According to Phil Rogers, Jeff Samardzija was in Chicago earlier today to meet with Theo Epstein.
Theo Epstein and Jeff Samardzija hanging together tonight in Chicago. Cubs have an interest in him. #HotStove #Cubs— Phil Rogers (@philgrogers) November 19, 2015
Samardzija was in Chicago's system from 2006-2014, until he was traded to Oakland along with Jason Hammel (who returned to the Cubs) in exchange for Addison Russell, Billy McKinney, and Dan Straily.
Before 2015, Samardzija profiled as one of the top-tier aces that would be available this offseason, but he regressed significantly. His K/9, HR/9, and ground ball rate sank to their worst levels since 2010, and Samardzija posted the worst ERA of his career as a starer.
While this past season has undoubtedly hurt his overall value on the open market, Chicago is still interested in bringing him back. One reason that Samardzija could be open to returning to the Cubs is that it would reunite him with his former pitching coach, Chris Bosio.
Samardzija flew in from AZ for the meeting flew back this morning. Chris Bosio key to fixing mind and delivery for the pitcher— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) November 19, 2015
Bosio said that "his relationship with [Samardzija] is great" and that they "can talk without fear of hurt feelings and have a mutual trust. 'It would be wonderful if we could see him in a Cubbie uniform. I think I speak for everybody.'"
Dave Cameron of FanGraphs has projected Samardzija for a five year contract worth $75 million, whereas Jon Heyman agreed on the overall number of years, but had him at $85 million. While some teams might balk at handing out that much money to a 30 year old starter coming off his worst year, Samardzija has thrown far fewer innings than most pitchers have at his age, due to the Cubs misusing him early in his career.
He's also been linked to the Yankees, but as of now, the Cubs are the team that he's been connected to most recently, and most often.