As the 2014 MLB trade deadline approaches, ball clubs are deciding if they should be buyers or sellers. Amongst many of the rumors currently circulating, the Seattle Mariners seem very interested in improving their rotation by adding SP Jeff Samardzija of the Chicago Cubs.
Seattle has sent scouts to watch Samardzija’s recent starts. Insiders speculate that the recent upward trending success of prospect Taijuan Walker in Triple-A and his now healthy right arm could be a central piece in acquiring a blue chip player in a trade.
The belief is that the Mariners are not interested in SP Jason Hammel of the Cubs because his contract expires after 2014. With Samardzija, the Mariners get more long-term service time and have the potential to negotiate a new contract sometime between now and when his current contract expires at the end of the 2015 season.
The 29-year old Samardzija was a former standout football player at the University of Notre Dame. He elected to pursue a career in professional baseball instead of football. Samardzija and Tampa Bay Rays‘ David Price are the two most valuable pitchers being talked about as the trade deadline nears. Samardzija would probably be having a Cy Young caliber season in the NL if he wasn’t playing for such a dismal organization.
The consensus may be that the Mariners are in more dire need of hitting than pitching to make a push for the playoffs. While that may be true, a hot-hitting Logan Morrison and the eventual return of Corey Hart to the lineup should quell any immediate worries about acquiring a bat. With Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, adding Samardzija would give the Mariners one of the best one-two-three punches of any rotation in all of baseball.
SS Nick Franklin is another chip believed to be in play at the trade deadline. Chicks do dig the long ball, but for what it’s worth, pitching usually wins games in October. The Mariners could do a whole lot worse if they acquired someone other than Samardzija before the trade deadline. He is 2-6 through 16 starts this season, with an ERA of 2.53 (sixth best in the NL) and a K/9 of 8.5.