Is Samardzija helping Garza extension talks?

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Is Samardzija helping Garza extension talks?

Rumors swirled this winter around Matt Garza and his future with the Cubs.

The 28-year-old right-hander is set to become a free agent after next season, so it's at the point where the Cubs would either need to trade Garza for prospects as part of the rebuilding process or ink him to an extension.

FOXSports' Ken Rosenthal checked in from Arlington, Tex., Saturday and said he's hearing the Cubs are now leaning more towards signing Garza long-term, thanks in large part to the emergence of Jeff Samardzija in the rotation.

With Samardzija joining Garza, that gives the Cubs two building blocks in the rotation going forward.

Check out the video, about a minute into it.

Video: MLB on FOX: Rosenthal report

Bowl eligibility no sure thing for Notre Dame, especially with a loss to Syracuse

Bowl eligibility no sure thing for Notre Dame, especially with a loss to Syracuse

Notre Dame hasn’t fallen short of bowl eligibility since 2007, a year that invokes visceral reactions around South Bend. But at 1-3, Notre Dame’s chances of getting to six wins aren't necessarily healthy in 2016. 

S&P+ gives Notre Dame a 21 percent chance of going 6-6, a 9 percent chance of going 7-5 and a 2 percent chance of going 8-4, so added up that’s only a 32 percent chance of becoming bowl eligible. The most likely records, according to S&P+, are 5-7 (30 percent) and 4-8 (25 percent). Notre Dame has a better chance of finishing 2-10 (3 percent) than it does 8-4, by these numbers. 

(For more on S&P+ and the methodology behind it, click here)

The reason behind those, in all honestly, shockingly low numbers: only three games in which S&P+ favors Notre Dame to win going forward. Those are Syracuse (65 percent), Navy (71 percent) and Army (78 percent). Win probabilities for Notre Dame’s other games: 40 percent (N.C. State), 31 percent (Stanford), 28 percent (Miami), 36 percent (Virginia Tech) and 39 percent (USC). 

FEI is more optimistic about Notre Dame’s bowl chances, giving the Irish a better than 60 percent chance to win games against Syracuse, N.C. State, Miami, Navy, Army and Virginia Tech. But FEI also gave Notre Dame a 90.8 percent chance of beating Duke heading into last week, which is less an indictment of the numbers and more an indictment of how poorly the Irish played against the Blue Devils. 

Syracuse, though, looks like it’ll present a difficult challenge for Notre Dame. The Orange rank 36th in offensive S&P+, largely due to their excellent passing game (15th in success rate). Notre Dame ranks 78th in defensive S&P+ and 121st in passing success rate, which certainly looks like a concerning matchup.

Syracuse’s defense is bad, though (101st in S&P+), so Notre Dame’s top-15 offense should be able to put up some points. In short: Expect a shootout if Notre Dame does win on Saturday at MetLife Stadium. 

But if Notre Dame loses to fall to 1-4, sound the alarms. Or start planning your football-less vacation during bowl season. 

Bears: Jay Cutler goes from 'limited' in practice to 'DNP' on Thursday

Bears: Jay Cutler goes from 'limited' in practice to 'DNP' on Thursday

The Bears' quarterback situation, expected to resolve with Brian Hoyer starting Sunday against the Detroit Lions, appeared to tilt a little further in that direction as Jay Cutler, limited in practice on Wednesday, did not practice at all on Thursday.

Cutler, clad only in sweats and no helmet, tossed passes to receivers in individual warmups but did not participate as he and the team opted to rest his injured right thumb, which forced him out of the Dallas game.

“I think we just didn’t want to aggravate it more,” head coach John Fox said. “A thumb on a throwing hand of a quarterback is a delicate situation. So we just figured we wouldn’t go out there and have any stress on it.”

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Sitting out entirely should not trigger alarm bells. Cutler has not been expected to start vs. Detroit and he had not done significant work in practice on Wednesday.

“It doesn’t take too much to quantify [as] ‘limited’ [in practice],” Fox said. “It’s kind of what it is. But we just felt it was better to just have him rehab and continue to strengthen it.”

Also out of practice and expected to miss the Lions game: running backs Ka’Deem Carey and Jeremy Langford, nose tackle Eddie Goldman and linebacker Danny Trevathan.

Limited: Alshon Jeffery (knee/hamstring), Josh Sitton (shoulder). Jonathan Bullard (toe), Willie Young (knee), Harold Jones-Quartey (concussion), Sherrick McManis (hamstring) and Tracy Porter (knee).