Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Cubs Seem To Know Samardzija isn't Good

The season is winding down and any playoff hopes being long gone, it seems like 2010 preparations should be made. That means giving some guys who might help in the future more playing time, giving some pitching prospects a start or two, and shutting down some banged up veterans. Why is it that the Cubs are doing none of that?

The main case here is former top prospect Jeff Samardzija. The Shark has been discussed by me quite a bit not only for how disappointing he's been this season in AAA and the majors, but also for the way the Cubs seem to jerk him around. They make him a relief pitcher in the big leagues, then have him start in the minors. His development suggests that he's better off in the bullpen, but his salary and expectations demand he start. What I don't understand is why the Cubs aren't having him start a couple times before the season is over. I've already written at length about this, but the choice still boggles my mind. Why call him up if he's just going to mop up in blowouts?

Now don't confuse my desire to see Samardzija start with my thinking he's going to be successful, I just think he needs to be given the chance to start a few times so the Cubs know why his future his. Recently though I've started to think the Cubs already know what they are going to do with him, and he isn't in the future plans much. Tom Gorzelanny is taking over the slot that Rich Harden occupied, and Lou mentioned that Esmilian Caridad was his second choice to get a start.

This Sun-Times article barely even references Samardzija other than to say "They Cubs also want to find a spot start for Jeff Samardzija". For a guy who is supposed to be the future of the rotation, it sure seems like the Cubs don't care for him very much. I think all involved realize that Samardzija will probably never develop enough pitches to become a real major league starter, and that his control issues prevent him from ever being a dominant reliable reliever.

With a number of strong pitching prospects moving up the organization, Samardzija will soon be just another failed Cubs prospect, albeit one who was given quite a bit of money. The organization will look bad for giving so much money to a guy simply because of his local roots and big name. All will look worse, and the real shame of it is Samardzija would have been a perfect guy to trade this past offseason had he lacked a no-trade clause. Perhaps he can be convinced to waive it this winter and be moved in some sort of deal while he still has a hint of value.

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