The Chicago Cubs have some tough decisions to make after the 2013 season comes to an end for the rebuilding franchise.
Starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija is under club control until 2015, according to ESPN, but with long-term contracts given to young talents such as Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, Samardzjia is wondering if he will get his extension. Numerous reports have stated that Samardzija’s agent Mark Rogers, and the Chicago Cubs front office have had discussions about a possible extension, but talks have not lead to any concrete agreement as of yet. The pitcher hasn’t been doing himself any favors so far this season as his ERA is above four.
Samardzija’s current contract, according to ESPN, is $2.64 million. The question is how much has the 28-year-old hurt his value with having an ERA consistently around four (Samardzjia’s career ERA is 4.11).
Another question, which probably won’t be resolved during the offseason but is still worth questioning, is what to do with manager Dale Sveum. There is no doubt that Sveum has been given the keys to a club in transition and it’s a bit unfair to judge the manager based off wins and losses. However, Sveum also must be judged on the development of what the organization believes to be Major League talents such as Rizzo and Castro. Rizzo is finishing up his first ever full-length Major League season and is batting .232 with 21 home runs. The batting average is very low but Rizzo is still young at 24 and may be able to turn it around next season.
Castro, on the other hand, has regressed despite a recent hot streak that’s seen him hit .333, and went from a 200 plus hits type of payer to struggling at the plate and unable to put together lengthy at bats that result in walks. Castro is batting .242 with only a .282 on-base percentage. What compounds this problem even further is the 23-year-old’s lack of defensive consistency. Some moments Castro will make highlight-reel plays, while other times he looks completely lost.
Sveum must develop these players that the fan base and front office believe to be the future superstars of the Chicago Cubs. Without results, Sveum may find himself out of a job before the organization returns to what they hope will be continued contention.