Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cubs Jeff Samardzija fighting for fifth spot on rotation

Last year, Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija pitched well after being called up. He struck out 25 batters in 27 2/3 innings pitched and finished with an ERA of 2.28.

Earlier this week, the Cubs traded for Aaron Heilman by sending Ronny Cedeno and Garrett Olson to the Mariners.

Heilman and Samardzija will fight for the fifth spot in the rotation along with Sean Marshall and Chad Gaudin.

The top 4 starters are Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly.

What about Jake Peavy?

Cubs Asst. GM Randy Bush says there have been "no talks" not once, not twice, but 3 times.
"We've had no talks about Jake Peavy since they were well documented during the winter meetings. There's been nothing to add with that. No talks. There's been no talks with that, and I don't anticipate anything happening with that."
Samardzija wants to do anything possible to "avoid the whole Triple-A stint."
"I've been watching it pretty closely," Samardzija said of the Heilman trade. "All I can do is go to spring training and put my arm in the best shape possible. The way it is shaping up now, there is an open spot for the fifth starter. I'm going to fight tooth and nail for that position..."
Both Samardzija and Heilman are South Bend alums.
"I know Aaron pretty well," Samardzija said. "He came back to Notre Dame once when I was a sophomore. I'm sure he's going to be competing as hard as I am."
Pitchers and catchers report February 14th.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sox tell Varitek to take it or leave it

The U.S. (and rest of the world for that matter) is experiencing challenging economic times. Moreover, an economic turnaround is not expected any time soon.

While players such as C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira and their new deals seem to defy the current global economic environment, the market for free agents has been affected. Just ask Manny Ramirez. And Jason Varitek.

Varitek, the Red Sox captain, has been offered a $5 million deal from the team. The deal includes an option for a second year that would be worth $5 million if the Sox exercise it and $3 million if Varitek does.

Varitek, who turned down arbitration on December 7th, would have earned somewhere between $10-$12 million for 2009.

Varitek's agent, the uber-jerk Scott Boras, thought he could "create a market" for Varitek.

Varitek had career lows in batting average (.220), OBP (.313), slugging percentage (.359) and OPS (.672) in 2008.

With a little more than 2 weeks to go before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, it would be wise for Varitek to accept the Sox' offer, which the team says is good until Friday.