According to Tom Loxas of ChicagoNow.com, the Pittsburgh Pirates have checked in on Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija. Other teams to call about Samardzija are the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox. Loxas later tweeted to “watch out for the Pirates and Diamondbacks.” From everything I have seen on Twitter from the baseball insiders of the world, it appears the asking price for the big right-handed pitcher is extremely high. I highly doubt that the Cubs will decide to pull the trigger on any trade offer unless it is loaded with a bunch of high-end prospects going to the Cubs.
In 21 starts in 2013, Samardzija has a 6-9 record and a 3.94 ERA. His 3.46 xFIP suggests that he is pitching better than his numbers would indicate. Not only is Samardzija a good pitcher, but he is also an innings eater. Having guys that take the mound every fifth day and pitch deep into games is very important. Samardzija, when he is on, is filthy. I have seen him tear up the Pirates’ lineup on more than a few occasions. He throws in the mid-to-uppers 90s with his fastball, and he has a very good changeup as well as a slider. If the Pirates would decide to make a trade for him — they won’t — it would add another pitcher to their rotation that has strikeout stuff. Samardzija has a 9.13 K/9 this season.
It’s unknown what it would take to acquire Samardzija in terms of prospects, but you can bet it would be a bundle. While he isn’t an ace yet, he’s still relatively young (28 years old) and is under team control until after the 2015 season.