There was a report Sunday stating that the Cubs’ preference with Jeff Samardzija is to work out a long-term contract extension. But it appears that those negotiations have lost all momentum.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is hearing that the Chicago front office plans to “do some serious listening” on the 28-year-old right-hander at next week’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida. The Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and Angels are among the teams that have been floated as potential suitors this offseason.
Samardzija posted a pedestrian 4.34 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 33 starts this summer for the Cubs, but he struck out 214 batters in 213 2/3 innings and had much better rate stats (3.81 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) in 2012.
Samardzija is arbitration-eligible through the 2015 season. He earned a $2.64 million salary in 2013.
The White Sox won’t make a bid for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports. Believed to be the favorites to land shortstop Manny Machado in free agency, the White Sox watched him ink a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. The club is apparently content with its roster otherwise.
Harper would certainly be an upgrade in the outfield, which currently features Adam Engel, Nicky Delmonico, and Jon Jay. It will soon feature prospects Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert.
Last season, Harper hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 hom eruns, 100 RBI, 103 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances. He led all of baseball, drawing 130 walks. Harper is also a six-time All-Star who won the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2015 NL Most Valuable Player Award.
The Phillies are still believed to be the favorites to sign Harper and the club is confident it will land him, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports.