2014 National Baseball Arbitration Competition

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1 2014 National Baseball Arbitration Competition Jeff Samardzija v. Chicago Cubs Submission on Behalf of Chicago Cubs Midpoint: $4.9 million Submission by: Team 26

2 Table of Contents I. Introduction and Request for Hearing Decision... 3 II. Quality of the Player s Contribution During the Past Season. 4 III. Length and Consistency of Career Contributions 6 IV. Comparative Baseball Salaries 7 V. Past Player Compensation.. 10 VI. Existence of Physical or Mental Defects VII. Recent Performance of the Club 11 VIII. Conclusion. 12 Table of Authorities Baseball-Reference.com, Chicago Tribune, ESPN.com, MLB.com, MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement Basic Agreement, Notre Dame Fighting Irish Athletics, Page 2 of 12

3 I. Introduction and Request for Hearing Decision This brief analyzes the assets and contributions of right-handed pitcher Jeff Samardzija ( Samardzija ) to be reflected in his 2014 contract with the Chicago Cubs Baseball Club (the Club or the Cubs ). The Major League Baseball ( MLB ) Collective Bargaining Agreement ( CBA ) between MLB Clubs and the MLB Players Association set the criteria to be considered in this arbitration hearing. 1 Under the CBA Article VI, Section E(10)(a)-(b), the criteria to be considered in this arbitration hearing include: (1) the quality of the Player s contribution to the Club during the past season, including, but not limited to, his overall performance, special qualities of leadership and public appeal; (2) the length and consistency of his career contribution; (3) the record of the Player s past compensation; (4) comparative baseball salaries; (5) the existence of any physical or mental defects; and (6) the recent performance record of the Club, including, but not limited to, its League standing and attendance as an indication of public acceptance. 2 The arbitration panel shall give particular attention, for comparative salary purposes, to the contracts of Players with Major League service not exceeding one annual service group above the Player s annual service group. 3 Samardzija has reached years of MLB service, entitling him to file a request for second-year arbitration. 4 The Club has concerns about Samardzija s struggle to maintain consistency, as both a starting and relief pitcher, and the uncertainty surrounding his role on the pitching staff in the future. Samardzija s past performance and future prospects, as outlined in this brief and oral argument, establish that Samardzija is fairly entitled to a 2014 salary less than the 1 MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement Basic Agreement, Article VI(E) 10(a)-(b). pp at 10(a). 3 4 at 1(a). Page 3 of 12

4 $4.9 million midpoint between his final offer and that of the Club. The Club respectfully requests that the arbitration panel find that he is entitled to a 2014 salary arbitration award of $4.7 million. II. Quality of the Player s Contribution to the Club in 2013 JEFF SAMARDZIJA 2013 STATISTICS 5 W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB Ks AVG WHIP NL Rank T-44 th T-6 th 36 th T-2 nd 5 th 3 rd 3 rd 2 nd 5 th 2 nd 4 th 28 th 35 th In Samardzija s platform season of 2013, his second full season as a starting pitcher, Samardzija pitched in thirty-three games. While Samardzija pitched an impressive innings, his other statistics leave ample room for improvement going forward. Samardzija giving up 210 hits, 103 earned runs, twenty-five home runs and seventy-eight walks is partially attributable to his high number of innings pitched. However, his Earned Run Average ( ERA ), Opponents Batting Average, and Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched ( WHIP ) tell a different story. Among the forty-three National League pitchers with at least innings pitched in 2013, Samardzija ranked thirty-sixth in ERA, twenty-eighth in Opponents Batting Average, and thirty-fifth in WHIP. JEFF SAMARDZIJA RUNNERS ON vs. BASES EMPTY ERA IP H R ER HR BB Ks AVG WHIP Runners On Bases Empty Difference Examining Samardzija s platform season more closely, the statistics show that he struggled mightily with runners on base. Obviously, a pitcher is more likely to give up runs with runners already on base, but the severity of the discrepancy concerns the Club. Considering Samardzija s 5 MLB Sortable Batting Statistics, MLB.com, 6 Page 4 of 12

5 above average WHIP, Samardzija pitches with runners on base more often than other pitchers and performs poorly in those situations. JEFF SAMARDZIJA FACING LHB vs. RHB ERA IP H R ER HR BB Ks AVG WHIP v. Left v. Right Difference Samardzija also underperformed against left-handed batters. While it is common for righthanded pitchers to pitch better against right-handed batters than left-handed batters, Samardzija s differential is somewhat severe. In 20.3 less innings pitched against lefties, Samardzija has given up only four less hits and nine more earned runs, giving him an ERA of 5.21, opponents batting average of.266 and a WHIP of These statistics establish that, after two complete seasons as a starting pitcher, Samardzija still has a great deal of work to do in his development as a professional. His propensity for allowing base runners led to an unfortunate number of runs allowed over the course of the 2013 season. III. Length and Consistency of Career Contribution Drafted out of the University of Notre Dame by the Cubs in the fifth round of the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft, Samardzija worked his way through the Cubs minor league system before being called up to the major league roster on July 25, 2008, making his debut the same day against the Florida Marlins. 8 After making his debut, Samardzija spent the next two seasons going back and forth between the major league roster and the Cubs AAA team. 9 Samardzija was used as a relief pitcher during the 2011 season before spending the 2012 and 2013 seasons as a starter. 7 8 Jeff Samardzija Statistics and History, Baseball-Reference.com, 9 Page 5 of 12

6 JEFF SAMARDZIJA CAREER STATISTICS 10 W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB Ks WHIP Career Looking at Samardijza s career as a whole, his statistics show some prospects for future success. There is no question, Samardzija has shown that he can consistently provide innings for the Cubs and strike out batters. However, like his platform season numbers, Samardzija s career statistics show that he has a tendency to allow base runners both by giving up walks and hits. With a career ERA and WHIP of 4.19 and respectively, the Club hopes that Samardzija can improve during the upcoming season. Late in the 2011 season, Samardzija admitted that he had been dying to go back to the starting rotation. 11 Samardzija added, I think it s pretty obvious what I want to do for the future. 12 Despite only making a handful of starts prior to 2012, The Club has used Samardzija as a starting pitcher for the last two seasons. JEFF SAMARDZIJA CAREER AS STARTER 13 W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB Ks WHIP Career Unfortunately, Samardzija s statistics as a starter tell a similar story to his aggregate numbers. He once again shows an ability to provide innings and strikeouts, but the 396 hits, 198 earned runs, and 149 walks are cause for concern. Despite allowing less base runners as a starter with a WHIP of as compared to his overall career mark of 1.355, Samardzija has a higher ERA (4.32 as starter vs career) Reliever s goal still is to start, Chicago Tribune, bits-cubs-nationals-chica _1_cubs-bullpen-casey-coleman-bullpen-success Jeff Samardzija Statistics and History, Baseball-Reference.com, Page 6 of 12

7 IV. Comparative Baseball Salaries For purposes of determining Samardzija s value to the Cubs for the upcoming season, it is useful to compare Samardzija s statistics during his platform year and career with those of other pitchers in recent years. For such an evaluation, two players who make for excellent comparisons are Shaun Marcum ( Marcum ), who played his platform season with the Toronto Blue Jays before being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, and Ricky Nolasco ( Nolasco ), a member of the Florida Marlins at the time he arbitration eligible. These two comparisons provide further proof that Samardzija s value to the Cubs is below the $4.9 million midpoint and, as such, this panel should decide in favor of the Club s $4.7 million offer. a. Shaun Marcum- RHP ($3.95 million in 2011) Comparing Samardzija to Marcum establishes Samardzija s value below the $4.9 million midpoint. After being traded to the Brewers, Marcum agreed to a one-year contract for 2011 worth $3.95 million. 14 This contract represents a raise of $3.1 million in Marcum s second arbitration eligible year. 15 This raise reflected Marcum s significant improvement from 2009 to STAT COMPARISON- SAMARDZIJA 16 vs. MARCUM 17 W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB Ks WHIP M S Differences M Career S Career Differences Shaun Marcum Statistics and History, Baseball-Reference.com, Jeff Samardzija Statistics and History, Baseball-Reference.com, 17 Shaun Marcum Statistics and History, Baseball-Reference.com, Page 7 of 12

8 Looking to the statistical comparison between Samardzija s 2013 season and Marcum s 2010 season, Marcum clearly outperformed Samardzija. Though he pitched only 18.1 more innings than Marcum, Samardzija gave up twenty-nine more hits, twenty-four more earned runs and thirty-five more walks, giving him an ERA that was 0.70 higher and a WHIP that was higher than Marcum. In terms of career numbers, Marcum outperformed Samardzija in a number of categories. Although he threw more innings than Samardzija, Marcum gave up less Runs, Earned Runs, and Walks. As a result, Marcum had a career ERA which was 0.34 lower and a WHIP which was lower. SAMARDZIJA vs. MARCUM 18 - PLATFORM vs. LHB ERA IP H R ER HR BB Ks WHIP M v. L S v. L Differences As mentioned previously, Samardzija has struggled against left-handed batters. During his platform year, Marcum fared much better than Samardzija, giving up less hits, runs, home runs, and walks despite throwing more innings. Marcum s good numbers versus batters against which he should struggle place him among elite pitchers. Yet, his compensation was $950,000 below the midpoint in Samardzija s case. b. Ricky Nolasco- RHP ($3.8 million in 2010) Like the comparison to Marcum, the comparison between Samardzija and Nolasco is also indicative that Samardzija is less valuable than the $4.9 million midpoint. For the 2010 season, Nolasco agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.8 million, a $1.4 million raise from This modest raise reflects a regression in performance from 2008 to Ricky Nolasco Statistics and History, Baseball-Reference.com, Page 8 of 12

9 STAT COMPARISON- SAMARDZIJA 20 vs. NOLASCO 21 W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB Ks WHIP N S Differences N Career S Career Differences As was the case with Marcum, Samardzija pitched more innings during his platform season than Nolasco, partially accounting for his higher totals in Hits, Runs, Home Runs and Strikeouts. However, Samardzija allowed considerably more walks. In terms of averages, Samardzija s ERA was better than Nolasco s by 0.72 but his WHIP was worse by When comparing the career statistics of Samardzija and Nolasco, they show remarkable similarity. Throwing nearly an equal number of innings, the two pitchers are also very similar in terms of runs allowed, with Samardzija having a 0.24 advantage in ERA. However, the two allowed a similar number of hits, but Nolasco walked considerably fewer batters, giving him a.104 lower WHIP. SAMARDZIJA vs. NOLASCO 22 - PLATFORM vs. LHB ERA IP H R ER HR BB Ks WHIP N v. L S v. L Differences Once again, Samardzija appears deficient in his ability to pitch against left-handed batters compared to other pitchers. Despite pitching more innings, Nolasco gave up less hits, runs, home runs, and walks, and struck out more batters than Samardzija, giving him an ERA which was 1.39 lower and a WHIP which was 0.19 lower. 20 Jeff Samardzija Statistics and History, Baseball-Reference.com, 21 Ricky Nolasco Statistics and History, Baseball-Reference.com, 22 Page 9 of 12

10 V. Past Player Compensation Thus far in his career, Mr. Samardzija has been compensated as a part of his initial professional contract. Following his selection during the fifth round of the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft, 23 Mr. Samardzija returned to the University of Notre Dame to continue his football career. As such, the Chicago Cubs felt it necessary to offer Mr. Samardzija a large contract to adequately incentivize him to sign with the Club rather than pursue a career in the National Football League. TABLE: Past Salaries 24 Team Year Salary Chicago Cubs 2007 $2,000, Chicago Cubs 2008 $2,000, Chicago Cubs 2009 $2,000, Chicago Cubs 2010 $3,000, Chicago Cubs 2011 $3,300, Chicago Cubs 2012 $2,640, Chicago Cubs 2013 $2,640, The contract offered by the Chicago Cubs to Mr. Samardzija was a five-year contract, initially valued at $10 million, with club options for the sixth and seventh years. The Club declined the options, but signed Samardzija to one-year contracts in 2012 and The Club s offer provides a $2.1 million raise from Samardzija s 2013 compensation, demonstrating the Club s belief in his prospects for the upcoming season despite his past inconsistencies and regression from the 2012 to 2013 season. Although Samardzija has shown moments of exceptional performance, to maximize his value to the club, Mr. Samardzija is required to demonstrate consistent reliability throughout the season rather than just isolated incidents of outstanding contribution. 23 Jeff Samardzija Statistics and History, Baseball-Reference.com, 24 Page 10 of 12

11 VI. Existence of Physical or Mental Defects Although Mr. Samardzija has no history of physical injury or mental defects that would justify his devaluation, he has a long athletic history in which he has competed in multiple physically demanding sports. During his college career, Mr. Samardzija was a two-sport athlete at the University of Notre Dame, competing in both football and baseball. 25 Although there are no current injury concerns, the long-term effects of Mr. Samardzija s football career may not yet have manifested themselves. VII. Recent Performance of the Club In 2013, the Chicago Cubs finished the season with a record of 66 wins and 96 losses, a five game improvement over the team s 2012 record. 26 In comparison to the 2012 season, the Cubs team pitching improved significantly in a number of key statistical categories. CUBS TEAM PITCHING STATISTICS 27 Year R/G ERA H ER HR BB Ks WHIP K/ Difference The Cubs pitching staff posted improved numbers in Runs Allowed per Game, ERA, Hits, Earned Runs, Home Runs, Walks, Strikeouts, WHIP, and Strikeouts per nine innings. 28 JEFF SAMARDZIJA PITCHING STATISTICS 29 Year R/G ERA H ER HR BB Ks WHIP K/ Difference Jeff Samardzija, Notre Dame Fighting Irish Athletics, Chicago Cubs Year-By-Year Results, MLB.com, 27 Chicago Cubs Team Yearly Pitching Stats, Baseball-Reference.com, Jeff Samardzija Statitstics and History, Baseball-Reference.com, Page 11 of 12

12 Conversely, Samardzija showed a statistical decline in a number of these categories including Runs Allowed, ERA, Hits, Earned Runs, Home Runs, Walks, WHIP, and Strikeouts per Nine Innings. 30 Therefore, the Cubs pitching staff overall showed improvement despite the significant regression in Samardzija s individual performance. Prior to the 2012 season, the Cubs hired Theo Epstein, a World Series winning General Manager, as the team s President of Baseball Operations. 31 As Epstein s vision for the team comes to fruition over time, the team is on an upward trajectory to once again becoming a successful franchise. The Cubs hope that Samardzija can improve in the upcoming season and contribute to the team s continued improvement. VIII. Conclusion Throughout his more than four years on the Chicago Cubs Roster, Jeff Samardzija has shown an ability to strike out batters and provide substantial innings for the pitching staff. However, he has struggled in his two years as a starting pitcher, even regressing from 2012 to The Club s optimism about Samardzija s prospects in future years is reflected in the Club s generous offer. Our offer also reflects concerns over Samardzija s inconsistencies as a starter and his regression from 2012 to This offer provides Samardzija with a $2.1 million raise from his 2013 salary. It is the Club s position that this raise is not only generous but competitive with the raises received by comparable pitchers in recent years. Based on the evidence outlined in this brief and oral argument, the Chicago Cubs respectfully request that the panel grant the Club s arbitration request for a salary of $4.7 million for the 2014 season Cub introduce Theo Epstein, ESPN.com, Page 12 of 12

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