MESA, Ariz. -- An arbitration hearing is scheduled for Monday in Florida if the Cubs and

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Jeff Samardzija cannot reach a contract settlement.

The Cubs offered Samardzija $4.4 million, and he filed for $6.2 million. The Cubs' Opening Day starter last season, Samardzija finished 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA and reached 200 innings and 200 strikeouts for the first time in his career.

"Obviously, I'm hopeful," Samardzija said during the Cubs Convention in January about the possibility of a long-term deal. "I think I've said that from day one. Ever since I signed my first contract here with the Cubs, I've wanted to be here. And a big reason for not playing football was to come here and play in Chicago. It obviously means a lot for me to be here."

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has never gone to arbitration with a player during his tenure with the Cubs or as general manager of the Red Sox.

"I'm a big fan of Jeff Samardzija," Epstein said last month. "I think he has a great future. I think his best days are ahead of him. He's under club control for the next two years, and hopefully we get a chance to extend that window. There's been public speculation about a contract extension at times, a trade at times. I can't tell you what's going to happen, but I can tell you I'm really happy he's a Cub, and [I] look forward to him getting the ball on Opening Day."

Epstein was in Arizona this week to get settled in the Cubs' new Spring Training facility in Mesa.

Samardzija is a key component of the Cubs' rotation, which includes Edwin Jackson, Travis Wood and Jake Arrieta.

The last time the Cubs had a hearing regarding a player was in 2010, when Ryan Theriot lost, as the arbitrator ruled in favor of the team's $2.6 million offer over the $3.4 million bid submitted by the infielder.

News Source : MESA, Ariz. -- An arbitration hearing is scheduled for Monday in Florida if the Cubs and

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