Cubs Notes: Rizzo, Samardzija, Draft, Offseason

Earlier today, the Cubs confirmed last night's reports of a seven-year extension for Anthony Rizzo. At today's press conference to announce the move, general manager Jed Hoyer told reporters, including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, that the deal was first discussed in Spring Training, and talks accelerated in the past 10 days (Twitter link). Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago adds (also via Twitter) that the contract was actually finalized last week; Rizzo took his physical his physical on the Cubs' off-day. Here's more on the Cubs in what will go down as a critical day in their franchise's history…

  • Jeff Samardzija's agent Mark Rogers tells Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago that there are still no talks on the extension front with his client. The two sides will re-visit discussions in the offseason to see if they can hammer out a long-term deal Samardzija is controlled through the 2015 season. The Cubs consider Samardzija "one of their upper-tier starters of the future," writes Levine.
  • Selecting a pitcher with the No. 2 pick in this year's draft "appears to be a sure thing," Levine adds. Stanford right-hander Mark Appel and Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray are the consensus top two arms in the draft right now, though Levine doesn't list any specific names.
  • In addition to extending Samardzija, signing one other free agent starter this offseason "seems essential" to Levine. That would give the Cubs a pitching core of Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, the pitcher selected second in the 2013 draft, and a solid free agent, with another high draft pick in 2014 likely on the horizon. Here's a look at all of the available 2014 free agents.
  • David Kaplan of CSN Chicago offers a similar sentiment, stating that fans should expect the Cubs to spend on free agency once again this coming offseason. Multiple Major League sources, including an AL front-office executive, told Kaplan they expect the Cubs to be in on the top free agent names this offseason, including Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury, of course, was drafted by Cubs president Theo Epstein when he was GM of the Red Sox.
  • MLBTR collected some reactions to Rizzo's extension from around the web earlier today, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

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