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Cubs singing pitcher Jeff Samardzija’s praises

Updated: June 7, 2014 6:34AM

Some things reduce baseball economics, long-term planning and multilayered negotiations down to basics anyone can see.

Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija is a big-game pitcher who has raised his value by becoming more consistent this season than at any time in his career. Which is why the other guys in the clubhouse are going to miss him so much when he is traded in July.

‘‘He’s big,’’ shortstop Starlin Castro said Monday. ‘‘That’s one of the guys you need when you try to be a winning team. . . . But I don’t make those decisions.’’

It’s not news that Samardzija has been on the trading block since the end of last season. And without a sudden revival of long-expired extension talks, he’ll be traded before the non-waiver deadline July 31.

‘‘As far as the long-term extensions versus trading guys for prospects, there’s a lot that goes into those decisions,’’ right-hander Jake Arrieta said. ‘‘But I think it’s a pretty simple decision. Jeff is a guy who’s in his prime, who I
think is just now pitching to his
full ability.’’

As in a 1.62 ERA that ranks among the top three in the league through seven starts.

‘‘As an organization, if you see the development of a guy like that, who’s been in your system for a long time, how do you let him go?’’ Arrieta said.

For a haul of prospects, ideally.

‘‘What makes a good starter for me is somebody who can flip that switch in between the lines and kind of be an [expletive],’’ Arrieta said. ‘‘That’s what you see from him every five days. Those guys don’t grow on trees. And when you find them, I think you’ve got to hold on to them.

‘‘If you’re trying to build for the long term and you have pieces in place that have shown they can compete and just not give in, it’s hard to find. I’ve been around long enough to see a handful of those type of guys, and I think Jeff’s one of them.’’


Outfield prospect Jorge Soler (hamstring), who hasn’t played since getting hurt in the first game of the season, is playing extended spring games in Arizona and might rejoin Class AA Tennessee in the next week or so.

† Hall of Famer Billy Williams remembers when Cubs-Sox games created citywide excitement, even though they were only exhibition games during his playing days.

‘‘They didn’t count, but it was like the Hatfields and McCoys — a lot of buzz,’’ he said. ‘‘[But] I didn’t see too much in the papers about it [this time around].’’


Twitter: @GDubCub

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