I’m wondering what the Cubs’ New Way has in store for Jeff Samardzija?
Starter, reliever, go-between?
The indecision of the Cubs’ old regime damn near wasted five years of this kid’s career piddling around with the idea of making him a starter or reliever. That’s simply ridiculous for a power-arm the Cubs paid a precious $10M dollars for over 5-years ago.
And over those five seasons, thanks to the Cubs’ flip-flop mentality, it’s become rather tough as what to make of Samardzija’s progress, if there’s been any at all.
When his first option year was due following his best season to date in 2011: 75 relief appearances, (8-4) record, 2.97 ERA, it still wasn’t clear if the Cubs were better off with him or without him?
The decision was ultimately to decline his option, but only so the Cubs could resign him at a more reasonable price, which they did.
It’s bought Samardzija not only more time to establish his path in the major leagues, but to do it with the team that drafted him, the team that paid him a small fortune to choose professional baseball over the National Football League.
Yet regardless of what Samardzija is, or is to become, he at least deserved this opportunity to rightfully prove himself at the big league level under the Cubs direction as either a full-time starter or reliever.
The Cubs have two spots open in the starting rotation this spring; Samardzija would like to have one of them. Let his spring outings decide his fate–if the rotation isn’t meant to be, the bullpen should suffice. The outcome, whatever that might be, should end this discussion once and for all.
And if avoiding cases such as Samardzija’s isn’t in Theo’s new organizational manual, it most certainly ought to be. I’d call it Timely and Decisive Decision Making—a guide on how not to groom your top prospects.