All of the buzz surrounding the Chicago Cubs this offseason was centered around whether or not they would trade No. 1 starter Jeff Samardzija. Well, they didn’t trade him and he’s pitched like a true ace so far this season. He has started seven games while allowing no more than three earned runs in any of those starts and holding onto a sterling 1.62 ERA. It is ponderous then, how Samardzija has a record of 0-3. Whether it has been a lack of run support, the bullpen collapsing late in games or both, Samardzija hasn’t been able to record a win in the first five weeks of the season despite pitching the best he has in his life so far.
With all of the blown leads and lack of run support, Samardzija has to be getting frustrated which is just one of the many reasons the Cubs should try trading their ace now instead of later. He hasn’t been shy about his doubts on where the club is headed in the future, so there’s no reason to assume he wouldn’t bad mouth the team if they can’t start turning his stellar starts into wins. Once that starts happening, the Cubs won’t be able to get as much for him on the trade market, because teams will know he’s unhappy and that the team needs to trade him no matter what.
On top of that, Samardzija needs to be traded right now because there may not be another time he’s this valuable in terms of what the Cubs could garner in a trade. Teams looking to add an arm would be getting a pitcher who has been one of the 10 best in the league this season, who still has over a year of team control left and would be entering his prime if he got a contract extension. A move like that would be a no-brainer to any team looking to add pitching talent, and for that reason there are plenty of teams likely to overpay.
It’s unknown whether or not teams are interested in trading for Samardzija right now rather than trying to trade for him closer to the deadline, but the best move for the Cubs in the long run would be to move him now. His frustrations can subside, he can go to a contender and the Cubs can get a very nice package of prospects in return. With whatever package of prospects they get, they will be that much closer to contending in the future. The problem is that in the meantime, they will have to find another true ace.