Amid reports that prized Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka had turned down a contract offer from the Chicago Cubs to sign a deal with the Yankees worth a purported $155 million over seven years, Cubs general manager Theo Epstein has admitted to reporters that he never particularly expected to sign Tanaka, and he simply offered the Japanese ace over $100 million for six years in order to make current starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija jealous.

“Samardzija has been playing really hard to get lately about the contract extension we offered him,” Epstein sheepishly told reporters. “So I figured if we made a play for a more attractive, desirable arm in a public setting to make sure Jeff knew about it, it might make him jealous and, I don’t know, want to stay with us.”

While there has been no official word from Samardzija’s camp, those close to the six year veteran admit that the Tanaka pursuit really did a number on his self-esteem, and he was reconsidering the most recent Cubs offer.

Jeff GoodSmith