Any chance I get to mention the Chicago Cubs last arbitration hearing is a good day. I know I’ve mentioned it at least once recently, but the last time the Cubs had to go to a hearing with a player was with Ryan Theriot in 2010, a hearing which the Cubs won. I don’t normally root for “the man”, but that time, it definitely felt like justice was served. That year, poor Ryan only got $2.6 million instead of the $3.4 million he was seeking. The Cubs are on the cusp of their first arbitration hearing of the Theo Epstein era, with Jeff Samardzija’s hearing scheduled for Monday in Florida. To rehash what everyone is saying publicly:
“Obviously, I’m hopeful,” Samardzija said during the Cubs Convention in January about the possibility of a long-term deal. “I think I’ve said that from day one. Ever since I signed my first contract here with the Cubs, I’ve wanted to be here. And a big reason for not playing football was to come here and play in Chicago. It obviously means a lot for me to be here.”
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has never gone to arbitration with a player during his tenure with the Cubs or as general manager of the Red Sox.
“I’m a big fan of Jeff Samardzija,” Epstein said last month. “I think he has a great future. I think his best days are ahead of him. He’s under club control for the next two years, and hopefully we get a chance to extend that window. There’s been public speculation about a contract extension at times, a trade at times. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen, but I can tell you I’m really happy he’s a Cub, and [I] look forward to him getting the ball on Opening Day.”
Jeff’s hopeful and it means a lot for him to be in Chicago. It also requires a lot of money, more than what Theo is willing to currently pay, even though he’s a big fan. The Cubs’ offer is $4.4 million and Samardzija’s counter is $6.2 million. I don’t have as much emotion invested in this case as I did in Theriot’s, but maybe if the Cubs win they can get Samardzija to cut his hair.
As the lead-up to Spring Training continues, Kris Bryant is trying to ignore me talking about how handsome he is and the rest of the hype surrounding him.
After all this success, it would be easy for a young kid like Bryant to get caught up in the hype and assume his ticket to Wrigley has already been punched. But Bryant is keeping his head out of the clouds.
“When I was in college, we did a whole lot of the mental-training side of baseball and just staying in the moment,” he said. “Those tools have really carried over into professional baseball and they’ve helped me tremendously.
“I’m just falling back on the things I know. Those are the tools I have in my belt and I’ve been using them. So I’m just staying in the moment every day, focusing on getting better as a player and as a person.”
And staying super dreamy with those beautiful blue eyes.