He may not believe he's pitching for a contract, but Opening Day starter Jeff Samardzija showed again Wednesday why the Cubs' front office considers him as much a core piece of its big plans as long-term-deal guys Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo.
Two days after Rizzo's seven-year $41 million deal was announced, Samardzija had his best start since the opener, pitching eight powerful innings to beat the Colorado Rockies 6-3 - and lift the Cubs out of last and into a fourth-place tie with Milwaukee in the N.L. Central.
The Cubs have put Samardzija at the top of their list for a contract extension, but got little traction in talks last fall. Samardzija says he'd rather prove he's as good as he and the club thinks he is, and then talk deal.
Ready to talk now?
"Absolutely not," he said. "Nope. This is a great team, really coming around right now, playing great baseball. I'm just really looking to keep this going. It's fun to play with these guys."