Samardzija Gives Up Football

Some of you might remember back to last June, when the Cubs selected Notre Dame RHP (and WR) Jeff Samardzija in the 5th Round of the Rule 4 Draft (June Draft). The Cubs subsequently gave Samardzija what was reported at the time as a record-setting multi-million dollar bonus that the Cubs hoped would ultimately dissuade Samardzija from pursuing a career in the NFL. Not so, apparently Yesterday, Baseball America reported that the supposed record-setting $7.25M bonus Samardzija could have potentially received from the Cubs is a myth. What Samardzija actually got was $250,000 to sign, and another $250K if he reports to Spring Training 2007. That's it. $500K. The Cubs had apparently HOPED to sign Samardzija to a back-loaded $7.25M minor league deal with yearly club options that would escalate Samardzija's salary annually as long as he continued to play baseball, but the proposed deal was nixed by the MLB office because minor league contracts with club options are not permitted. In order for the Cubs to have signed Samardzija to such a deal, it would have to be a Major League contract with Samardzija getting a spot on the Cubs 40-man roster, and the Cubs were unwillng to go that far with Samardzija at that time. According to the report in BA, the Cubs still hoped to sign Samardzija to a long-term deal with yearly club options (probably similar to the $10.5M Major League deal Mark Prior got from the Cubs in 2001, except for less money), but that apparently would depend on whether Samardzija would agree to make a commitment to playing baseball over a likely opportunity to play in the NFL. Well, that happened today. Paul Sullivan is reporting in the Chicago Tribune that the Cubs have signed Samardzija to a five-year deal worth $10M ( including a $2.5M signing bonus), plus a club option for two additional years that could bring the total value of the contract up to $16.5M over seven years (through 2013). And in exchange, Samardzija will give up football. Carrie Muskat at is reporting that Samardzija signed a Major League contract, and if he did, he will have to be added to the 40-man roster immediately. And if he is placed on the 40-man roster, he will get four minor league options instead of three, although (barring injury) the fourth and final option year must be used prior to the 2012 season. (Players receive a 4th minor league option year if they have not completed five "full seasons"--that is, 60 days on an active minor league or MLB roster or rosters from the start of a season, or 90 days total on an active minor league or MLB roster or rosters in a given season--prior to using up their first three options). For those of you following Samardzija's gridiron exploits, he was to have played his final college football game a week from tomorrow (January 27th) at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL. Pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park in Mesa on February 14th, and it had been reported last Summer that as part of his Cubs deal, he would receive an NRI to Spring Training with the big club. However, Samardzija was not on the list of Cubs non-roster players invited to ST as released by the club earlier this month. That's probably because the NFL pre-draft scouting combine will be held in Indianapolis February 21-27, and if he had not decided to quit football, Samardzija almost certainly would have attended the combine, and as such he would not have been available to report to ST until the end of February. That would have placed him so far behind the other pitchers in camp that it wouldn't have been worth having him try to catch up. The Cubs minor league camp opens on or about March 1st, so it was far more likely that if Samardzija had not given up his football career, that he would have reported there instead, before starting the season at Peoria or perhaps at Daytona. The NFL draft is scheduled for April 28-29 (about a month into baseball's regular season), and Samardzija had been projected as a "first day" pick, probably most-likely somewhere in the 2nd Round. I guess now we'll never know exactly where he would have been selected. I do know this, though. While the Cubs might not get into the World Series anytime soon, with Jeff Samardzija, Drew Rundle (star WR at Bend HS in Oregon), and Clifford Andersen (star WR at Cottonwood HS in Utah) in the organization, the Cubs now have a WR corps that could make the Bears jealous.


[...] UPDATE: Told you it was a rumor, a mean, vicious rumor at that. It seems the press conference will be about 5th round pick Jeff Samardzija choosing the majesty of baseball over the brutality of football. You can read AZPhil’s post on recent developments in his contract as well. [...]

Interesting...if you link to a post in another post, it creates a comment. Not sure what the point is, but it's snazzy.

Never has a TCR article become so irrelevant so quickly.

What is the opposite of prescience? Well, whatever it is, that's what I've got.

Bogey, I hope you re-post that story on Leyland and Neifi you had on the last thread. Such sweet vindication!

someone posted it in the last Santo thread earlier fwiw....

I was going to put it in the Friday Notes as well...

Levine says the Samardzija deal will be a 5 yr contract...$9m guaranteed+incentives.

Does anyone know if tickets will be sold via the wristband system this year. The Cubs website just says "2007 single game tickets on sale online here Friday Feb 23". So are they only selling tickets online this year? If so, that is terrible. I am tired of getting cornholed by the devil that is ticketmaster/ $4.25 "convenience" fees per ticket makes my Pujols hurt.

Boo internet!

Does that mean Neifi is on the trading block..?

Oh, sweet Jesus... don't make eye contact.

I just heard Bruce Levine on the Dan Patrick show where Bruce said the following sentence (and I quote):

"The Cubs believe that Samardzija will be a top-of-the-rotation-guy in 2008."

Wait, what?

I know the guy can throw 95 with a sick deuce-piece, but 2008? It is 2007 now, right? He pitched at Boise last year, and he's going to be "top of the rotation" next season?

Anyone else surprised? Nauseated? Hungry?

I did not see that coming....that's for sure.
I thought that he's test the NFL waters to drive up his salary.

I know there was once a study on this somewhere but I'm fairly certain that someone has a better chance to make more money with baseball over football.

Despite Johnson and Ginn coming out early, Kiper still had Jeff projected as a late first rounder so I'd say with the Cubs offering up a guaranteed (reportedly) $9m that made the decision a lot easier. There's supposed to be an arse load of escalators/incentives so who knows it could potentially be a huge deal. From everything reported here around SB he did intend initially to try both sports and then concentrate on 1 after the first year or two. He was on the ESPN Radio affiliate here in SB last week and raved about his time in Boise and hoped to spend some time with Peoria this season so he could pitch against the Silverhawks at Coveleski Stadium downtown SB and of course meet Ryno.

Yeah Rob, it was my study.

Look at average years and average money. Baseball is higher on both counts. Not to mention that baseball has no salary cap.

Oh and I guess I'm not the only one who realized that he wasn't a first round draft pick. Apparently, he knew it too.

forgot to mention...if you look at what a late WR 1st round pick would get in salary, the Steelers took Santonio Holmes at pick #25 and his salary was 5yrs/8.11 million...Samardzjia reportedly receives a very similar deal to that (depending on what the incentives are of course) at 5/$9m.

"forgot to mention…if you look at what a late WR 1st round pick would get in salary, the Steelers took Santonio Holmes at pick #25 and his salary was 5yrs/8.11 million…Samardzjia reportedly receives a very similar deal to that (depending on what the incentives are of course) at 5/$9m."

The difference is, NFL contracts aren't guaranteed. They can sign you for whatever they want, then cut you a day later. The only guaranteed money is a signing bonus, and unless you're a stud, those are fairly small for rookies.

well that was implied. Rarely does a 1st rounder get clipped quickly though without some habitual drug problem or conduct detrimental to the team. How long did David Terrell hang around.

not discounting your study Chad, but my recollection was something in a major newspaper, but I'm sure they reached the same conclusion.

We'll have to see what Samardzija has to say, but NFL projections don't mean much right now. If he waited until the combine and the draft and dropped to a 2nd round or later pick, he would have missed out on his spring training invite and the beginning of the minor league year as well as the money that was being offered by the Cubs, who would have likely backed off on the deal substantially if he waited until the NFL draft to decide. Not to mention if he didn't choose football over baseball, his draft slot in the NFL probably drops, much like it did in the baseball draft.

at least that's my take...

ESPN saying the deal is for $10m now.

also club options for 2012 & 2013 via ESPN

Chad — January 19, 2007 @ 2:29 pm

Oh and I guess I’m not the only one who realized that he wasn’t a first round draft pick. Apparently, he knew it too.

Maybe he just wanted to play baseball?

It's not uncommon for highly-touted football prospects to take this route. J.R. House and Adam Dunn made the decision to concentrate on baseball before even breaking camp in college.... and both were deemed to be just as likely to be in the NFL as the majors at the time.

I have a hard time believing that this has to do with his projected draft status.... I'd say the pro's and cons of playing each sport professionally was much more of a factor.

"Bogey — January 19, 2007 @ 2:30 pm

forgot to mention…if you look at what a late WR 1st round pick would get in salary, the Steelers took Santonio Holmes at pick #25 and his salary was 5yrs/8.11 million…Samardzjia reportedly receives a very similar deal to that (depending on what the incentives are of course) at 5/$9m."

That's assuming he was a late first rounder, which he wasn't.

That’s assuming he was a late first rounder, which he wasn’t.

your just guessing chad, just like others are guessing he was a late first-rounder.

Either way, there was no GUARANTEE that he was a 1st-rounder, meaning there was little in guaranteed money coming his way. If he stayed on the fence about football/baseball his stock would have definitely dropped though. No one's wasting a 1st round pick on a maybe guy...

I guess we don't know yet exactly how Samardzija's deal will work, but it is reported as a guaranteed $10M over five years (2007-2011)--including $7.5M in salary and a $2.5M signing bonus, plus club options for 2012 & 2013 totaling an additional $6.5M.

Here's the deal Mark Prior got from the Cubs in 2001:

Minimum $10.5M (plus incentives and potential salary escalators), including a $4M signing bonus paid in increments of $800K over the years 2001-2005, and a five-year (2002-2006) Major League contract worth $6.5M (and thus a spot on the Cubs 40-man roster), with built-in escalating salaries:

2002: $250K
2003: $650K
2004: $1.6M
2005: $2M
2006: $2M

He also subsequently did get an automatic $750K salary escalator each season in 2004, 2005, and 2006 as the result of being named to the 2003 N. L. All-Star team and finishing in the Top 3 in the Cy Young voting in 2003, AND, he had the right to terminate the contract after the 2004 or 2005 season, depending on when he would be eligible for arbtration for the first time (and Prior did exercise this option after the 2005 season).

Let's see, Blue & Gold Ill, Irish Eyes, South Bend Tribune, Mel Kiper, ESPN, and FOX Sports as of last week still had him projected as a late 1st round pick. So those reputable published writers/commentators or a Sosa apologist named Chad on a Cubs blog? Tough call but I'll go with the former. No offense.

that's right now, those lists change pretty dramatically after the combine....

Definitely surprised by this one -- I thought for sure he'd go to the NFL. Sounds like he's pretty smart though, because with Johnson, Ginn, and Jarrett all going pro, he's going to be at least 4th on the list of WRs come draft day.

Also, per the Cubs' official website, Samardzija says that he signed a "Major League contract" so it sounds like he'll be added to the 40-man immediately.

I don't have access to the various NFL Draft insider stuff, but (fwiw) Scout Inc recently dropped Samardzija out of their projected 1st Round. So maybe Jeff was beginning to see the writing on the wall, and figured a bad showing in either the Senior Bowl next week and/or at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis next month might drop his stock even further.

#20 Maybe he just wanted to play baseball?

"It’s not uncommon for highly-touted football prospects to take this route. J.R. House and Adam Dunn made the decision to concentrate on baseball before even breaking camp in college…. and both were deemed to be just as likely to be in the NFL as the majors at the time."

Exactly LNL, throw in Kirk Gibson, Helton, Drew Henson, Chad Hutchinson, Joe Borchard..even Bo Jackson who turned down TB's offer and signed with the Royals...though in his case it was more of a bargaining chip than anything else.

I've been told the server is upgraded and the caching business has been solved. Let me know if you experience hiccups...

A couple or three minor items of note regarding the Samardzija signing, presuming Samardzija did in fact sign a Major League contract:

1. He will have to be added to the 40-man roster.

2. Someone now on the 40 will have to be dropped (DFA'd or trade)... most-likely Buck Coats (unless a Jacque Jones-for-prospects deal is imminent),

3. Samardzija will get four minor league options instead of three, as long as he uses the four options prior to the 2012 season.

WSCR Offman also says that Samardzija has a no trade clause in his contract.

He probably picked MLB because he didn;t want to get killed in the NFL. Big difference from playing against Army than the Ravens.

I believe I read where an NFL career on average is 4-5 years.

But a Cub pitching prospect sometimes has the shelf life of a banana.

WSCR Offman also says that Samardzija has a no trade clause in his contract.

WTF? That's pretty dumb.....

This is driving me insane, reading his name over and over without knowing how to pronounce it. Can anyone give me a phonetic?

In my head I keep hearing "Smard-zilla," which I'm positive isn't right.


Honestly i thought it was


I hate Dayn Perry:

He has yet to see the guy pitch, and he's already calling him a reliever. I swear, Perry sold out when he signed that deal with Fox Sports. He used to be a nice analyst.

Far be it for me to disagree but i'm going with


Shortly after BA's report of the contract last summer, the Tribune noted that the contract was never completed.

Hmm. I'm inclined to think the Cubs did a very nice job with this deal. Color me surprised, and pleased.

Really? They're paying him practically the same as they did Prior (a consensus #1) for a guy who was a mid first round pick with nowhere near the polish on him. And that NTC if true is beyond moronic...

Nothing I've read about this guy justifies him getting a 40-man at this moment....

Yeah, I know they needed to entice him away from football, but with the attrition rate of pitchers, I don't see how this is a good deal at all.

No-trade clause indeed....nutty.

It's a gamble, certainly, but the market for pitching talent is already radically (well, not radically, but significantly) different from when Prior signed, and so is the state of the Cubs' farm system.

The NTC clause - can't trade a minor leaguer in year 1, anyway, and beyond that, for the amount of money we paid to get him, I A. can't imagine we'd want to trade him if he's at all useful, and B. can't imagine he'd be tradable at that contract, if he DOES prove to be a disappointment. I consider the NTC to almost be a moot point.

And furthermore, it troubles me that no one has pointed out the most important thing about Samardzija:

His name, pronounced backwards, is A jiz dramas....

Chew on that, for awhile.......

if you check out comment #37, you'll notice one of the new features, automatically shortened URL's.

A preview button I think is coming as well......

Baseball America has reported the details of Jeff Samardzija's new contract:

Major League Contract (and thus a spot on the 40-man roster)
$2.5M signing bonus
2007: MLB minimum $380K (or $300K minor league split)
2008: $850K (or $600K minor league split)
2009: $1.3M
2010: $2.5M
2011: $2.8M
2012: $3M (mutual option - player can opt out only if he is eligible for salary arbitration)
2013: $3.5M (mutual option - player can opt out only if he is eligible for salary-arbitration)

Also according to BA, Hendry said at the press conference that he expects Samardzija to be assigned to Daytona in 2007.

I think we should be glad he chose his first love. If your heart is in it you will be a much more successful player. He has played basball his entire life. Also just maybe he wolud like to be close to home. He got nice deal and he is a smart guy, the Cubs are lucky to have him.............

su mar ju

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  • Good work!

    John Beasley 31 min 55 sec ago view
  • crunch 7 hours 9 min ago view
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    jacos 7 hours 9 min ago view
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    crunch 7 hours 24 min ago view
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    Eric S 7 hours 42 min ago view
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    /Asking for a friend

    jacos 8 hours 6 min ago view
  • my gawd...that castillo-to-bryant pickoff was a thing of beauty. the knock on him in the minors being slow out of the crouch is looking less like a thing.

    crunch 8 hours 18 min ago view
  • bless your heart. *pinches cheeks*

    crunch 13 hours 15 min ago view
  • real shame I missed this week's episode of The Crunch Reporter.

    It's highly unusual.

    It does matter a little.

    It matters much less than you think.



    Rob G. 13 hours 17 min ago view
  • four winds field is awesome. it's crazy how minor league parks have "grown up" since the 80s/90s and that park was one of the late-80s models that showed a low-capacity ballpark could look like you're at something other than a highschool baseball game.

    crunch 14 hours 23 min ago view
  • On another topic....I returned to South Bend last night for the 2nd time this season (still haven't tried either the deep-fried mac & cheese sandwich nor "The Porknado", as the drive home is over an hour and that could get ugly), and was pleasantly surprised to find D. Underwood pitching in a rehab start. He looked good -- although, to be fair, these are low-A hitters -- fastball consistently at 94-95 (if the SB scoreboard is to be believed -- several pitches were clocked in the 30s...) and with good location.

    billybucks 15 hours 31 min ago view
  • he gains nothing, no advantage, no saving of resources, nothing...there is not a cost/benefit tradeoff...him letting the running game go on around him for others to control isn't gaining him an advantage elsewhere. it's putting him at a disadvantage even if it's not cashed in with a run.

    crunch 18 hours 11 min ago view
  • And out of respect for the rest of TCR, I'm done on this. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the other camp, but time to let it go. (Until the next Lester start. I kid.)


    Tito 18 hours 14 min ago view
  • He is putting himself at a disadvanage. But how much of one relative to the rest of his game? He's not Justin Germano -- he's inarguably one of the best SPs in baseball, issue or not. It would be more of thing to discuss ad nauseum if it constantly caused him to give up runs and lose games. But it doesn't.


    Tito 18 hours 24 min ago view
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    crunch 18 hours 30 min ago view
  • I'm asking how much it has hurt Lester and the Cubs this year. Do you have that answer?

    I legitimately don't recall you answering that quesion, apart from the condescending silliness you just posted. So if you did answer specifically about the impact of Lester's issue, I'd like to re-read it. Thanks.


    Tito 18 hours 43 min ago view