Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reported earlier this week that the Cubs were making a late push to lock up ace right-hander Jeff Samardzija. But it doesn’t sound like anything is going to get done between the two parties.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman confirmed Wednesday that Samardzija and his agent were presented recently with a fresh extension offer but opines that “the chances of Samardzija signing the new proposal amount to something akin to the outmanned, out-of-it Cubs winning the World Series this year.”
Here’s more from Heyman’s latest column …
The Cubs are said by sources familiar with the talks to have upped their previous bid of about $60 million for five years to a bigger number, also for five years, confirming the original Chicago Sun-Times report. The new offer isn’t known but it’s quite possibly something more in the range of $75-80 million but most definitely not in the vicinity of the $105 million guarantee Homer Bailey has with the Reds.
Samardzija, who’s currently under contract through 2015, is likely to be dealt before this year’s July 31 trade deadline. The 29-year-old owns a 2.78 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 90/29 K/BB ratio in 97 innings this season.
The Giants and Royals were among the teams scouting Samardzija on Tuesday night in Miami.
UPDATE, 6:43 p.m. ET: More confirmation here from FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi …
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.