On the day that another trade rumor surfaced regarding Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija, the ace of the North Side staff made one thing perfectly clear: He wants to stay in Chicago.
Samardzija joined the David Kaplan Show on WGN Radio on Tuesday night and discussed his future, whether it be the recent trade rumors or whether or not he'll be signing a long-term deal to stay on the North Side.
Samardzija's no stranger to the trade rumors, as he stood in the Cubs' clubhouse and watched many teammates go through this same process during last season's sell-off. It's the experiences of those players that is able to help him brush the media speculation and various reports aside.
"Obviously it's all just hearsay," Samardzija said. "You pay attention to every little thing you hear, your head's going to be spinning. It just is what it is, that's how it is right now, and we'll just go with it and play off guys like (Matt) Garza and (Scott) Feldman and those guys. You just kind of hear the stories, but most of it, talking to those guys, 99 percent of it is always just talk anyways. I'm looking forward to getting my offseason work out going, getting in shape and really being ready for spring training."
The pitcher who posted an 8-13 record last season with a 4.34 ERA touched on his contract situation and the fact that a long-term agreement has yet to be made between him and the Cubs front office. Kaplan asked Samardzija about his motivations when it comes to signing a long-term deal, and Samardzija said it's not the money that matters but winning that truly is the bottom line.
"I think the only thing with me signing a contract is winning ballgames and competing and playing in October," Samardzija said. "That's it. This game, a lot of other things get talked about, but when you talk about stability and this and that, let's be honest. We play baseball, so we travel a lot regardless. Necessarily where you're playing isn't going to be where you are all the time. Teams change, things change. And money's always going to be there if you do your job and you do it how you're supposed to do it, you're a leader and you're a professional. Those two things are null and void. It's about winning. Period. It's about being on a team that wins. Obviously that's what this organization wants to do.
"There's no reason why that can't be the Cubs. And that's what I've been saying this whole time. This is where I want to be. I grew up here. For me to say I want to be somewhere else is ridiculous. That's not the case, I want it to happen here, and it needs to happen here. It's about that time. I think everybody wants it and I think everyone is dying for it just as bad as I am."
While there will be much talk over if and when Samardzija will sign an extension to remain in Chicago, the pitcher said there's plenty of time left
"This is where I want to be," Samardzija said. "And the truth of the matter is I've got two years of arbitration left. That's a lot of time to prove to myself and to everybody that we can win here. And that's what I'm banking on. We've still got some time left to get this done, and I don't everything is cut in stone that it needs to be now, it needs to be next month or this or that. As long as both sides in agreement, it's what I want and they want that's important, then that's what it's all about for me. As long as we're on the same page, then you're happy with what happens and you're happy with the outcome."