Is It Almost Trading Season for the Cubs?

While the Cubs are working on finalizing deals with this year’s draft picks, the front office is expected to start listening to offers in the very near future for players such as Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. Teams, for the most part, have moved away from the draft and the contenders will begin looking at ways to improve their big league rosters. And unless the plan has changed, the Cubs could have two of the more sought after starting pitchers on this year’s trade market.

Ken Rosenthal recently reported the Cubs asking price for Jeff Samardzija will be exorbitant as the front office will look to make a bigger deal for Samardzija than the one they made with Texas last July for two months of Matt Garza. The Blue Jays have already balked at the Cubs asking price for Samardzija, thought to be Drew Hutchinson plus either Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez, and the Cubs are thought to be interested in some combination of the Orioles top four pitching prospects in return for Samardzija.

The Blue Jays may decide to trade for a rental, or a pitcher that will become a free agent at the end of the season. The Cubs could trade them Jason Hammel instead of Jeff Samardzija and try to land a package similar to the one (Pedro Strop and Jake Arrieta) they received for Scott Feldman, plus Steve Clevenger, a year ago. Hammel has been very good, to this point of the season, he signed an affordable one-year contract without any options or buyouts attached, he’s healthy and he’s had success in the AL East, which has become the gauge used by the mainstream media on if a starting pitcher is actually any good or not.

Bruce Levine reported Sunday that if the Cubs cannot find what they are looking for in return for Samardzija, the front office might not trade him. Levine is not sure if the Cubs and Samardzija could re-engage talks over a contract extension of not. The two sides were believed to be $25-30 million apart on a five-six year extension. Plus, Samardzija would want some kind of no-trade protection, and the Cubs stopped including no-trade clauses in contracts when Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over Baseball Operations.

Ken Rosenthal made the argument Monday that the Cubs should sign Jeff Samardzija to a long-term extension and figure out a way to trade for David Price, and then extend the southpaw. Rosenthal acknowledged those scenarios are likely not to happen as the team “waits for new revenue streams and Samardzija seems to want out.” Rosenthal pointed out the Cubs have always liked Price and his college pitching coach, Derek Johnson, is the Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator.

The Cubs are playing good baseball right now, and have won seven of their last 10 games. But they are still buried in the basement of the NL Central and are tied with Ryne Sandberg’s Phillies for the worst record in the National League. And while the players are trying to win games to keep the annual sell-off from happening, the consensus is the task is simply too step … and the trading season is getting ready to begin.

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

    Great article!

  • Vivid_Reality

    Rosenthal acknowledged those scenarios are likely not to happen as the
    team “waits for new revenue streams and Samardzija seems to want out.”

    I believe you are missing a not in there Neil.

  • Vivid_Reality

    I shouldn’t read articles at 2:30 am, in case anyone saw my “correction.” >_<

    • Vivid_Reality

      Which apparently turns into a guest comment when you delete it. Whoops. Time for some needed sleep.

      • Roland Bowman

        Apparently it is not vivid reality at 2:30am?

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    According to the Cubs run differential their record should be 30-32. Why not bring up Bryant while they are playing better baseball. If the Cubs are winning it brings in more revenue.

    • GaryLeeT

      I was thinking the same thing. Then with Bryant up, Samardzija could get a taste of the future, and he might drop his asking price. If he dropped the no trade clause request, I think the Cubs would raise their money offer.

      • Denver Mike

        I also think the no-trade is the real sticking point. An extra $5MM/year over 5 years isn’t anything to scoff at, but I think they could find a middle ground somewhere on the money.

        • paulcatanese

          I agree, and have said that many times. Both are stubborn in that regard. Theo cannot back down (or won’t) and the Shark won’t either. The no-trade clause
          could destroy a real deal for either. Whatever happened to “what’s best for the team”?
          It could be worded differently, a number of teams listed as teams the Shark doesn’t have to go to.
          Money is not the problem, ego’s are.
          I have to go in the Sharks corner on this one as he was there before Theo, and should have the “grandfather effect” on his side.

          • Tony_H

            Grandfather effect….that hilarious. Sorry rules are made by those in charge, not those that have been around longer.

            Samardzija does NOT want to sign a contract extension, he wants to be a free agent. Theo can’t negotiate around that and it will require Samardzija to change his mind to negotiate an extension.

          • paulcatanese

            I forgot, you know it all.

          • Tony_H

            Paul – I may state it as I remember most of what has been put out for the public to know. Nothing I stated was guess work or my opinion, but what has been said by the Cubs are Samardzija.

  • Eugene Debs

    I look forward to the trade deadline meaning more players for the stretch run as opposed to the effective end of the season and the beginning of the road to 90 losses. The 2nd half of the season in the Jedi Hoyerstein era has been absolutely unwatchable.

    That being said, I hope they fleece a few teams and keep stockpiling talent for the aforementioned “season we go for it.”

  • Richard Hood

    If you had your choice between Shark for the next 4/5 years and Price for the next 3 or Baez and/or Bryant for the next 8 which one would you choose? Because any conversation for Price starts probably with Bryant. Thanks but no thanks.
    Rosenthal, even though I like his stuff, always seems to look for the quick fix not necessarily the best for the organization. Price and Shark together do not even get us to .500 let alone to the playoffs without offense. In that case trading for Price and gutting the Cubs top prospects to do it does not make sense. Now if we could trade spare parts for him (not going to happen) it is a different conversation.

    • Eugene Debs

      It would not take Bryant. Baez and one other would do it. I would not trade any of our minor league guys yet. Trading that sort of talent is for “final pieces.” We are closer, but not that close to contending.

      • GaryLeeT

        But a team can’t just say “ready set go get pieces” I think you have to add them along the way as the opportunities arrise. That way, the pitching can be in place as the hitters arrive, and there won’t be any wasted years waiting for one, or the other to happen.

        • Eugene Debs

          Sure, but Price is not that guy. Noticeable decline this year. Pitching, in spite of sometimes popular opinion, is not really hard to obtain – especially if you have a solid farm to trade from.

          Price – wrong guy at wrong time for the Cubs.

          • GaryLeeT

            Yes, as I just told Rich. It’s more the idea of a Price, than it is the actual pitcher.

          • Eugene Debs

            Fair enough!

            Yes, a stud pitcher would be cool.

    • GaryLeeT

      I would give up Baez for Price.

      • Richard Hood

        Remember this Price is not the guy that has been dominant in his first seasons in the league. His velocity is down and his peripheral numbers are up. I am not saying his scheduled for a decline but the warnings for it are definitely out there.

        • GaryLeeT

          I agree. His numbers are way down from the Cy Young year. I guess I am more thinking about the idea of an ace than actually wanting David Price. Scherzer will make it to market, but of course he will get a qualifying offer from the Tigers, and you can bet the Yankees will be in on that bidding war, so that counts the Cubs out.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    The bullpen has turned around. I really wish they’d hang on to Samardzija. We have no one in the system to take his place and we need more Samardzija’s not less. Trade Hammel fine put Ramirez in the rotation. And bring up Bryant.

    • ScottS42444

      If the Cubs get what they are asking for, or at least in the ballpark (pardon the pun) for Shark they will have possibly 2 guys that could replace him. If they got 2 out of the Orioles Top 4 pitching prospects, plus another topline starter prospect for Hammel, they will have the makings of a rotation that could possibly begin to show itself in Wrigley by the end of this season. They very well could have 3 guys who are legitmate 8 year starters for them (and good ones too) that are not currently in the majors at this point as opening day starters in 2015 (with Edwin Jackson, Arrietta, and Wood being the incumbants, look for the Cubs to move one of them at some point in the next 12 months).