The Cubs and starter Jeff Samardzija recently agreed to a salary of $5.345 million for the 2014 season to avoid arbitration. It offered nothing in the way of progress between the two sides, who have been discussing a multi-year contract extension. The Cubs reportedly offered the right-hander $55 million over five years back in December, but it never amounted to anything.
Via Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, Samardzija says he has an emotional attachment to the Cubs. He added, “but that attachment only goes so far.” Also from Morosi, Samardzija also expressed disappointment that the Cubs have traded players who know the game, citing Scott Feldman as one example.
Samardzija will be eligible for arbitration for the third and final time next off-season, and will become a free agent after the 2015 season. Thus, the Cubs may end up having to trade Samardzija if they can’t get him signed to an extension. The Cubs were shopping him according to reports during the Winter Meetings.
Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.