A little over a month ago, we started hearing rumors that the Arizona Diamondbacks were trying to put a package of prospects together to acquire Jeff Samardzija from the Chicago Cubs. Well, the formerly dismissed rumor just will not go away as the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox are entering the race for Samardzija.
Arizona is still very interested, of course.
As prior, I still think it is very unlikely that Samardzija is going anywhere. The Cubs are just doing their due diligence to see if they can use him as a tool to help speed up this rebuild. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com is reporting that the Cubs’ asking price on the starter is “higher than the Sears Tower” and they are “basically requesting of teams that they take whatever they want.”
Really, this is how it should be.
Samardzija is an ace-type pitcher who is under team control until 2015. The only reason the Cubs are even listening to offers on Samardzija is the fact that he has refused to talk about a contract extension to this point. I am sure that the Cubs would love to get Samardzija in the fold for the future as he can lead the rotation for many years.
That being said, if the Cubs can land a pitching prospect with an “ace” ceiling along with other elite pieces, I think they would trade Samardzija. I just cannot stress how unlikely this deal is.
Any deal with the Diamondbacks would have to involve Archie Bradley along with other pieces. Bradley is considered by most to be the top pitching prospect in all of baseball. It may take him a couple of years to reach the big leagues, but he would be the expected replacement for Samardzija eventually. Tyler Skaggs, David Holmberg and Matt Davidson are other names that would have to be involved with the Diamondbacks.
With the Pirates, at least one of Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole would have to be involved — maybe both. Allen Hanson and Gregory Polanco are other names that would interest the Cubs. The Red Sox have a deep system of pitching prospects including Matt Barnes, Allen Webster and Henry Owens that surely interests the Cubs.
It is fun to talk about, but I doubt the Cubs will trade Samardzija. He is still relatively young and cost-controlled. His xFIP of 3.46 is among the leaders in the NL. Samardzija is a legitimate ace pitcher and the Cubs will not deal him unless they get a huge return.
Will a desperate team give the Cubs their choice of prospects before Wednesday’s trade deadline? It is doubtful, but crazier things have happened.