2013 MLB Winter Meetings: 5 Potential Landing Spots For Chicago Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija

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5 Potential Destinations For Jeff Samardzija

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Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Samardzija will be entering his third straight season as a full-time starting pitcher. He has posted losing records the last two seasons, but those can be taken with a grain of salt as he did pitch for a last-place team. Two alarming trends for Samardzija are that both his innings pitched and ERA are increasing. Those are tell-tale signs that perhaps he has not quite reached ace potential just yet.

Samardzija does have strikeout stuff that can get him out of any jam, but also rack up those pitch counts every fifth day. He is also prone to giving up the long ball, and teams looking to trade for him would have to wonder how that would play out in other divisions such as the American League East.

However, Samardzija also has that one ability that is not on the back of any baseball card or stat sheet, and that is he is a competitor with a great mentality. He has the fire that you love to see in a starting pitcher, and the rest can hopefully be harnessed as he gains more experience. Samardzija still has a lot of innings left in his right arm, and that is one thing that you would trade for if looking for a starter.

The question for the Chicago Cubs is if Samardzija will be logging those innings in a Cubs' uniform. A local report has said that there is a "99 percent chance that Samardzija has thrown his final pitch for the Cubs." With that element put into play, rumors have been floating around all winter on where Samardzija will be pitching come Opening Day. Here are five potential landing spots for the right-hander.

Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Chicago Cubs

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Reports have said that there is a 99 percent chance that Samardzija is moved but that still leaves a one percent chance that he does stay with Chicago. The direction and offseason plans of the Cubs' front office is a fascinating mystery.

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4. Pittsburgh Pirates

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates could be in the market for a pitcher, especially if A.J. Burnett leaves town. While Cub fans may hate to see Samardzija on a different team within the division, the possibility is there.

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3. Arizona Diamondbacks

Jeff
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Diamondbacks have been rumored to be one of the teams trying to land the right-hander. They have a few young, intriguing prospects that could get a deal into motion this winter.

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2. Baltimore Orioles

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Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles also have a quantity in arms that could be traded for a potential front-end starter. They are in a win-now mode and need to compete within a grueling division.

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1. Toronto Blue Jays

Jeff
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

If it was a horse race, the Toronto Blue Jays figure to have the best morning line odds to land Samardzija. Their top six prospects are all pitchers and the Cubs need a bulk number of pitchers to add to the stable in return for their reigning Opening Day starter.

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