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NCAA | Samardzija to pursue MLB career, skip NFL Draft


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NCAA | Samardzija to pursue MLB career, skip NFL Draft

Published Fri Jan 19 2:28:00 p.m. ET 2007

(KFFL) Ken Rosenthal, of FOXSports.com, reports former Norte Dame WR Jeff Samardzija (Notre Dame) has decided to pursue a career in Major League Baseball with the Chicago Cubs and quit football. Samardzija, who was projected as a first-round NFL draft choice this year, will not enter the upcoming 2007 NFL Draft.

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I've gotta be honest: when I first saw this on ESPNEWS while ago, my first thought was "What a ****ing idiot!". Then a couple seconds later, I had a second thought, which was "Awesome news! He is OUR idiot now!!".

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smart move my the Shark. He is a better prospect in baseball than football. I'm sure he could have been a "good" WR in the NFL, a Ed McCaffrey type receiver, but with a mid 90's fastball and great size, barring an arm injury, he could be very successful in baseball. Doesn't hurt that the 5 year deal he signs in baseball is guarenteed while an NFL contract is not.

He most likely will fall off the map for the next 2 or 3 years, for anyone outside the Cubs organization, while he makes his way through the minor league system. When all is said and done, I think this is a good decision on his part in the long run.

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Now, an opposing view, from a baseball fan who seen a lot of 2-sport stars fall on their face in baseball:

DD.com Opinion: The Shark better watch out, because those Cubs have a marketing agenda:

The media is obsessed with the idea that anyone who excels at both baseball and football in college is better off going pro in baseball. The myth is football (and basketball) players are athletically superior to baseball players, so these prospects will just walk onto minor leagues fields and dominate the "lesser athletes". Then, undoubtedly, they will go on to play Major League Baseball until they are 45 years old and make $300 million in that 25 year period.

The reality is, however, there is nothing harder than hitting a Major League curve ball or striking out a all-star in baseball with the bases loaded and no outs in the 9th. These players may have the wish to make it in baseball, but baseball is a global sport and becoming an established Major Leaguer is not easy.

Many great college football stars have taken the "safe route" towards pro baseball and had little or no success at all: Drew Henson, Chad Hutchinson, Joe Borchard, D.J.Dozier, Josh Booty and others. Even future N.F.L. Hall of Famer Deion Sanders was nothing more than "fringe Major Leaguer" after a decent 1993 season in Atlanta. But at least Deion was smart enough to never leave football completely for baseball until he was 33 years old, right?

The real problem is in the players minds. While Samardzija is playing in front of 3,000 fans in a minor league playoff game at the end of the summer, he'll turn on the TV and watch his buddies, like Brady Quinn, playing in a meaningless exhibition game in front of 60,000 rabid football fans. At that point, he'll have to fight the urge to second guess his decision. The Cubs will realize this and try to placate him by "rushing him to Wrigley" (like the Cardinals rushed Hutchinson), but what happens to his mind-set if he embarrasses himself on Major League mounds a few times (like Hutchinson did)?

One other note: If Samardzija had the same exact skill set and played for the University of New Hampshire, or was merely a backup wide receiver at Notre Dame, this deal would not be going down. Not even close. The Chicago Cubs are a poorly run organization, with a ton money, that are just looking to piggy-back on the Shark's fame as a local icon -- of Eastern European heritage -- at Notre Dame.

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I've gotta be honest: when I first saw this on ESPNEWS while ago, my first thought was "What a ****ing idiot!". Then a couple seconds later, I had a second thought, which was "Awesome news! He is OUR idiot now!!".

He signed with the Cubs last summer, this is not new news. He signed, got a big bonus, and the Cubs gave him permission to leave the minors last August to start football practice at Notre Dame. He decided to stick to baseball, a wise career choice

Looks like a good prospect:

http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060616&content_id=1508646&vkey=news_chc&fext=.jsp&c_id=chc

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He signed with the Cubs last summer, this is not new news. He signed, got a big bonus, and the Cubs gave him permission to leave the minors last August to start football practice at Notre Dame. He decided to stick to baseball, a wise career choice

Looks like a good prospect:

http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060616&content_id=1508646&vkey=news_chc&fext=.jsp&c_id=chc

Holy crap rajen. When you don't talk about Herm you are a rational poster!

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He signed with the Cubs last summer, this is not new news. He signed, got a big bonus, and the Cubs gave him permission to leave the minors last August to start football practice at Notre Dame. He decided to stick to baseball, a wise career choice

Looks like a good prospect:

http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060616&content_id=1508646&vkey=news_chc&fext=.jsp&c_id=chc

It is new news. If he had entered the draft, he would have went to the NFL. Pretty useless to the Cubs if they have a guy under contract that doesn't even play baseball.

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It is new news. If he had entered the draft, he would have went to the NFL. Pretty useless to the Cubs if they have a guy under contract that doesn't even play baseball.

You got it bro....This cat had the chance to walk into any teams training facility in football and challenge for a starting spot. He was one step away from pro football....:yahoo:

In baseball he's ten steps away. He played at the lowest rung of A-ball in 2006....He's not even close to being major ready. He played baseball for a mid-western college that has snow on it's fields until April.....we don't even know if his skinny arm will snap throwing a lot of pitches for the first time....Mark Prior dealt with this, so has Kerry Woods -- it's a Cubs tradition, right? :bag:

I don't doubt he's a Major League prospect. Not for a minute. Not one!

But what happens when he taking 12 hr bus rides from Quad City to Walla-Walla, while Quinn, Tommy Z. and his other buddies are playing in front of 65,000 fans on national TV?

That's were the 2-sports stars fail. Their "internal clock" of making it big starts clicking and they become a wreck.

Every player I listed in my initial post I said the same thing: Play baseball, because it's easier and you can play until your 100 years old....But I never realized how tough it is to make it in baseball.

Aaron Heilman was a much better pitching prospect than Jeff S., coming out of Notre Dame. Where is he today?

He's a fringe Major Leaguer, who fans want run out of town thanks to Yadier Molina.

I know the mindset: If he can blow past "real athletes" that run 4.3's, he should be able to to strike out punky, puny David Eckstein 5 times a game, no problem.

Good luck doing that. The skill level of baseball players is nothing shot of amazing. And it takes years of full time work to achieve this skill level.

Here is the bottom line: Jeff better have a lot of success in baseball quickly. As all the players I listed above proved, patience isn't easy for someone that had another option.

P.S: John Lynch threw the 1st pitch in the history of the Marlins "organization" as a minor leaguer back in 1992....

He was openly laughed at, because it was said white athletes don't play defensive back in the NFL and he'd be giving up a long baseball career to get cut by the Buccaneers.

Did that happen?

No, because he was special football player. Jeff is a special receiver....in baseball he's just a prospect in A-Ball -- starting from the very bottom.

P.S: If Jeff ran fairly well at the Combine he still would've gone high.....Robert Meachem and Sidney Rice types are good, but not "supermen".

*

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Dont want to rain on any ND fans parade, but I think Jeff Samardzija was one of the most over rated players in college football and had little chance of being successful in the NFL. He's too slow and too thin to play in the NFL.

He made the right choice and saved some team a wasted 2nd round pick.

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Faba, I agree....I'll keep this post brief...2 quick points:

1) People that are used to having success and being celebrities don't easily accept failure and obscurity....Minor league baseball is all about failure and accepting a lowly existence. Jeff says he'll be patient, but will he?

He'll do it for a while...but if he hits a bump in the road, things could just "snap"...That's were the other 2-sport stars failed.

2) I get the feeling, reading this post, that fans think he made the right choice by jumping to baseball because "he looks" like a Major League pitcher...more than he does a NFL wide receiver.

I'd tell anyone that thinks he's not athletic enough for the NFL to go back and look at his 60 yard TD against Tennessee in 2005....He was flat out flying down field! He's a long-striddder, like Matt Jones.

3) People say he won't get hurt in baseball. As I stated before, they should look at all the scares on Mark Prior's and Kerry Woods right arm's before they say that.

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I agree 100% with R44 as my previous post in the other thread stated. Bottom line is he should at the very least try to stick with both sports. Even if he is the best prospect in baseball and the number one pick he could wind up being nothing more than Brien Taylor II. And good luck to him if he is to try to get back into football. He will not be able to do it physically. He will be atleast 2-3 yars behind his class in terms of shape.

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I am not sure why he should try to do both and run himself ragged. How would that be with his conditioning as well as attending OTAs and studying film? As an ND fan I thought he would do well in the NFL but in terms of the money initially he is getting more to play baseball. Also in terms of a career he could last longer in MLB where if anything he could be sent to the bullpen. The reports say he throws high 90s..has to be good for something

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Dont want to rain on any ND fans parade, but I think Jeff Samardzija was one of the most over rated players in college football and had little chance of being successful in the NFL. He's too slow and too thin to play in the NFL.

He made the right choice and saved some team a wasted 2nd round pick.

I agree Gibbon. It makes a lot more sense to be a "fringe" major leaguer making $8MM guaranteed, than to scrap around the NFL as a possesion receiver without a guaranteed contract.

(Jensen) He signed with the Cubs last year after being drafted, but this contract modifies what he signed before. The incentive stipulates that he can't play football, and can focus solely on baseball. And in recent times this organization has been sucessful in getting their highly touted pitchers up to the majors (Bats on the other hand have been a problem, save Matt Murton).

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I agree Gibbon. It makes a lot more sense to be a "fringe" major leaguer making $8MM guaranteed, than to scrap around the NFL as a possesion receiver without a guaranteed contract.

(Jensen) He signed with the Cubs last year after being drafted, but this contract modifies what he signed before. The incentive stipulates that he can't play football, and can focus solely on baseball. And in recent times this organization has been sucessful in getting their highly touted pitchers up to the majors (Bats on the other hand have been a problem, save Matt Murton).

T.B, you are assuming 2 things here, that may or may not be true:

1) He'll even reach "fringe Major League Status".......Josh Booty didn't, Chris Weinke didn't, D.J. Dozier didn't, Drew Henson didn't, Chad Hutchinson didn't and Joe Borchard -- who Mel Kiper onced dubbed a future NFL star -- is nothing but 4A player with the Marlins, who will probably be a career minor leaguer if he doesn't make it this spring.

2) We've got some E-Mails at DD.com claiming Jeff should heeded the warning of Mike Hass, who was a Biletnikoff winner in 2005 at Oregon State and is now scarping the bottom of the barrell in the NFL, trying to latch on as a possession receiver.

Apples to oranges.

We talked to Hass and his agent personally last spring (a few times) and we knew the NFL didn't really like him that much as a prospect -- evidenced by his multiple Senior Bowl snubs and lukewarm reception he got at the Combine.

Jeff and Dwayne Bowe, by far were the top senior wideouts, and we quoted actual NFL personal saying he'd be an almost virtual 1st round lock, if he played football only. He's a lot faster than most think.....

Here is the bottom line: You have a player that was a 1st team All-American in football and ONE very short step away from a very secure NFL job and he decides to play low A-ball (at least 4 big steps from Wrigley)....and people think that smart?

His signing bonus in baseball, guarenteed is $2.5 mill....the rest is all contigent on him being a MLB pitcher...

As coach Tsurfing alluded to, he would've made more in football, in the short and (perhaps) the long term.

*****

RS Sherry, if he's away from football for a while he 's in a tough spot. His only "hope" is that he's a wide receiver, not a quarterback or linebacker.

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I agree Gibbon. It makes a lot more sense to be a "fringe" major leaguer making $8MM guaranteed, than to scrap around the NFL as a possesion receiver without a guaranteed contract.

(Jensen) He signed with the Cubs last year after being drafted, but this contract modifies what he signed before. The incentive stipulates that he can't play football, and can focus solely on baseball. And in recent times this organization has been sucessful in getting their highly touted pitchers up to the majors (Bats on the other hand have been a problem, save Matt Murton).

Welcome TB - I agree with you and Gibbon. With 8MM guaranteed, he can ride on any bus with $10k of portable aud/vid equipment not knowing where he's at or caring. As soon as he makes AA ball he'll be playing in a beautiful new stadium about 10 miles from where Chad grew up in the foothills of the Smokies, popping the creme de la creme of the UTenn campus every night even looking like Howard Stern's love child. If he's got the goods he'll be at Wrigley before long and all that goes with that. Nobody's brought up where his personal preference for the two sports lies. If he's got baseball stronger in his heart - why would he want to go get the crap beat out of him in some variation of camp Mangini? I hope he's the real deal - we need the pitching.

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I'd take a FLYER in round 6, or try to get a round 7 pick to take the FLYER.. You never know..... Houston took a FLYER on Henson... he turned out to ben a turd, but that flyer turned into a 2nd rounder.

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Not a bad idea on the 7th round flyer....

FYI: I remember the Shark got lit up last season by the University of Minnesota -- yes, the Gophers! (6 runs in 2 innings) -- and looked up his era last season at N.D. -- it was 4.33....Not terrible in college ball, with aluminum bats, but the Big East isn't the Pac-10, Big 12 or A.C.C. in baseball!

I doubt the hitters in higher A-Ball or AA are quaking in their boots, knowing the Shark is coming!

I'm sure he's a good prospect in baseball, but if he wasn't a superstar in college football and a local folk hero he would've gotten about a $250k bonus from the Cubbies...at most?

**

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Not a bad idea on the 7th round flyer....

FYI: I remember the Shark got lit up last season by the University of Minnesota -- yes, the Gophers! (6 runs in 2 innings) -- and looked up his era last season at N.D. -- it was 4.33....Not terrible in college ball, with aluminum bats, but the Big East isn't the Pac-10, Big 12 or A.C.C. in baseball!

I doubt the hitters in higher A-Ball or AA are quaking in their boots, knowing the Shark is coming!

I'm sure he's a good prospect in baseball, but if he wasn't a superstar in college football and a local folk hero he would've gotten about a $250k bonus from the Cubbies...at most?

**

When did he last play college baseball? 2005? He then went to pitch for the Cubs in A class ball and had like a 2.7 era I think...

College baseball is offensive... Not much defense played, and with those aluminum bats... wow...

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When did he last play college baseball? 2005? He then went to pitch for the Cubs in A class ball and had like a 2.7 era I think...

College baseball is offensive... Not much defense played, and with those aluminum bats... wow...

Funny you say that AEC4...During my two seasons at Temple University I had a batting average of .234. Maybe I shoulduv looked into football.

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When did he last play college baseball? 2005? He then went to pitch for the Cubs in A class ball and had like a 2.7 era I think...

College baseball is offensive... Not much defense played, and with those aluminum bats... wow...

He played in 2006.....I'm not even sure he played "real A-ball" last season with the Cubs....He played some form of Rookie League ball**, where you send you're worst (politically correct term is less experienced) college players and just turned 18 year old high school draft picks for about 5 weeks over the summer.

** http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/stats/ (go waaaay down on the page to find Boise!)

Every player I mentioned before that got suckered out of leaving football for baseball did this because they had mad success in very low A-Ball......things change drastically at AA, however.

Drew Henson, for example, tore up A-Ball.....And was said to be the next Scott Rolen, except a much "better athlete", of course...merely because he played football.

Atlanta felt Chad Hutchinson was next Smoltz and Glavine rolled into one, but couldn't sign him after picking him in round 1 out of high school. The Cards eventually backed up the Brinks truck and wasted their time on the football star!...Joe Borchard was handed the largest singing bonus in MLB history back in 2000, because he was on the cusp of being star QB in the Pac-10....He was supposed to be J.D. Drew , except bigger and stronger?

Blah, blah, blah...baseball has football envy and they WILDLY overrate/overpay any prospect that plays both sports.

By the way, Jeff played baseball in the Big East, which isn't exactly top notch baseball --Syracuse, Providence and Marquette don't even field teams....The other Big East teams are average, at best, compared to the top teams in America. Maybe a couple decent ones --Seton Hall has been okay at times.

If Jeff pitched against the top college baseball teams in the South and West, it's safe to say his ERA would be over 5.00 or 6.00 -- SOME Big East teams are so bad, Maxman can keep them in check for 5 innings! :bag:

He made All-Big East in baseball in 2006 -- which is comparable to making All-Conference USA in football. In football he was a 2 time All-American and, perhaps, the first wide receiver to get a Senior Bowl invite....and would've been, very likely, a first or early second round pick!

Here's another thing: The Cubs keep saying over and over that he "could've been" a 1st round pick in baseball...he wasn't. He was a 5th or 6th rounder. Maybe football caused that drop, maybe it didn't.

Also, the Shark was even not considered a draftable baseball prospect coming out high school (that's 50 rounds)!!!!!!....He was good enough, however, to be recruited by every big time football school in America...He magically became a "great baseball player" when he became a local star in football.

But, hey, it doesn't matter.....He looks like your average scrub Major League arm, so he should give up his best (by far) sport to play baseball, right? Makes too much sense.....:Nuts:

*

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