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Jeff Samardzija signs with Cubs

Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija signed a one-year, $5.345 million deal Saturday, avoiding arbitration. Samardzija was the club's last arbitration-eligible player left and appeared headed for a hearing Monday, which would have been the first for Theo Epstein as Cubs' president.

The two sides had a sizable disagreement in Samardzija's worth in his second year of arbitration. Samardzija filed for $6.2 million, while the Cubs countered at $4.4 million. The midway point would have been $5.3 million.

Samardzija, 29, finished with an 8-13 record in 33 starts, and his earned-run average rose from 3.81 in 2012 to 4.34.

But he made his first opening day start and wound up with 2132/3 innings and 214 strikeouts, becoming one of only four National League pitchers to surpass 200 innings and 200 strikeouts.

Now he has to wonder how long he will remain with the Cubs.

Epstein said in December he no longer would address Samardzija's status after having to deal with widespread rumors Samardzija was on the trade block last summer and this winter.

But if they can't come to terms on an extension, which appears unlikely, the Cubs are expected to entertain offers for Samardzija again, as they have done since July.

The club failed to come to an agreement with him on a five-year offer and Samardzija's price tag only will rise if he has a strong season.

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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