Jan. 19, 2007
The Chicago Cubs today announced that the club and right-handed pitcher Jeff Samardzija have agreed to a five-year Major League contract with club options for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Samardzija, who will focus solely on his baseball career, will report to Big League camp in Mesa, Ariz., on February 14.
Samardzija, 21, was Chicago's fifth round selection in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. He made seven starts between Single-A Boise and Single-A Peoria, posting a 2.70 combined ERA (9 ER/30.0 IP) and was named the Cubs' fourth-best prospect by Baseball America at season's end.
A standout student-athlete at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., Samardzija went 8-2 with a 4.33 ERA (47 ER/97.2 IP) in 15 starts for the Fighting Irish last season. He closed out the 2006 campaign with three straight outings of 8.0 or more innings while striking out 61 and walking 37 on the season. He allowed just three home runs in 97.2 innings of work and was named first team All-Big East.
Samardzija went 21-6 with a 3.82 ERA (102 ER/240.1 IP) in 50 career games (31 starts) for Notre Dame. Just 12 pitchers in the 114-year history of Notre Dame baseball have won more games in their careers than Samardzija (each with 22-plus wins). Overall, he surrendered just 11 home runs in his 240.1 innings of work and struck out 159 while walking 84.
The Valparaiso, Ind., native was also a star wide receiver on the Notre Dame football team. He led the football team with 78 receptions and 1,017 receiving yards in 2006, his senior season, and was named first team All-America by the Football Writers Association of America. In 2005, he set Notre Dame single-season records for yards receiving (1,249) and touchdown catches (15).
Samardzija, who turns 22 on Tuesday, graduated from Valparaiso (Ind.) High School in 2003. He batted .481 with eight home runs and 50 RBI as a senior after posting a .375 average with five home runs and 37 RBI as a junior.