Seriously Listening on Samardzija Reportedly on Cubs Agenda for the Winter Meetings

The Jeff Samardzija rumors heated up on Wednesday as Major League Baseball moved a day closer to the Winter Meetings, which officially begin on Monday in Orlando.

The Cubs are trying to lockup Jeff Samardzija to a long-term, team friendly deal, while also listening to offers for him. Reports a month ago indicated the Cubs would listen to offers for Samardzija before actively shopping him during baseball’s annual gathering. But the Cubs might wait until after the first of the year in order to max out his value until other starters come off the board.

Jerry Crasnick reported on Wednesday afternoon that he is hearing “the Cubs plan to do some serious listening on Jeff Samardzija at the Winter Meetings.” The Diamondbacks and Blue Jays are still thought to be the most interested in acquiring Samardzija with the Orioles and Pirates still believed to have interest in Samardzija as well. Crasnick reported the Angels might also try to land Samardzija but the Angels might not have the prospects necessary to land Samardzija.

The Diamondbacks would like to add a top of the rotation starter through a trade. Kevin Towers told Jerry Crasnick that he believes he has “the players to get any available pitcher out there on the market.” Towers said, “It’s only a question of how much we have to give up. It may take a little while. We’re not forced to do anything.”

As for a possible deal with Arizona including Archie Bradley in return for Samardzija, that is not going to happen. Towers thinks Bradley has a chance to be the Diamondbacks’ version of David Price. Bradley might not be untouchable but he is going to get every chance to break camp in the spring in Arizona’s rotation. If Kevin Towers deals a pitcher it would likely be Tyler Skaggs or Randall Delgado.

Theo Epstein addressed the Jeff Samardzija rumors during Sports Talk Live (Comcast SportsNet) on Wednesday night. Epstein indicated there is a pretty good chance that Samardzija is with the Cubs on Opening Day. Epstein reiterated that Samardzija is the type of player the front office wants on the team and remain hopeful they can sign him to a long term deal.

Cubs Radio Job

The Cubs and 720 WGN appear to be down to two candidates to replace Keith Moreland in the Cubs’ radio booth next to the great Pat Hughes. Todd Hollandsworth and Ron Coomer are thought to be the finalists for the job as reported early Wednesday morning. And Todd Hollandsworth appears to have a slight advantage over Ron Coomer at this point of the process.

Multiple reports over the last month have indicated the WGN was looking to announce the new color analyst before the Winter Meetings began in Orlando. And that timeframe was confirmed on Tuesday night.

A report from Jesse Rogers pointed to a mid-January timeframe before WGN would announce the hiring and he indicated a couple of other candidates are still in the picture. Rogers did not report who the “other candidates” may be.

The Sun-Times spoke with Dave Eanet, WGN sports director, on Wednesday and he said the announcement should be made this week or early next week on who will call Cubs’ games with Pat Hughes.

Todd Hollandsworth acknowledged his desire to land the job and posted on his Twitter account, “It would be an honor to work alongside Pat Hughes.”

News, Notes and Rumors

According to a report from Ken Rosenthal, rival executives are still scratching their heads about the return the Tigers received for Doug Fister. And according to Rosenthal, many of the game’s general managers did not even know Fister was available.

And to further show that teams are discussing every possible way to improve their rosters this winter. The Diamondbacks and Athletics discussed a trade that would have sent Yoenis Cespedes to Arizona for Tyler Skaggs, A.J. Pollock and at least one more player/prospect. Rosenthal discovered the deal fell apart for multiple reasons. One reason being that Billy Beane would only deal Cespedes for a monster return. Rosenthal reported that both Skaggs and Pollock could be used in a package to acquire a starting pitcher.

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver