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jeff samardzija gatorade showerIf the Chicago Cubs were actually going to shop starter Jeff Samardzija – and, to date, we’re not certain that they will – you would hear about a great many teams beyond the Arizona Diamondbacks, the only team that has, thus far, been connected directly to Samardzija rumors.

And, hey, you might start hearing more about other teams even before it becomes crystal clear that the Cubs are shopping Samardzija. Say, for example, the Washington Nationals.

Last week, I wondered if the Nationals, who are known to be looking to add a top starting pitcher, could be a good fit for a Samardzija trade. Sure enough, Adam Kilgore reports today that the Nationals, in addition to big names like David Price and Max Scherzer, will discuss a possible trade for Jeff Samardzija. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Nats will discuss a trade this week with the Cubs, but it’s something Kilgore says they’ll at least discuss internally.

Kilgore writes at length about how Samardzija could be a better value and better choice for the Nats than David Price, both in terms of the price to acquire and the projected performance going forward (not that Samardzija will outperform Price, but there are some decline indicators with respect to Price that make you a little nervous). Scherzer, to the extent he enters into the conversation, offers just one year of control (compared to Samardzija’s and Price’s two), and will be extremely expensive to acquire.

The Nats could make an adequate trading partner for the Cubs, what with their top two prospects being pitchers Lucas Giolito and A.J. Cole. It remains to be seen whether Samardzija is actually made available – publicly, the Cubs insist they’d like to extend him beyond the two years of control they have left – but, if teams come asking, the Cubs will listen.

I remain of the mind that Samardzija is an elite pitcher, whose results will soon match the obvious stuff. The Cubs have him for two years, and there’s no reason to part with him this offseason short of a franchise-altering return (I’d think mid-2014 would be the first time to consider crossing that bridge). Consider how much the Cubs got for two months of Matt Garza. In order to trade Samardzija now, I’d think the Cubs should expect much, much more.

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