If you’ve got a valuable commodity, and there are any kind of signals that you might part with it – however faint those signals – you’re going to get calls.
So it is with Jeff Samardzija and the Chicago Cubs, who would like to lock him up long term, but haven’t had much outward success. If an extension is not possible, the Cubs will at least have to consider dealing Samardzija (if not now, then at some point in the next year). And if they consider it, there figure to be plenty of suitors.
We’ve already heard about the Diamondbacks’ and Nationals’ interest, and now there are two more teams rumored to be entering the picture.
John Perrotto reports that a source tells him the Pirates are considering making a run at Samardzija. There are no details offered beyond that, but the Pirates offer a system deep in impact talent. Finding a match in trade would not be difficult from the Cubs’ perspective, considering the presence of top arm Jameson Taillon, rising arms Tyler Glasnow and Nick Kingham, top outfielder Gregory Polanco, and on and on. There is the intradivisional trading concern, but, if the Cubs are punting on the next season or two anyway, then there’s little concern from the Cubs’ perspective.
And Shi Davidi reports that the Blue Jays are “expected to make a push” for Samardzija.* Once again, there are no details, and once again there’s a plausible fit. While the Blue Jays’ system isn’t quite as attractive as the Pirates’, there are a number of intriguing arms (and, hey, lots of ’em recovering from Tommy John surgery!). The Blue Jays’ top six prospects, according to MLB.com, are all pitchers.
*(It’s crazy that, in the span of a week, trade rumors about Samardzija went from highly speculative to “obviously this guy is available, and obviously our local team is going to be one of the teams involved in the Samardzija sweepstakes.” I still don’t think it’s that much of a lock that he’s dealt, but word is getting around.)
Apropos of these rumors, Gordon Wittenmyer writes that he’s spoken with GMs and other executives at the GM Meetings this week, and after hearing from “nearly half” of the teams in MLB, Wittenmyer came away with the expectation that Samardzija will be dealt this offseason. I’m not sure how the other teams would know that unless the Cubs were out there actively shopping Samardzija (which they aren’t, or we definitely would have heard about it). So this level of certainty about a trade is odd.
At bottom, we know only that the Cubs will consider dealing Samardzija for a serious haul if it appears likely that he will not sign an extension. And, since we all seem to know that, plenty of teams are going to come calling, as it appears that the Diamondbacks, Nationals, Pirates, and Blue Jays have.