6:09 PM: A report that Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs were "far apart" in talks on an extension appears to have taken Samardzija himself by surprise, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat writes. "There really hasn't been any talks," says Samardzija, who says that he and the Cubs have had other priorities since the beginning of spring training. The two sides had talked about the possibility of an extension months ago, and they "were on the same page" at the time, Samardzija says.
5:03 PM: The Cubs made pitcher Jeff Samardzija an offer "well above" the nearly $30MM, five-year contract the Rangers gave Derek Holland last spring, but it doesn't appear that it will be enough to get a deal done, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Samardzija, who has three years to go before he reaches free agency, is believed to be seeking something much more lucrative.
Theo Epstein & Co. have made two runs at signing the 28-year-old but the gap between the two sides is sizable enough that it has put talks on hold. While the right-hander isn't afraid to hold out for what he feels is a fair number, Heyman notes that he has made no secret of his fondness for the Cubs organization. All things considered, there is reason for both sides to be optimistic that a deal will eventually be struck.
The 2012 season marked Samardzija's first in the rotation as he pitched to a 3.81 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.