emmitt Smith: Adrian Peterson only current player who could break rushing record

Coach K gets buzzer-beater win over Virginia for his birthday

Baylor approves new measures to deal with sexual assault

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joe Mauer: Concussions blurred vision, affected hitting

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

Bethune-Cookman football player killed at party

Former UFC heavyweight Kevin Randleman dead at 44

WATCH: Chelsea scores three goals in less than 20 minutes

LaVine, Gordon put on best NBA dunk contest in years

WATCH: Thompson beats teammate Curry in 3-point contest

NFL teams, players hand out awesome Valentines

Earl Campbell ‘disappointed’ in Johnny Manziel, wants to help

Big man Karl-Anthony Towns wins NBA skills challenge

MLB commish: Cubs will host All-Star Game in near future

WATCH: Memphis forward recreates Vince Carter's elbow dunk in game

Bruins forward is goal scoring machine after suspension

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

Drake has Kentucky edition of custom ‘OVO’ Air Jordan 8s

QUIZ: Name every NBA All-Star Game MVP

Watch rare footage of Stephen Curry from 2001-02 emerges

Check out this custom camouflage Oregon helmet

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker