Jeff Samardzija chose wisely

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Jeff Samardzija was a two-sport star and would’ve been taken early in the NFL draft if he stuck with football at Notre Dame. The Cubs drafted him, though, and paid him handsomely to give up football. The rest is Cubs/A’s/White Sox/Giants history.

Jon Morosi of MLB.com spoke with Samardzija recently, and he reflected on choosing baseball over football. Specifically, he reflected on the fact that almost everyone from the draft class he would’ve been in are either out of the NFL or soon will be, while he’s under contract for three more years at $18 million per and could, theoretically, pitch way longer than that:

“Marcedes Lewis,” Samardzija said of the Jacksonville Jaguars tight end. “[Brian] Cushing — I played against him. … Clay Matthews … Donte Whitner — I loved playing against him at Ohio State. Arian Foster was another guy. He’s done.

“They’re all done. Or if they’re still there, they’re on their way out. And I just signed my new deal. … Knock on wood, my body’s not telling me, ‘Hey, you can’t do this.'”

He has a lot of interesting things to say about football, which was far more of a focus for him growing up than baseball was. Most entertainingly, he talks about how he still — after a ten-year big league career in which he’s already made over $60 million and is still going strong — gets people telling him he was dumb to pick baseball over football.

Go read the article to hear his response to that. It’s not totally based on the money, and it makes a lot of sense.

Aaron Judge out of Yankees starting lineup for finale after No. 62

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Yankees slugger Aaron Judge wasn’t in the starting lineup for New York’s regular-season finale, a day after his 62nd home run that broke Roger Maris’ 61-year-old American League single-season record.

When Judge homered in the first inning Tuesday night, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers, it was his 55th consecutive game. He has played in 157 games overall for the AL East champions.

With the first-round bye in the playoffs, the Yankees won’t open postseason play until the AL Division Series starts next Tuesday.

Even though Judge had indicated that he hoped to play Wednesday, manager Aaron Boone said after Tuesday night’s game that they would have a conversation and see what made the most sense.

“Short conversation,” Boone said before Wednesday’s game, adding that he was “pretty set on probably giving him the day today.”

Asked if there was a scenario in which Judge would pinch hit, Boone responded, “I hope not.”

Judge went into the final day of the regular season batting .311, trailing American League batting average leader Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315. Judge was a wide leader in the other Triple Crown categories, with his 62 homers and 131 RBIs.

Boone said that “probably the one temptation” to play Judge had been the long shot chance the slugger had to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.