The Chicago Cubs flashed massive incompetency in their most recent series with the league-leading San Francisco Giants, who own the best record (34-19) in all of baseball through 53 games of MLB action. After a disappointing 76-86 season in 2013, the Giants didn’t begin the 2014 campaign as clear-cut favorites, but superb under-the-radar offseason acquisitions have launched San Francisco into position to potentially win their third World Series title in a span of five seasons.
The Cubs remain vastly removed from relevancy in the greater landscape of contention (106 seasons to be exact) and are assuredly going to be sellers yet again at the annual trade deadline in July. Chicago owns a tremendously valuable trade chip in staff ace Jeff Samardzija, who earned his first win of the season in the first game of a three-game set against the Giants, despite boasting a microscopic 1.68 ERA to rank among the best pitchers in baseball. The Cubs failed to score a run in the final 20 innings of the series, exhibiting why Samardzija owns a 1-4 mark on the season.
San Francisco witnessed first-hand what Samardzija is capable of. He flaunts four lethal pitches in his repertoire. His fastball tops out at 96 mph and averages 93.8 mph on the radar gun. He also features a sweeping slider and nasty split-fingered fastball to complement his cutter. Samardzija is a hard-thrower who can wear down opposing lineups. He also doesn’t walk many batters, allowing 2.5 free passes per nine innings pitched, contributing to a highly efficient 1.067 WHIP.
While the Giants don’t exactly need to bolster their pitching staff, which currently ranks third in the league with a stingy 3.03 ERA, adding Samardzija would allow San Francisco to pull away from the pack in the NL West, assuming they don’t already accomplish that feat mid-summer. The Giants currently own the biggest division lead in all of baseball (5.5 games) and don’t appear set on slowing down anytime soon.
It’s questionable whether the Giants have the commodities needed to strike a deal for Samardzija, but top pitching prospect Kyle Crick is a solid starting point. MLB.com rated Crick as the 32nd best prospect in all of baseball before the start of the 2014 season. He’s a trade chip the Giants don’t wish to part with, especially in remembrance of the failed Carlos Beltran trade from 2011 which forced general manager Brian Sabean to hand over highly touted right-handed pitcher Zach Wheeler to the New York Mets.
It’s more likely for the Giants to continue their under-the-radar methods of acquiring less flashy players who can fill roster voids. The Giants’ bench certainly needs work and is an area that Sabean and Co. will likely address in July. Adding Samardzija would further deplete the Giants’ already depleted farm system, but it would also keep the flame-throwing right-handed ace away from the arch-rival Los Angeles Dodgers and potentially propel San Francisco into position to win another World Series championship.