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The Ex-Cub Factor

One in an occasional series tracking the movements of former Cubs.

1. Jeff Samardzija.

Remember the hype? The $16.5 million signing bonus? The nickname (Shark)? The former Notre Dame All-American wide receiver was gonna anchor the Cubs' rotation for, well, life. And then baseball, and business, interceded.

"On June 18, 2014, the Cubs offered Samardzija a five-year, club friendly deal that included multiple option years, which he rejected," his Wikipedia page notes.

"On July 6, 2014, he was revealed as a National League All-Star, but was not eligible to play because he was traded to an American League team."

And that was the end of the dream.

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Samardzija is back at Wrigley with the Giants this week and scheduled to start Thursday night's game. So how are things going for the former phenom?

"As can happen with any high dollar signing, Jeff Samardzija went from an exciting addition to the San Francisco Giants to an albatross weighing them down," Owen Poindexter writes for Forbes.

"Signed for $90 million from 2016-2020, he was good in the first year of that deal, good but unlucky in his second year, and a disaster in 2018. Now he is experiencing a mini-revival, providing innings in bulk at a 3.70 ERA. That figure, if it holds, would be his best since 2014. Is the Shark back?

"If we write off his 2018 season, Samardzija's revival looks less like a revival and more like a normal season."

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Reminder: How he got to the Giants, as noted by Wikipedia:

"On July 5, 2014, Samardzija, along with Jason Hammel, was traded to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for top shortstop Addison Russell, pitcher Dan Straily, outfielder Billy McKinney, and cash.

"On December 9, 2014, the Athletics traded Samardzija along with Michael Ynoa to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Marcus Semien, Chris Bassitt, Rangel Ravelo and Josh Phegley."

The Sox signed Samardzija to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration, and it was a pretty cruddy year.

"Despite a strong finish, Samardzija tied for the American League lead in home runs allowed (29) and led the league in earned runs allowed. Overall, Samardzija finished 11-13 with a 4.96 ERA. After the season, Samardzija revealed that had been inadvertently tipping his pitches, leading to his poor performance.

"On December 9, 2015, Samardzija signed a five-year, $90 million contract with the San Francisco Giants."

And here we are.

2. Felix Pie.

Pie was basically Corey Patterson-lite, with even less success. But guess what? He's still playing!

"Felix Pie is slashing .387/.474/.677 with Bravos de Leon in the Mexican League," FanGraphs noted Sunday.

"The 34-year-old outfielder, whose last big-league action came with the Pirates in 2013, has 22 home runs in 371 plate appearances."

3. Edwin Jackson.

This guy seems to appear in this column every other week, but guess what? "Edwin Jackson Continues His Resurgence."

Can't ignore that!

4. Drew Smyly.

Started the Bryce Harper game for the Phillies. Allowed five earned runs, seven hits and two walks over five innings; didn't get a decision. Purportedly using the cutter to save his career.

5. Jorge Soler.

At Long Last.

6. Carl Edwards Jr.

"The Padres announced that they've placed right-handed reliever Carl Edwards Jr. on the injured list with a strained pitching shoulder," MLB Trade Rumors noted earlier this month.

"San Diego just acquired Edwards from the Cubs at last month's trade deadline. The Cubs deemed the once-outstanding Edwards expendable after a few disappointing months, and things haven't improved since he changed uniforms. Edwards has given up six earned runs on four hits and four walks (with two strikeouts) in two appearances and 1 2/3 innings as a Padre."

Hard not to feel bad for the stringbean slinger.

7. Blake Parker.

The Cubs drafted Parker in the 16th round of the 2006 draft. From 2012 to 2014 he made 74 appearances out of the bullpen, including a 2013 season of 46 1/3 innings over 49 games in which he notched a nifty 2.72 ERA/2.90 FIP.

He went on to pitch for the Mariners, Yankees, Angels, Brewers, the Angels again, the Twins and then the Phillies, whom he signed with on July 30, which is why he's in this column this week, having tossed a scoreless inning in a Phillies win over the Cubs last Tuesday.

8. Junichi Tazawa

Taz signed with the Cubs in April and was released in July without an appearance with the big league club. The Reds picked him up nine days ago and assigned him to their Triple-A club.

9. Jake Arrieta.

Season-ending surgery.

10. John Mallee.

Fired. Search for answers failed.

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Comments welcome.

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