Report: Cubs Receiving Calls on Samardzija, Hammel and Wood

According to a report from Carrie Muskat, several teams have called the Cubs about Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel and Travis Wood. All three starters have gotten off to good starts this season and it is believed the Cubs would move all three pitchers in the right deal. The report did not indicate which teams have called about which pitchers.

The Cubs have been listening to offers for Jeff Samardzija since last summer. The two sides simply cannot agree to a long term extension and the general consensus is that he will be traded at some point prior to the July 31 deadline.

Jason Hammel signed a one-year contract with the Cubs after Masahiro Tanaka agreed to pitch in the Bronx and ‘Plan B’ is coming off an excellent outing in Milwaukee. The Cubs signed Hammel with the hopes he would turn out to be the 2014 version of Paul Maholm and Scott Feldman.

Several reports surfaced at the beginning of last off-season that the Cubs were interested in signing Travis Wood to a long-term contract. But those rumors quieted as quickly as they surfaced. The Cubs avoided arbitration with Wood on a one-year contract for this season. Wood has been very good this year, not as good as either Samardzija or Hammel, but over the first month he has pitched pretty close to the way he did last season.

Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija agreed to an affordable $5.345 million contract for this season to avoid the arbitration process. The team that acquires Samardzija would have one more year of control before he hits free agency following the 2015 season.

Samardzija has been very, very good in five starts this year. Samardzija is 0-2 with a 1.53 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. Samardzija has notched a quality start in his five outings while completing at least seven innings each time out. Samardzija has allowed eight runs, six earned, on 30 hits with nine walks and 27 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings.

The Blue Jays, Braves and Diamondbacks had a lot of interest in Samardzija during the off-season. And the Yankees were also connected to Samardzija by multiple reports. The Jays and Yankees may still have interest, but it is unclear how much Kevin Towers would be willing to give up for a team that is buried in the NL West. And the Braves have received tremendous pitching performances from unexpected sources over the first month of the season while the pitchers expected to contribute are getting healthy.

Jason Hammel

The Cubs signed Jason Hammel to a one-year, $6 million contract in February that includes a $1 million incentives package. And when the Cubs signed him after losing out on Masahiro Tanaka, he was viewed as a sign and flip candidate the same as Paul Maholm two years ago and Scott Feldman last season.

Hammel has thrown the ball extremely well and he says he’s healthy for the first time in a couple of years. Hammel has five quality starts under his belt and is 4-1 in five starts with a 2.08 ERA and a 0.69 WHIP. In 34 2/3 innings, he’s allowed eight runs on 17 hits with seven walks and 27 strikeouts. Hammel pitched a gem in Milwaukee on Sunday and snapped the Cubs’ four-game losing streak after taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

Jason Hammel has pitched in the AL East with the Rays (2006-2008) and most recently the Orioles (2012-2013), which could increase his value, but the teams that could be interested in Hammel have not surfaced yet.

Travis Wood

Travis Wood has made five starts, three have been of the quality variety, and one of the other two was better than his final line indicates. Wood is 1-3 in five starts with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. In 30 2/3 innings, the lefty has allowed 13 runs, 12 earned, on 34 hits with seven walks and 31 strikeouts. Wood did not have it in his last outing, struggled with his command, and ended up with the only loss the trio (Wood, Samardzija, Hammel) has earned to this point of the season

Wood agreed to a one-year contract worth $3.9 million to avoid arbitration. The Cubs were thought to be interested in signing him to a contract extension, but Wood is willing to go year-to-year in the arbitration process. Wood is not eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season. So the team that acquires Wood would have two-plus years of control.

If the Cubs are looking for a team’s top two pitching prospects, plus, in a package for Jeff Samardzija, could the front office ask for one top pitching prospect, plus, in return for Travis Wood?

The Cubs will be looking for pitching in any deals the front office makes this summer in return for players off the Major League roster. While some of the position players in the system are off to slow starts or injured, the Cubs system is seen as position player rich, pitching poor. The front office will figure out ways to add pitching while continuing to develop the position players.

It is not May 1 yet and the rumors have started in regards to the top three pitchers in the Cubs rotation. So if all three hurlers continue to pitch the way they have, it is going to be a rumor-filled two months.

Update 12:10am CDT: A Cubs spokesperson told Carrie Muskat late Monday night that the Cubs have not received phone calls about the three pitchers.

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  • TheWrongGuy

    Great stuff as ALWAYS Neil and everyone else at the CCO.

    Most here know I am from the military and we have a saying “Where there’s smoke there is fire”

    With that said:

    “Update 12:10am CDT: A Cubs spokesperson told Carrie Muskat late Monday night that the Cubs have not received phone calls about the three pitchers.”

    That’s a lot of “smoke” screen play.
    I believe with all the media play against “Shark” he will be gone soon. His 2 buddies(T. Wood and J. Russel) will follow maybe not to the same team but they will be out as well. The media releases “Shark” and his “friend” has said won’t be taken lightly by the front office, his days are numbered. Those are my thoughts.
    Remember smile and have a better day as the FO cleans out the clubhouse. :)

  • Sonate

    The merry-go-round of flipping players must stop somewhere. Shark is 29, Wood is 27. They should have 4-6 productive years left in them, during which time I would hope the Cubs would compete for the playoffs. If both these “assets” are traded for prospects (that always take 2-3 years to develop) then in 2016, with Bryant, Baez and Almora, we’ll see the Cubs lose 10-8 instead of 3-1 like we do now. When are they going to try and compete? 2020?

    • kingdomusa

      Sonate is correct. We need to keep the Big 3, not pay to trade Jackson & hope Arietta can perform @ #5. We get the #4 draft pick & hope Hoffman from ECU is available. Throw in Black, CJ Edwards & a few other pitching prospects + a free agent signing & we could maybe compete sooner than Theo & Jed quit trading for prospects (2 or 3 yrs down the line) Its time for Bryant, Baez, Alcantra, Almora & Soler to come up & create some excitement for the fan base who suffered.Its time to lose the 100+ loss history & sell winning to the fans & prospect.

  • Ano59

    This is starting to feel like the MLB version of Bain Capital and the vulture, oh I mean venture, capitalism model…austerity, cutting spending, “harvesting” assets. Except instead of bankruptcy of the company, it’s the [near] worst record in baseball…

  • TrevorPetersma

    I was kind of hoping that Wood would stay out of those three. Hammel was a great sign and flip type candidate and I think Shark is 100% gone. Wood felt like a solid pitcher they could sign to a longer deal that might not be TOR, but will end up being that solid veteran presence in a couple years when they are competing.

  • cubtex

    How much better will Travis Wood get? I would definitely sell high on him. I think last year was the best year Travis Wood will ever have.

    • Vivid_Reality

      I think you and I are the only ones to believe this but I only move him for more than his perceived value. If we can lock him down to a team friendly extension I think he makes a phenomenal #4 starter.

      • cubtex

        I think he is going to be a guy who gives up more hits than IP on a yearly basis. I think last year was a career year for him and I am not sure his value will ever be higher.

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

    I’d love to see Travis go soon in the right deal. I hink his performance last year and this year is about who he is. Whih is pretty dang good for a #4 and okay for a #3. But he’s gotten consistent ad eats innings. Lots of teams woul love to have him, and when you remember what we have to get him this deal will be extremely favorable for us whenever it happens.

    • Sonate

      I’m not sure of the rationale of trading Wood. Flipping Maholm, Feldman, and Demster (who were all north of 30) for high upside prospects makes sense if you’re looking to compete in 3-4 years. Also, by the time you’re competing this trio would all be circa 35 and declining in performance. But I hope we are looking to compete sooner. If so, Wood is only 27. We shouldn’t trade him for prospects that “arrive” in 3 years. Wood will only be 30 years old then. What could we get for him unless we think we can sell an “over-valued security” at a premium?

  • BigJonLilJon

    There’s a long time between now and the July 31st dead line. We are going to hear a lot of these rumors from now till then. Best to ignore them until something definite happens. That being said… Shark will be gone. Hammel was signed to flip, so he most likely will be gone. Wood I’m not so sure about. And all this is dependent on injuries and performance.

  • cubtex

    I hope Theo and company are not solely looking for pitching back for all 3 of those guys. This team has several holes to fill on the mlb front. White Sox got Adam Eaton for Santiago. Diamondbacks got Trumbo for Skaggs. Travis Wood should bring back a young everyday player to add to the core of Castro and Rizzo. Hopefully they can get an everyday outfielder.

  • Scott

    One thing to keep in mind is that the report says that the Cubs are receiving calls on these players, not making calls or offers to other teams. Other GM’s know that the Cubs have tried to flip assets for a few years now, so they are doing their due diligence and inquiring. I don’t think that it is unusual at all for GM’s to inquire about players or discuss their own players. If someone called the Angels and asked about Trout, that doesn’t mean that the Angels would actually move him. The same applies for ANY player – regardless of talent level. Would the Cubs move any or all of these pitchers? Absolutely. But there is a price for all three of them and if the FO doesn’t feel that their asking price is met, they won’t move them. Plain and simple.

  • jtrain23

    I think trading Hammel makes tons of sense. He is pitching out of his mind right now. History shows us that he is a serviceable pitcher capable of mid 4.00 ERA and 25-30 starts a year. His value has to be up early in the season, so if the Cubs can get something out of him, pull the trigger. He is 31 and he will come back to earth. I think he is fairly replaceable and not a “core” type player.

    Samardzija and Wood are in a different class, to me. I still think the front office would like to extend Samardzija. He is a homegrown guy, and could develop into an elder statesman on a very young roster over the next few years. The numbers have to be right though.

    I would also like to see Travis Wood in a Cubs uniform beyond this year. He is only 27 years old, he’s left handed, and he appears to be trending upward. I believe he is capable of keeping his ERA in the 3.00’s and giving us 150-200 innings/year. Any winning team would love to have a lefty capable of that in their rotation.

    IF the Cubs are looking to contend in the next few years, I think they really need to lock these two guys up and build their rotation around them. I don’t know if either is a true “number 1″, but they are as close as we have right now, and would be 2/5 of a really good rotation.

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