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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