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.
Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.
One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.
“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.
Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.
Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.
Anyway, enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.