Rapid Reaction: Jeff Samardzija signs

CHICAGO -- Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs agreed to a one-year, $5.345 million contract for 2014 on Saturday.

What it means: Samardzija and the club avoid the nastiness of an arbitration hearing where the pitcher and his camp would hear all the negatives about his game. It’s the last thing the sides need as they continue to struggle to agree on a long-term deal. The length of time it took to get a one-year contract for 2014 is indicative of their longer-term problems. Samardzija does get a $2.7 million raise over last season.

What’s next: Samardzija goes to camp next week with one less issue on his plate but still could be facing the prospect of being traded before the year is out. If the Cubs have any hope of maximizing his value, they’ll move him before July 31 -- unless one side caves and they come to terms on a multiyear contract. In between, Samardzija will have to deal with questions about his future with the club.

2014 outlook: As Samardzija inches closer to free agency for the first time, he needs to put together a complete year in order to max out on a new deal -- with the Cubs or anyone else. His stuff can be electric, but his second half of 2013 included blowing leads and seeing his ERA balloon to higher than 5.00 over the final months. This year is another chance to show he’s an ace or close to it.