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Cubs decline 2012 option on pitcher Jeff Samardzija

Updated: October 31, 2011 5:20PM

The Cubs on Monday declined their $3 million option on pitcher Jeff Samardzija’s contract for 2012 and expect to re-sign him for less than the $2.8 million he made in 2011.

Because of Samardzija’s service time, he remains under club control as a pre-arbitration-eligible player. Under Major League Baseball rules, the Cubs have the right to renew his contract for no less than 80 percent — $2.24 million — of his 2011 salary.

Samardzija, 26, went 8-4 with a 2.97 ERA in 75 relief appearances this season. He could be in line for a chance to compete for a job in the rotation next spring, depending on the Cubs’ starting depth by then.

Samardzija, a former football All-American at Notre Dame, negotiated a five-year, $10 million major-league contract to give up football after being drafted in the fifth round by the Cubs in 2006.

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