The Chicago Cubs made one last-ditch effort to extend their best pitcher before the 2014 MLB trade deadline comes, but Jeff Samardzija didn't bite on his team's offer and remains a potential trade target for the New York Yankees.
According to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, the Cubs offered Samardzija a five-year, $85 million deal, which would be good enough for 17 big ones per year:
Source confirms Jeff Samardzija rejected a five-year offer from Cubs. Value was slightly more than $85 million, source said.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 18, 2014
Samardzija is having by far the best season of his six-year career. Although he's 2-6 for a putrid Cubs squad, Samardzija is pitching to a 2.78 ERA.
What isn't going right for the 29-year-old is that he's pitching to a 6.55 ERA in the month of June, having allowed 16 earned runs in four starts thus far.
Without much of a resume beyond the first two months of the 2014 season, Chicago could see the right-hander lose some value in the trade market if this keeps up. That may also leave Samardzija wishing he had taken the Cubs' extension offer down the road.
Meanwhile, the Cubs will sit by and see what offers they can get for Samardzija with the possibility that he doesn't net as big of a return as they would hope should mediocre remain the trend.
The Yankees' need for a guy like Samardzija is obvious considering their broken pitching staff; however an inconsistent Samardzija will turn the Yanks off and won't be worth the prospects they'd have to give up to get him.
Jason Hammel, who was seen as the cheaper option in the Cubs' rotation, could surpass his teammate as he's pitching to a 3.02 ERA and a solid 6-4 record. He's quickly becoming the pitcher who could land the biggest deal for Theo Epstein as July nears.
Hammel was thought to be an alternative to Samardzija and one that wouldn't cost the Yankees their future. Such a thought process is quickly changing and it may not be worth it for the Bronx Bombers to get involved with either pitcher from Chicago.
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