7/31/2013 8:23 P.M. ET
Hoyer: Cubs never close to dealing Samardzija
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Jeff Samardzija's name was mixed in with rumors prior to Wednesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, but general manager Jed Hoyer said they were never close to trading the Cubs pitcher.
"Unless you're Mike Trout, I feel every player is going to be asked about in a deal," Hoyer said Wednesday. "People get asked about all the time."
Samardzija, 29, is arbitration eligible for two more years, and the Cubs have had talks with his agent about a possible long term contract. The right-hander, who is 6-9 with a 3.75 ERA and ranked among the National League leaders in strikeouts, has come a long way since the start of the 2012 season when the Cubs were first debating whether he could be a full-time starter.
"It's something we'd like to do for sure," Hoyer said about a contract with Samardzija. "We love having him on the team. He brings the right swagger, the right competitiveness to the club. His stuff is obviously really good and I think he'll keep getting better. He deserves a ton of credit and [pitching coach Chris Bosio] deserves credit.
"We want to acquire a lot more pitchers like him, that's our goal," Hoyer said. "It's hard to rank [a contract extension] on a priority list, but it's very high and something we'd like to get done."
DeJesus, other veterans happy to stick with Cubs
CHICAGO -- Carlos Villanueva joked that the "Villa Watch" was over once the non-waiver Trade Deadline passed. David DeJesus' wife tweeted a picture of her drinking champagne to celebrate that the Cubs outfielder wasn't being dealt.
Villanueva and DeJesus were two of the five Cubs players who received the most interest prior to Wednesday's Deadline. Others who were targeted included relievers James Russell and Kevin Gregg and outfielder Nate Schierholtz.
"I'm excited [to stay] just because when you start the year with guys, you want to finish it off, no matter the good or bad," DeJesus said. "We have a great team here. Inside the clubhouse, we're tight knit. I want to be a guy who stays with the team and wins with the team."
DeJesus has a $6.5 million club option for 2014, which he's hoping the Cubs pick up.
"He's a great guy in the clubhouse, and we obviously like the way he manages his at-bats and grinds his at-bats and he's versatile in the outfield," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "There are a ton of positives and we'd love to have him in a Cubs uniform going forward."
DeJesus, 33, does hope he'll return next year.
"I want to be the type of guy who's a leader on the team and a veteran presence and a guy who can help the young guys out," he said.
When first-round pick Kris Bryant took batting practice at Wrigley Field earlier this month, DeJesus said he talked to Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, about the team's future.
"It's definitely promising," DeJesus said. "You can see these little pieces start to fit together. I was complimenting them on how you can start seeing it ... and you say, OK, these guys are starting to come together and come up at the same time together and blossom together. That's how winning teams stay winning teams for a long time, that camaraderie [that develops] in the Minor Leagues."
Of course, DeJesus has already seen the future in rookie Junior Lake, who has started in center field against left-handed pitchers.
"I want to be an everyday guy and wherever it is, I'm happy," DeJesus said. "I still feel I'm a good center fielder, but I can play anywhere as well."
He's heard Hoyer and manager Dale Sveum compliment him on how he helps the young players.
"It's an honor," DeJesus said. "That's my ultimate goal is to play the game the right way. If you come out and prepare yourself and give it all on the field, that's the ultimate that someone can say about you is that he was a great teammate and great competitor. I'm honored by that."
Dioner Navarro drew interest from the Cardinals, who found themselves needing catching following an injury to Yadier Molina. Navarro has the same agent as Molina, and got a phone call about a possible matchup.
"I love it here, I'm happy here," Navarro said. "We have a great group of guys. ... I'm just glad I'm going to stay here."
He was traded in 2007 to the Rays and they reached the World Series in '08. Anything is possible.
"It's a process that the young kids need to learn and it's up to guys like me to teach them that way, to play the game the right way, to play the game one way and one way only and that's give it 100 percent," Navarro said. "Things will change. Three days ago, we were seven games under .500. We're not thinking about nothing but getting to .500, and keep moving along and that's how we're going to treat it."
• Rookie Junior Lake did not start Wednesday, his first day off since being promoted from Triple-A on July 19. The Cubs outfielder played both games of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Brewers and was 1-for-10.
Lake had a seven-game hitting streak, but was 3-for-26 in his last six games.
• When Jake Arrieta started the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader, he was the 45th player the Cubs have used this season. The team record is 53 players, set last season. Reliever Eduardo Sanchez has yet to appear in a game, and when he does, he'll be No. 46.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.