Friday, January 19, 2007

Samardzija Chooses Cubs Over NFL

The Cubs announced today that pitcher Jeff Samardzija has committed to playing baseball in the future and has signed a five year, $10 million contract with the Cubs. The former Notre Dame WR was thought to be pursuing a two sport career, but he has opted instead to only play baseball.

Samardzija showed promise last year while pitching at single-A Boise and Peoria. He pitched a total of 30 innings, giving up nine earned runs and posting an ERA of 2.70. Samardzija also went 8-2 with a 4.33 ERA pitching in 2006 for Notre Dame.

I guess I don’t understand all of the hoopla surrounding this signing. Samardzija is a talented prospect with a lot of upside who also has a long way to go before he is ready to be a big league pitcher. As has happened to so many before, Samardzija could turn out to be run-of-the-mill or suffer from injury problems. There’s just a long way to go before the Cubs should get too excited about him.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to be negative. I just don’t think the signing is that big of a deal. Some people are talking about Samardzija being a top of the rotation starter as soon as 2008. That seems unlikely. The more likely scenario is that in 2009 or 2010, Samardzija makes a contribution to the big club.

I’m happy Samardzija has decided to concentrate on baseball. I definitely think it was the right decision. But I don’t think it is cause for celebration (unless you’re just looking for any old reason to celebrate).


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