Cubs are planning to shop starter Jeff Samardzija at next week’s MLB Winter Meetings

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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.

Marcus Stroman dealing with blister again

Marcus Stroman
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Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.

Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.

While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.