Just a couple of quick things to report on today (and don’t worry, because the Winter Meetings are right around the corner, and we’ll have PLENTY to talk about):
- I’m told by one source that Brad Ausmus is interviewing at Wrigley Field today. Another source confirmed that someone is interviewing at Wrigley today, but can’t confirm that it’s Ausmus. I’m guessing it’s Ausmus.
- The Cubs have officially requested permission to speak with Red Sox bench coach Torey Luvollo (rhymes with “jello”). He’s expected to interview in the next few days.
- A mystery team has inquired about Starlin Castro, and most of the Cubs blogosphere believes it’s the Cardinals, but it’s really anyone’s guess at this point.
- It’s looking less and less likely that Jeff Samardzija is going to get a contract extension from the Cubs:
An extension between the Cubs and Opening Day starter Jeff Samardzija this offseason “looks like a long shot” according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Wittenmyer’s sources indicate that a sizable financial gap exists between the two sides, and neither is confident that said gap can be closed this winter.
Samardzija, 28, completed his first 200-inning season in 2013, totaling a 4.31 ERA with 9.0 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a 48.2 percent ground-ball rate. His ERA is surprising when considering his K/BB numbers and strong ground-ball rate, and indeed, sabermetric stats such as xFIP (3.45) and SIERA (3.60) feel that he had quite a bit of poor luck on his side.
Samardijza has transitioned from a solid setup man to a reliable rotation piece in recent years. He’s racked up 388 1/3 innings in Chicago’s rotation since Opening Day 2012 and figures to hold down a spot in their 2014 rotation as well, barring a trade.
The Cubs were willing to listen on Samardzija this July, with the Diamondbacks among the most frequently rumored teams to have interest. However, in the end, it was reported that the Cubs never got close to dealing the Notre Dame product and planned to discuss a long-term deal this offseason.
Frankly, Samardzija can get bent. He rebuffed the Cubs’ offer to talk extension during Spring Training, figuring that he would have a great season and drive up his price. When his season started to fall apart, he whined to the press that not having a long-term deal was weighing on him and making it difficult to concentrate on pitching. When he finally showed up at the bargaining table, he asked for a deal comparable to those received by perennial 20-game winners. At this point, I really don’t care what he does. If Theo can flip him for young arms, so be it.