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Hoyer: Samardzija deal ‘never came close’



The facts: 7:05 p.m., CSN, 720-AM, 1200-AM.

The starters: Ricky Nolasco (6-9, 3.72 ERA) vs. Chris Rusin (1-0, 2.93).

The rest of the series

Friday: 3:05 p.m., Ch. 9, 720-AM, 1200-AM. Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-3, 3.14) vs. Travis Wood (7-7, 2.79).

Saturday: 3:05 p.m., Fox-32, 720-AM, 1200-AM. Chris Capuano (3-6, 4.54) vs. Jeff Samardzija (6-9, 3.75).

Sunday: 1:20 p.m., Ch. 9, 720-AM, 1200-AM. Zack Greinke (8-3, 3.43)vs. Carlos Villanueva (2-7, 4.33).

Updated: September 3, 2013 7:17AM

The most valuable player the Cubs had to trade before the July 31 non-waiver deadline “never came close” to getting dealt, Cubs manager Jed Hoyer said.

But if Opening Day starter Jeff Samardzija and the club fail to reach terms on a multiyear extension by next year, he could become the team’s Matt Garza of next July’s trading season, sources say.

Both sides say they’re motivated. Both say they’re seeking nothing more than a fair market deal. And both can be just willful enough to preclude any sense of it being a sure thing at this point.

“It’s something we’d like to do for sure,” Hoyer said. “We love having him on the team. He brings the right swagger, the right competitiveness to the club. His stuff is obviously really good, and I think he’ll keep getting better.

“It’s hard to rank it on a priority list,” he said of extending Samardzija (who makes $2.64 million this year). “But it’s very high and something we’d like to get done.”

As recently as last week, Samardzija said again that he wants to complete this season as a full-time starter to better have an idea of what his market value is before restarting negotiations that went nowhere last winter.

No relief

Closer Kevin Gregg was refreshingly honest about trade rumors leading up to Wednesday’s trade deadline, embracing the possibility of pitching in a pennant race, while also saying he enjoyed pitching for the Cubs.

His thoughts on remaining a Cub after the deadline?

“Exactly that,” he said. “I still feel that way. There’s positives and negatives to both aspects of it. And now I’ve got to focus on the positives of still being here.”

Impacting his value as buyers began to get serious about trades: In 11 appearances over the past four weeks, Gregg suffered three of his four blown saves, with a 6.75 ERA and 12 walks in 12 innings (six strikeouts). He was 15-for-16 in save chances with a 1.53 ERA and nine walks all season before that.

“I think I’ve been throwing the ball well without getting the results I wanted,” he said. “But they’ve got to get in return what they want.”

Woulda, coulda

Pitcher Carlos Villanueva said when he signed his two-year, $10 million deal with the Cubs last fall, he left three other similar offers on the table, including, he said, two from teams now in contention.

“I looked at that yesterday, too,” he said, with a laugh, refusing to identify the teams, but adding he’s glad to be part of this team.

“The thing is, I wanted to be here,” he said. “Obviously I wish we were in better position right now. We could easily be in better position … The fact is that we’re here now, we’re the 2013 Cubs and we want to make it a season to remember.”

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