Cubs' starter Jeff Samardzija recently rejected a contract extension offer from the team that would have paid him more than $85M over five seasons, according to Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com. CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman, who first reported that Samardzija had rejected a long-term offer, reports that a trade involving Samardzija is the more likely scenario at the moment.
Samardzija, who has been linked to the Giants, Blue Jays, Mariners, Royals and many other teams in trade rumors in recent weeks, is said to be looking for a Homer Bailey-type extension that would be somewhere along the lines of a six-year, $105M deal. While the average annual value of the offer to Samardzija is comparable to the deal that Bailey received, he may be holding out for a sixth guaranteed year that gets him over the $100M threshold.
As Heyman notes, the Cubs have some interest in trading Samardzija before the trade deadline and then trying to re-sign him when he becomes a free agent after the 2015 season. That theory would likely require the Cubs to be contenders by then, which is certainly possible due to the potential of top prospects like Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez and Jorge Soler.
This isn't the first time that the Cubs have offered Samardzija a long-term extension, as they have previously floated deals in the $60-65M range over five years. The righty's solid performance this year has likely upped his value in the eyes of the Cubs, who are reportedly shopping him on the trade market along with starters Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel and Jake Arrieta.