Samardzija Rumors Are Just Warming Up

Jeff Samardzija had a bad outing on Sunday and gave up more than three earned runs for the first time in 15 starts. The Brewers pounded Samardzija unlike any team had in almost a year. Samardzija was tagged for eight runs on eight hits in three innings and only one ball left the yard. Samardzija said after the game it was just “one of those days, they came out aggressive and were hitting the ball.”

Welington Castillo had an interesting reply when he was asked about Samardzija’s outing. Castillo, who left the game early with a sore back, said Samardzija’s velocity was where it should be and he had good breaking stuff. Castillo said “they were just on the pitches he threw.” And he admitted the Brewers were hitting the ball like they knew what Samardzija was going to throw before he threw it.

Regardless of what may or may not have happened Sunday, Samardzija had a bad game and an outing not much different from starts made by Johnny Cueto, Cliff Lee or David Price, just to name a few, this season.

Multiple teams will remain in the mix for Samardzija and the front office is expected to trade Samardzija if Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer receive the right offer. The usual noise about the Cubs not having to trade Samardzija has popped up in the last couple of weeks. But unless Samardzija changes his stance and decides he wants to sign a long-term extension without a no-trade clause to stay with the Cubs, he will be traded sooner than later in order to maximize his value.

Nick Cafardo reported Sunday that teams are lining up for Jeff Samardzija, with four of the five teams in the AL East in the line.

The American League East is wide open so far this season. And the Blue Jays and Orioles might view a down year for the Yankees and Red Sox as a way to win a division title and play into October. Toronto is leading the division by 3 1/2 games over the Yankees, 4 1/2 games over the Orioles and six games ahead of the Red Sox. Each one of the four teams is looking to add a top of the rotation starter, which could increase the return for Samardzija.

Reports are consistent that Alex Anthopoulos is more focused on adding a rental for this season, which could play into the Cubs hands with Jason Hammel, than pay the price for a pitcher with multiple years of control left on his contract. Jon Heyman reported if James Shields is made available, the Jays would be very interested. Anthopoulos did not deny his interest in Samardzija last week while saying it might be more beneficial for the long-term health of the organization if he acquired a pitcher whose contract would expire at the end of the season (rental) than one he would have control next year.

An executive from an AL team told the NY Daily News last week that if the Toronto was to acquire Jeff Samardzija the Jays would be viewed as actual contenders. The executive believes Anthopoulos “should go hard after Samardzija.”

Nick Cafardo reported Sunday that after the draft “the discussion should come fast and furious” about Samardzija and one National League General Manager told Cafardo, “the feeling is he’s the guy who will get the most looks because he’s a front-line guy, a young veteran, and he’s been so good.”

According to Cafardo, the Red Sox and Rangers would “have the most to offer” and the Giants “would be third in line.”

As for the Red Sox possible interest it could be to keep other teams in the division from acquiring him. The Sox might be hesitant to deal with Theo Epstein, with one of the reasons being his knowledge of Boston’s farm system. The Cubs are looking for at least two top pitching prospects in return for Samardzija and the Sox have the arms. Cafardo reported Ben Cherington would not be willing to part with lefty Henry Owens, but could include Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo, Allen Webster or Rubby De La Rosa.

As has been the case, the Cubs appear to be looking for a catcher in a deal for Samardzija as well. Cafardo mentioned it would likely take two young arms from the ones he listed, plus perhaps a catcher.

The Cubs are believed to be interested in Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Eduardo Rodriguez and Hunter Harvey from the Orioles system. Cafardo indicated the Cubs “would likely be interested” in Gausman and Bundy from Baltimore and, as has been reported, the Cubs “would likely want Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez” from Toronto. New reports (and rumors) surface on a daily basis that indicates the Cubs are now looking for a package from the Jays to include Drew Hutchinson.

Jim Bowden believes the Yankees have enough in their system to make a deal for Samardzija. Multiple reports have indicated Brian Cashman is not willing to include Dellin Betances in a deal this summer. Any deal with the Yankees would have to include Betances, and not as the main piece. Cafardo reported a package, starting with Betances and catcher Gary Sanchez could be what the Cubs are looking for in return for Samardzija.

Nick Cafardo ran off a long list of teams that could also be interested in Samardzija. The Mariners, Rockies, Braves, Dodgers and Angels have previously been reported as teams with interest in Samardzija and Cafardo added the Pirates, Mets and Phillies to the list.

Stay tuned … the Samardzija rumors are just warming up.

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  • GaryLeeT

    “The Cubs are looking for at least two top pitching prospects in return for Samardzija”

    I am curious to know what team would trade their top pitching prospects when they would be ready in a short year or two anyway? Why wouldn’t they all be thinking like Anthopoulos? Just save their farm system by keeping their hard to get TOR arms, and go for the much cheaper rental? It seems like the only teams that would be desperate enough to trade for Samardzija, would be ones with an empty farm, with no big arm on the way. I think they will get the most for him if they accept position players. I am thinking an upgrade at catcher would be nice.

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      Just because they are highly touted prospects doesn’t mean that they will succeed in the majors and shark has another year of control. And can be signed long-term. Also if he doesn’t accept a qualifying offer then the team who signs him gets a first round pick.

    • bpot92

      Also, the Cubs are looking for two top pitching prospects, although I am willing to bet it wont be the 1 and 2. Most likely a 1 and 3/4 plus a catcher or a 2+ another high upside arm and a position player. For example Sanchez and Stroman are the 1 and 2 prospects pitching wise for the jays(maybe overall as well).While the Cubs are asking for Hutch and one of those two or Sanchez and Stroman plus as a starting point, I think ultimately they will end up with one and then the 3/4 best pitching prospect in addition to a field player.

  • paulcatanese

    I have said it all along, the no-trade clause is the sticking point, with stubborn people on both sides.

    • Jeffrey Rogers

      Sometimes when that happens, the player gets to submit a list of 5-10 teams he cannot be traded to, as a compromise.

      I think another hurdle is that Jeff S is not sure that the Cubs are committed to winning in the next 2-3 years.

  • TrevorPetersma

    So how does the latest rumor involving discussing “competitive balance draft pick” compensation affect the possible return? I hope that doesn’t mean they won’t get as much return of pitchers that are actually close to the big leagues.

    • daverj

      It’s a case of the Cubs looking to get as much value as they can. Clearly teams are meeting the current demand of 2 top pitching prospects so the Cubs are exploring all possibilities. I could see the Cubs asking the Rockies for 1 top pitching prospect (Gray or Butler), the competitive balance pick and a couple mid level prospects.

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