Report: Braves Pursuing Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija

According to a report from David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Braves are pursuing Jeff Samardzija and could be the leading suitors to land the Cubs’ Opening Day starter.

The Braves are looking for a top of the rotation starter to replace Tim Hudson in their rotation and do not appear willing to pay the cost to Tampa to acquire David Price. The Braves are also unsure about Brandon Beachy’s status for the upcoming season.

Frank Wren, the Braves’ GM, led David O’Brien to think he “was pleased with progress made on several fronts” during the Winter Meetings and “the work could culminate in a deal or deals in the next week or two, perhaps even in the next few days.”

O’Brien reported the Braves will not trade RHP Lucas Sims, their top pitching prospect, but the Braves might be able to “put together a package good enough to land Samardzija without depleting their minor league system.”

Jesse Rogers reported on Tuesday that RHP Lucas Sims, RHP J.R. Graham and RHP Mauricio Cabrera, the younger brother of Alberto Cabrera, could be used as pieces to acquire Samardzija. But Sims is not available according to David O’Brien.

Free Agent Signings

Two pitchers the Cubs were reportedly interested in signing came off the board on Thursday. The Tigers signed RHP Joba Chamberlain to a one-year, $2.5 million contract that includes a bonus package. RHP Roberto Hernandez, the pitcher formally known as Fausto Carmona, took less money than he was offered so he could pitch for his boyhood team the Phillies. Hernandez signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract.

And Joaquin Benoit appears to be close to signing with the Padres.

Stay Tuned …

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  • raymondrobertkoenig

    What is Axford asking for?

    • CubbyDenCritic

      one more big pay day for a bum arm.

    • Roe Skidmore

      We are better off signing Scott Baker as a starter and other available starting FA’s and moving EJ to the stopper role. Cheap rotation that gets us deep into games with a strong armed 2 inning stopper in EJ. Outside the box, but worked for Dennis Eckersly and other failed starters.

      • Randy Challenge

        wtf at making EJ into the Bullpen is downright insane the guy was one of the unluckiest pitchers in baseball but lets give up on him now and get rid of one of his biggest assets his ability to pitch 200+ innings yeah… pass on the bullpen idea.

        • Roe Skidmore

          He must have been unlucky his entire career as a starter. He is a two inning closer that could become a stud like Dennis Eckersly in bullpen.

  • Rob Wilkinson

    I wouldn’t blame Samardija if he left to go to Atlanta. They’ve got their act together NOW and have some great talent… Sorry to see him go if he does sign with the Braves. Hopefully he takes into account how many years the Cubs waited for HIM to get his act together!

    Cubs in 2017!

    • BosephHeyden

      They have to trade him and he has to accept the trade, but he’ll go simply because he wants to win now. Also, the Cubs didn’t really “wait for him”. They did what they did with all their prospects under Hendry: rapid call-ups, send downs, and role changes with no specific end in sight. Samardzija just happened to be the one prospect it didn’t ruin.

  • Vivid_Reality

    I can’t see a trade working out with the Braves if Sims isn’t included.

    • Roe Skidmore

      agree.

    • Sonate

      Agreed. If Sims is “off the table” I can’t imagine a package for Shark by the Braves that would satisfy the Cub FO.

      • mutantbeast

        Nor should it. Spellcheck is worth at least one top prospect, especially pitching in a pitchers park like Atl with excellent up the middle defense.

  • Rick Barkan

    The Cubs aren’t going to sign anyone. They just want to make sure they lose 100 games again. I’m a Cub fan and have been for 50 years. I really don’t like all the made up rumors why would anyone want to play with a losing baseball team. JMO.

    • cc002600

      I have to admit, while I’m totally on-board with the rebuild and I don’t expect the cubs to go after the big FA’s, I find it a bit disheartening that they are not even going after the lower level FA’s with any zeal.

      It just blows me away every day as I see small market teams like the Padres, Marlins, Pirates, & Mariners spending money like crazy and yet the cubs don’t even raise a finger. If they don’t sign Tanaka, which is really the only big name out there that they are interested in,they will have payroll of around $75M. Again, I’m on-board with the rebuild but to me that is embarassing as a large market team.

      If they have that payroll and lose 90+ games again, the natives will start to get restless.

      • cubtex

        cc00…You will love JR Graham if the Cubs get him. He is 5’10 that throws heat. He has hit 99 on the gun. What is the problem? He is 5’10 and was shutdown last year because of a shoulder strain. He is a max effort guy and many scouts question if he can hold up being a starter in the big leagues. He has great stuff but he might not be able to hold up.

        • Sonate

          Two issues with Graham. You mentioned one, the shoulder strain. He was (I believe) in AA when it happened, so would have to do time in AAA before a late season call-up. The other is that he turns 24 next month. One year in AAA gets him to 25 as a rookie. I’d much rather have SIms, but I agree, all reports I’ve read state Graham has great stuff.

        • cc002600

          I would rather see them extend shark. Something tells me he is ready to break out. Wouldn’t it be “soooo Cub” if he did, in another uniform ? :-)

        • SuzyS

          Any relation to “Moonlight” of Minnesota fame???

        • mutantbeast

          We already have CJ Edwards in our system, 6’2″ 155 and not a frame that projects to get much larger. 5’10” gets you Al Hrabosky, which isnt at the top of our wish list. Id rather deal Spellcheck and see if the Nats are willing to deal Gioloto.

      • Dorasaga

        You don’t want to block the younger prospects. The Rangers just proved how they messed that up by signing Kinsler and Elvis long-term, with too big a dollar sign, right after their career years.

    • Roe Skidmore

      Cubs are not on misión to lose 100 games. This is first time in last 60 years the Cubs are building a farm system. This will take more tan 2 seasons when we had a depleted farm system, an old team, an untalented team overall. No reason to spend a fortune on one guy that will not make a difference. Thus, you continue to acquire assets and the hope is they blossom.

      • BosephHeyden

        We’ve had a farm system before. Very few ever panned out from it. The ones that did either panned out on other teams or survived constant botching, but we’ve had a farm system.

        Also, building a farm system shouldn’t be synonymous with losing games. I understand losing more games gets a higher draft choice, but there’s been plenty of prospects that have blossomed in the majors after being late-round picks. The key is to have an eye for talent, not get-overly critical of players and take the best ones available if they’re still there, and not get way too creative and take guys that have no business being taken high.

        They may as well be spending now if their key is to be extending the farm system guys when they come out, because pouring money into minor league talent just seems like a waste of money: having more than one prospect being paid in the multimillion dollar range is one prospect too many.

        • JasonOfTheBurbs

          Zambrano – farm
          Prior – farm
          Kerry Wood – farm

          Derrek Lee – acquired with farm guys
          Aramis Ramirez – acquired with farm guys
          Kenny Lofton – acquired with farm guys

          Angel Guzman – talented but injuries killed career
          Felix Pie, Tyler Colvin and others were projected as studs but didnt pan out.

          Cubs have always had a farm. This idea that Team Theo showed up with no one in the farm, or that the farm had been bare and unproductive for years is a purely made up fallacy.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Very low rate compared to other teams. We had a farm, just an extremely unproductive one.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            give me statistics.
            You make absolute statements with nothing to back them up.

            Name another team that had as quality a foursome, farm bred, as Prior Zambrano Wood, and Maddux. Cubs had all 4 on the team in 2004.

            In our 2007 and 2008 division-winning teams, we had Zambrano, Rich Hill, and various players such as Aramis and Lee that all were either from the farm or came from the farm.

            This revisionist history is not only misleading, but it is lazy.

          • Dorasaga

            Somehow confusing. I like your argument that you don’t need to lose CONSISTENTLY every so many years to build a farm, as a step towards winning it all. But I don’t know if you were trying to prove that the Cubs farm was fine, if not great, for so many years before Regime Epstein?

          • Todd

            Notice the correlation of Tim Wilken being hired as Dr. of Scouting and except for Cashner has not developed anything. And the Cubs are still paying him.

          • mutantbeast

            One thing when Epstein came here, he noted the Cubs scouting dept only had 6(SIX!) scouts working full-time. Hes hiired more than 40 scouts in the last 2 years. Poor OWNERSHIP needs to be blamed here also. Remember how much the Blackhawks sucked under Bill Wirtz ownership? Rocky Wirtz took over, wanted to win, and took the steps needed to do so. Epstien, Hoyer and Ricketts are trying to do the same.

          • Randy Challenge

            The farm WAS fine many years ago when JH was actually allowed to spend money on it truth is when the Cubs were getting themselves in position to start selling they went for the cheap draft guys not very hard to figure out.

          • mutantbeast

            Aramis came up with the Pirates. Lee came up with the Marlins, both were traded for. Maddux pitched for the cubs from 86-92. Mike Harkey (mr Hand stand) was the #1 pitching prospect in the system when Maddux was in his eaRLY DAYS. As with Prior, injuries derailed Harkeys career(16-6 in parts of the 90-91 seasons, with a sub 3 ERA)

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            also…Shark, Castro…not from Theo picks…Hendry. Apparently they are still somehow good enough to be “core” players for Team Thoyer.

            Guys like BJax and Vitters were highly thought of and ranked by others looking at the Cubs system. Just like most prospects though, they didn’t pan out…that’s why they are called prospects.

            I hope Soler, Almora, bryant, and Baez are all “can’t miss” guys that do actually make it big, but odds are against all 4 making it. So the Cubs farm system is only “projected” as strong now…the only thing that matters is if the prospects pan out.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            You are right, those pitchers were a great starting team, for about 3 seasons together. Then it was one of them here, one of them there. Only guy with staying power was Wood and it was in the bullpen.

            Braves, Cardinals, Reds, A’s, Red Sox, Rays, Rangers. Those teams at times in the past 20 years have had extended periods of “stacked, or “loaded,” farm systems. If you want to put our past 20 years of farm system in that same sentence be my guest. Those guys could trade 3 or 4 stud prospects for a missing big league piece and not miss a beat. We have not with the exception of the Garza trade been ableto do that. And that trade, while I liked it at the time and think it looks even better now was the wrong timing. Theo is building a stacked system. 3,4 deep with guys other teams are crazy for at ewey single position. Other teams have been there and some are today, other teams.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            There is a difference between having a handful of homegrown players go on to success and stacked. I want stacked and that is the current goal.

          • cubtex

            I pointed this out before Rider. Theo has had terrible success drafting starting pitching while at Boston. Lester was a Duquette pick.

          • mutantbeast

            Ellsbury, Pedroia, Buchholtz were Epstien picks. Ortiz was a minor FA signing who blossomed in Boston. Varitek was an Epstien trade pickup. Dice K was a FA pickup who panned out for a short period. All in all, the FO in Boston did fairly well under Epstien.

          • cubtex

            starting pitching. Buccholtz is pretty fragile if you ask me. Not talking about position players.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            you do realize it is not possible to sustain high picks, without losing, right?

            So in your mind, we start winning, and Theo has this endless wave after wave of talent coming, right?

            So the argument is flawed in so many ways. If you want to emulate Braves and Cardinals for always winning and having great farm, then you have to explain why they are able to do both.

            Half the time, the losing is explained as the price you pay for great high picks that net guys like bryant. Yet when did Braves and Cardinals last do so poorly that they had a #2 pick?

            The correct answer is that you do NOT have to be bad to build a farm.

            You will immediately cry poor and say the reason is Ricketts is a god among men who has taken an unfathomable amount of debt and is totally spending like crazy, just not on payroll.

            Again…Cardinals and Braves, who are smaller market teams, seem to have figured this out with ease.

            I am glad you find the koolaid so satisfying, and I am not trying to diminish your enthusiasm, but I just wish it was saved on the actual results, and not in the unknown future, over which none of us can accurately predict. Always cloudy is the future…that is Yoda, not me.

            Boston went last to first recently. No mammoth FA contracts…just smart moves. Why couldn’t Cubs have started that same process now?

            The only plausible answer is they are purposely tanking for as high a pick as possible and because their owner has no money to spend on payroll. Again…that is not the Braves’ way or the Cardinals’ way.

          • SuzyS

            It WAS the Braves way for many years prior to Ted Turner…It was precisely the many years of losing that produced a stacked system resulting in the awesome rotations that led to a decade of playoff appearances.
            Once they had the talent basis and player development down…It was only then that they entered the fray with big FA acquisitions (like Maddux) that gave them sustained success.

            People seem to forget what a horrible team they were for many years before they went on to build a world class organization.

            I do believe the Cubs have had a major infrastructure rebuild with an eye to player development.

            Is it possible to build a great farm system while maintaining a competitive team at the major league level? That’s the main debate here.
            It probably is…BUT…to jumpstart the process to impact talent…For us…this is the way ownership has selected…and I would rather this route…then being locked into non-productive, high -priced veterans with no trade contracts.

          • Dorasaga

            Which is never very exciting unless you live in Des Moines or Knoxville. On the other hand, Hoyer & Co. have been consistently building a farm; they brought in smart people to team up for this purpose.

            Hendry was all over the place. One time he got a farm, thanks to predecessor MacPhail. Other times he got lucky–his friend Fleita helped him with Castro, “underdeveloped” as a 20-years old, then rushed to the Show for saving the face.

            Most of the time, the bosses were changing like tides, and they wanted that “one or two moves away” from boosting up attendance so they can sell the team to higher bids.

            But then, most of Hendry’s top draft picks failed. He himself released what? Five first-rounders?

            The Cubs were in a sad state since 2003, and I’m counting that off-season when Hendry made good trades with MacPhail’s farm system.

            Winning consistently with a perennial core is very different from throwing darts on the wall.

          • mutantbeast

            Indeed-typical Spendry draft choices included the likes of Mark Pawelek, Grant Jackson Ryan Harvey and Hayden Simpson. All disasters.

          • Roe Skidmore

            We drafted low cost alternatives, thus weak farm system. That has changed, now we take the best we can sign.

          • paulcatanese

            Very good post, and if the CCO had been around in those years,
            fans would have a better understanding of the Cub farm system, at least I would have.
            I am not taking anything away from team Theo, but to say that nothing had been done prior is as you say a fallacy.
            The players or prospects that are waiting to come up are good ones, but are all suspect until they do.

          • mutantbeast

            Prior-injuries killed career. Same with Kerry. Whatever happened with HeeSop Choi and Bobby Hill-they never panned out after the C ubs traded them. Outside of the young pitching from the late 90s-Kerry Wood -or the early 2000s-Zambrano, Farnsworth , Prior, Cruz-no other impact minor leaguers came into the system. The 2008 Cubs were all from trades and free agency.

        • mutantbeast

          In 2002, we had several decent prospects-all pitchers-Prior, Zambrano, Cruz. No real position players who stood out. This is the first time since the 60s that the Cubs have actually had potential impact players. First time theyve also a decent ownership since Willam Wrigley in the 1930s.

    • Randy Challenge

      Cubs will make their usual trades of buying low guys giving them an opportunity to start and then trade them off at deadline for something it has worked and I’d say it’s a good strategy again this year and most likely next.

  • cubtex

    J.R. Graham and Cabrera? I hope we don’t go there. Graham is 5’10 with a great great arm but is projected as a reliever…and if Cabrera is like his brother….there is not a great chance that he will be consistent enough to make it.
    They need starting pitching that is fairly close to being able to contribute. Cabrera is in A ball and Graham is probably a closer.

    • Roe Skidmore

      Sims or don’t make the deal.

      • cubtex

        Graham is a stud but he is slight and might not be able to stay as a starter. See Vizcaino.

        • JasonOfTheBurbs

          Pedro Martinez…Greg Maddux. Not really big guys…just saying.

          • cubtex

            He’s already had shoulder issues. Many don’t think he can handle a big inning workload. They need starters, not another Vizcaino.

          • mutantbeast

            Maddux never was a hard thrower. Pedro was a hard throwe who eventually became a finesse pitcher later in his career, something only Pedro and Tom Seaver really did with great success.

  • J Daniel

    Kiss of death … Smarj will be our opening day starter … He is gone

    • CubbyDenCritic

      I was looking forward to Edwin Jackson.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Theo is just tossing a carrot out there to see what all the teams are offering…..the deal will be made in July…..when the return will be much greater.

  • Roe Skidmore

    Shark will be gone soon. He will fit in great with any contending team, thus will be in demand.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Might be 14 teams out there……and might be some not in the mix yet until they have pitching issues that might pop up……Theo will take the best deal when it happens….but when next July comes around, many GM’s will hit the Panic Button and add one more guy.

    • mutantbeast

      Spellcheck still needs to learn how to pitch. He throws everything 95 plus from the 1st inning on , and usually wears down about the 5th inning. He needs to watch a Justin Verlander, who starts off with a low 90s FB early in games and builds up velocity in the middle innings.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Safe to say there will be a Samardzija trade rumor every week from now until July trading dead line.

  • Ripsnorter1

    “O’Brien reported the Braves will not trade RHP Lucas Sims, their top pitching prospect, but the Braves might be able to “put together a package good enough to land Samardzija without depleting their minor league system.”

    Sounds like we are getting top of the line prospects, doesn’t it?
    LOL

    • SuzyS

      Been there, done that…I don’t see a trade with the Braves happening at this juncture…unless Sims is included.

  • Ripsnorter1

    The four lowest OBP over the last three years (min. 1500 PA).

    4. J.J. Hardy (.298),
    3. Jeff Francouer (.297),
    2. Alcides Escobar (.294), and the winner is….
    1. Darwin Barney (.293).

    • cubtex

      C’mon Rip. Barney is locked in as our starting 2nd baseman and #2 hitter against LHP.

      • Eugene Debs

        Which is pretty much a one way ticket to “worst lineup in baseball.”

  • SuzyS

    I see this report as more “due diligence” smoke. I don’t really see a match in prospects if Sims isn’t included.

    Yesterday, I saw a story that Alex A…(Blue Jays GM) was exploring a 3 team deal that he thought could get done. In my mind, I see Shark going in a deal like that moreso than any straight deal with another team.
    I’m thinking the Cubs might end up with better prospects with 2 teams contributing prospects…with one team getting Shark and another filling another need.

    Either way, if Shark is traded, It is imperative that the Cubs get back an almost ready SP.

    Personally, I’d prefer to see an extension rather than a trade.

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  • Sanibelchuck

    Reminds me of a guy by the name of Greg Maddux that left the Cubs for the Braves. He ends up in the HOF wearing a Braves hat. Can “The Shark” repeat history?

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      No. Maddux left the Cubs a Cy Young and a pitcher that actually won games. Shark has potential…Maddux was already great.

    • jtrain23

      Yeah. Maddux was “the one that got away” and had already demonstrated greatness in blue pinstripes. Samardzija is a guy that seems to be his own worst enemy at times. His mental toughness is highly questionable. Greg Maddux was one of the toughest guys (mentally and physically) to ever put on any uniform.

      • jtrain23

        Not to mention he was going to a rotation that included Tommy Glavine, John Smoltz, Steve Avery, etc. that always helps.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Shark is no Greg Maddux……more like Mike Maddux!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs asked the Blue Jays for Sanchez, Stroman and one more player

    http://www.canadianbaseballnetwork.com/articles/deals-price/

    • Roe Skidmore

      Need Sanchez in the deal for sure.

    • cubtex

      Sounds like Anthopoulos laughed in their face :)

      All the Cubs want are top prospects Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman and a third player.

      “But the acquisition price doesn’t work for us right now,”
      Anthopoulos said about any deals on the table. “I don’t know if I could
      quantify how far off that they might be.”

  • mutantbeast

    Id tell the Braves to fly a kite. No Sims, No Tehran, No Spellcheck. They want Spellcheck for a bunch of scraps.

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