He’s yours! The Cubs and Jim Hendry just hoodwinked the NFL, costing some team a middle of the first round-quality wide receiver. No, the player pictured at right is not Randy Johnson, Jr., it’s former Notre Dame pitcher and wide receiver Jeff Samardzija, who opted today to forego the NFL and concentrate his efforts on baseball instead. In return this 6-5 righthander will receive $10 million for five years, with club options for two years.

Many of you can recall that Samardzija spent time at both short season Boise and Low A Peoria this past season. Jeff has a plus arm, throwing in the mid to high nineties. Some highlights from his 2006 performances in both the minors and the Big Ten: At Boise, Jeff had a very nice 2.37 ERA in 19 innings pitched. He was then promoted to Peoria, where he compiled a 1.09 WHIP in 11 innings. At Notre Dame Samardzija posted an 8-2 record, improving his career stats there to 21-6 with a 3.82 ERA. He held collegiate opponents to a .256 batting average.

I project this guy to be a strong middle of the order pitcher or possibly a late innings guy. He will fit in nicely with the next wave of quality Cubs arms, joining Mark Pawelek, Donnie Veal and Sean Gallagher as guys that should hit the bigs in the 2008/2009 time horizon.

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