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jeff samardzija gatorade showerTo be certain, we still don’t know whether the Chicago Cubs are ready to give up the ghost on signing Jeff Samardzija to a long-term extension, but, based on widely circulating rumors, there are a ton of teams interested in the big righty if the Cubs do decide to shop him.

One of those teams is the Toronto Blue Jays, and Bruce Levine reports that, beyond just checking in, the Blue Jays are now trying to put together a package of young players to actually pull the deal off.

If the Blue Jays really want to make a deal happen, they have the ammo. Their top pitching prospect, Aaron Sanchez, is a top 25 overall prospect (depending on whether his stock fell this year), and just dominated the Arizona Fall League after a mixed debut in the Florida State League (High-A – he put up a 3.34 ERA, but mostly on the back of not giving up any hits or homers (something that lesser arms can do in the FSL); he walked 4.2 per 9, and struck out just 7.8). Sanchez is 21, and wouldn’t be seeing the bigs for another couple years, likely, but he’s the top arm to target. The Blue Jays feature a number of other interesting arms, including Marcus Stroman, Daniel Norris, Sean Nolin, Roberto Osuna, John Stilson, Matt Smoral … I could go on. It’s a pitching-rich system, though it may be more quality depth than super-high impact. They’ve also got Tommy John recoverees Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek …

You can see MLB.com’s top 20 Blue Jays prospects here, and start to dream up a package that would land Samardzija.

On the big league roster, the Blue Jays also have young center fielder Anthony Gose, who could be expendable with an outfield that already features Jose Bautista, Colby Rasmus and Melky Cabrera (though the latter two are free agents after the season). Gose is just 23, and is considered an exceptional defensive player, but questions about his bat have persisted throughout his career.

So, should we be bracing for a deal? I wouldn’t quite go that far. Teams know that the Cubs are interested in extending Samardzija, and would consider dealing him if they can’t. Those extension talks haven’t yet led to a deal, so it’s natural that teams – in a pitching-thin, increasingly-pricey market – would inquire. And some, like the Blue Jays may be doing, would probably even try to entice the Cubs with a specific offer. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Cubs are involved beyond listening.

And if the Cubs are merely listening, as opposed to actively trying to find a deal for Samardzija, they’ll probably need to be wowed to make a move right now. Remember, Samardzija is under control for two more years, and is coming off a second straight season where the peripherals and advanced statistics say he was a whole lot better than the ERA. That means he’s a good bet to pitch very effectively in the first half of 2014, and the Cubs could find the market for him just as attractive at the Trade Deadline as it is now.

As I often say to folks, consider what the Cubs got for just a couple months of Matt Garza: a top 50 overall prospect (C.J. Edwards, who obviously climbed after the deal, but the Rangers knew what they had); a guy who was a top 30 overall type the year before but had a down year (Mike Olt); a guy who was a top 6 organizational prospect (in a top system) until he was thrust a year early into a starting role in the bigs (Justin Grimm); and a guy who was a borderline top 10 organizational prospect (Neil Ramirez). Samardzija is, in my mind, a superior pitcher to Garza. And he’s coming with two years of control, not two months. How much better would the package have to be? Well, that’s your starting point, and then increase it considerably.

  • Turn Two

    I hope Baltimore wants him

  • RizzoCastro

    I can think of a lot of teams who will/would want him. I say the Nationals, Dbacks, and the Jays, and Royals are the top 4. I would take a deal with any of those teams.

    • Patrick G

      After not re-signing Santana, I would think KC would want to make a big splash for a big pitcher at any cost. After trading for Shields, they need to find a way to win

  • Patrick G

    I’d love Sanchez but Stroman scares me. Had awesome numbers in the minors but was caught with PEDs and is only 5’9″ he would be a nice addition to the bullpen though if that’s where he would be placed

    • Jeremy Russell

      What he was caught with was over-the-counter and barely stronger than coffee. He was just dumb, not a cheater.

  • Kyle

    I’m not ready to call Edwards a “top-50 prospect” because one or two or even a handful of sites may have him that high. I don’t think it’s exactly consensus at this point.

    • Ben (BG2383)

      I would agree with your assertions. Jason Parks isn’t all that high on Edwards and he knows the Texas system extremely well. I hope both of us are wrong.
      It was still an amazing package for a couple of months of Garza

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s probably fair. We’ll see where he winds up – but if he’s number three to BA in the Cubs’ system, he’s a lock to be top 50 (30?) to BA. That’s something, at least.

  • willis

    Well, double edged sword here. Shark is the type of piece you can hope to build around. But, with the cubs all but admitting another couple of tank seasons and having no money right now, I can see the attractiveness of dealing him for a sled of top prospects. I hate that feeling and I hate that the cubs may do it, but with everything else as it is. I guess you entertain offers.

  • MichiganGoat

    Unless we are getting MLB ready players I’m not interested. Getting pitchers that are 2-3 away as the prize piece is not going to help us.

    • YourResidentJag

      So, you don’t want Sanchez, Hutchinson, Gose to play CF, or say Norris. I sure would. Hypothetically speaking of course.

    • gocubs

      I want want elite talent. If that means we wait a few years for development I’m okay with that. If we can get elite MLB talent I’m okay with that but those trades don’t happen all that often.

      Do you just want MLB ready players no matter the talent? For example, would you prefer J.A. Happ and Marcus Stroman over Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stromen? Happ is MLB ready but he is a 4 or 5 on a rotation. I would rather have the potential elite talent.

    • caryatid62

      Problem is that this team is 2-3 years away at best, so getting a pitcher that far away might actually be beneficial.

      However, any pitcher in A ball is pretty much a crapshoot anyway, what with the potential for injury and all. I could definitely see staying away from them for that reason alone.

      • YourResidentJag

        And yet that’s who I feel the will have to get. A major league ready talent like Bradley or Bundy is most likely not coming here for Shark.

    • Jason P

      I completely agree. Especially with Sanchez, that K/BB combo scares me.

    • BenRoethig

      The Cubs are 2-3 years away, probably closer to 2018-19 before the players are in their prime and we’re ready to contend, so if they could get a few high caliber arms it might be worth it. Question is whether an organization would be wiling to pay the price required.

      • cub2014

        Ben, 2018-2019 I dont think so.

        This is what I think Theo is looking at:

        2013 off-season: sign 1 piece for the future
        (probably an OF) or if we get lucky Tanaka

        2014 we will see: Alcantera,Baez
        Olt,Bryant,Hendrick. Trade Shark..
        Depending on if we sell-off? wins 78-85
        off-season: we will know the status of
        Castro & Rizzo and explore trades if
        necessary. (hopefully they will have a
        good year) then look to sign a top pitcher,

        2015 we will bring up Almora or Soler,
        Edwards. By now we will know if Baez,
        Bryant,Alcantera will be the real deal.
        Probably wins in the 82-90 range depending
        on the success of the rookies
        off-season: trade Jackson, sign FA as
        needed depending on Baez,Bryant &
        Alcantera.

        2016 the plan(s) should be complete:
        plan A: prospects
        plan B: free agents
        plan C: trades
        or more likely a combination of the three plans.

        2016:
        starters: FA, Wood,Edwards,Arrieta or FA, Hendricks
        lineup:
        CF Ellsbury or Almora?
        SS Castro
        RF Soler or FA (need a stud in this spot)
        LF Bryant
        1b Rizzo or Vogelbach
        3b Baez
        2b Alcantera
        C Castillo
        lot of possibilities for failure but this is where
        FA or trades will have to fill in the blanks.

  • cubzfan

    I think this front office looks for the best single player they can get for him. Like the Cashner for Rizzo trade, TheJedi are willing to place a bet on a particular prospect. The Blue Jays seem well positioned to offer a broad package, but Sanchez is probably not the top arm the Cubs could get for Samardzija. Arizona, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, New York Mets, and other teams may one player the Cubs like better. Just from my reading of sites like this one, I’d guess Archie Bradley is the prime target.

    • cubzfan

      To clarify: I don’t mean they would only get one player in return, just that the deal will be built around one top arm, and the other players will relatively inconsequential, kind of like Sappelt and Torreyes.

    • Diamond Don

      If Archie Bradley is part of the trade for the Shark, I say make it. We would have to get some additional players back in return, but I would love to build our World Series rotation around CJ Edwards, Archie Bradley, and Travis Wood.

  • PeteG

    For the throw-in player please be Drabek! I think he could be a solid 2 if and when he figures it out (and obviously get healthy).

    • Blublud

      Nah, you can keep Drabek, unless he is just a complete give away.

  • Blublud

    This may sound crazy to some, but Shark is closer to Price in value then Garza. I also said before, if they are both traded, expect their packages to actually be pretty similar. If Arizona, Baltimore and Toronto doesn’t want to give up their top pitching prospect, then I say move on.

    On a separate note, someone in Shark’s camp was very smart at gauging the market. They knew the market was getting ready to blow and advised Shark to hold of on an extension. This explains why the FO was looking at an extension early while Shark wasn’t. With that being said, barring injury, I doubt Shark is a Cub after the deadline, and probably not when the season starts.

  • CubFan Paul

    Sounds like they can do better than Sanchez. Samardzija is proven, Theo&Co should target the “can’t-miss” arms and bats in other team’s farms.

    • YourResidentJag

      I really don’t think they can. Regardless of when they trade Shark, they’re going to have be ok with a tremendous upside player like Sanchez. After all, he’s a top 25 prospect. Teams are going to want to keep players with value they covet. Bradley and Bundy are two of those players.

      • Andrew

        maybe im missing something with sanchez, but he hasn’t been particularly good at any level yet, why is he considered such a good prospect. Seems to walk a lot of batters without striking out that many. Scouts must love him but seems like huge bust potential.

        • YourResidentJag

          For one thing, his frame is all arms and legs so I think that’s why. He has good fastball with movement and velocity and solid secondary pitches. Again he’s 21. The largest concern about Sanchez is mechanical. Red flag. Possibly. But there are concerns about Gioloto/Bundy and injury issues as well. Would love to have Taillon. Just not sure if we can make that trade.

  • Frank

    Theo is going to have to replace the carpeting in his office pacing back and forth knowing that there are two TJ’s that might be in the deal.

    • willis

      Hahaha, nicely done. And unfortunately so true.

      • http://BN Sacko

        no doubt we are the TJ hospital, but for Shark? Theo does that I’m not going to pay anymore attention to this bs.

    • Blublud

      You mean we are trading for two Tommy Johns. I didn’t know he was available, better yet, two of them.

  • JL

    1st choice would be trying to get Bradley from Arizona. 2nd choice Gausman and Bundy together from Baltimore. I hope the Cubs stay away from any deal with Toronto. Also Cubs FO please try to trade Castro and let another team deal with his stupid mental errors. He’s just to much of a free swinger with absolutely no plate approach what so ever.

    • Diamond Don

      I disagree. Castro is a free swinging .300 hitter who they tried to change last year. Renteria will get the old Castro back that will get 200+ hits.

      • Mike F

        you need to read the can piece on Theo and Mueller and the Cub hitting philosophy. The experiment in making Castro an intelligent hitter will continue. No one is talking about the piece but is clear Mueller is to Theo maybe even in his own words the more important choice than Rick. And it is clear there are no free swinging exceptions.

        • BenRoethig

          If Theo continues that philosophy of trying to make a hitter something they’re not, then maybe Ricketts needs to make a change at who’s leading this rebuild. If Theo is so inflexible that he’ll destroy a .300 hitter and 2-time all star, he and his sabermetrics need to be gone after next year.

          • baldtaxguy

            I don’t think either of those “if’s” are happening.

            Castro is a big boy – I feel he will be fine next season, but if not, it’s on him, and no one else.

  • The Dude

    I’m a supporter of the Cubs trading Samardzija, and have been since prior to last year’s all-star break. He’s great and all, but I think he’s a bit superfluous next year (given the team construction), and too unpredictable to commit to for the long run. The Cubs can sell him on his peripherals, and let another team deal with that risk.

  • Walter Sobchak

    Lawrie drabek and Sanchez and gose for Barney shark and Russell

  • Eric

    I think Garza’s value was inflated because of a go-for-it Rangers team and it was the trade deadline. So that said, I don’t think the haul we got for Garza can be compared to what we should expect for Shark.

    I like the Blue Jays’ depth but none of those top 10 arms in their system really seem high impact to me. They do have the son of Dwight Smith though…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      By that theory, the Cubs should hold onto Samardzija for another year and a half to maximize his return.

      (Which is to say I don’t agree with you.)

      • Frank

        I disagree. Get while the gettin is good, especially if they want him badly and want to pay dearly. In the next year and a half, he can have the best years of his life or he can have a toilet year or blow his elbow. On top of it, if the Cubs have two more down years as hinted, why keep him around and have no offensive support?

      • hansman

        I think he is saying that 8 months from now a team will be more desperate at the deadline.

      • praying the cubs get ready to win

        Brett, I think the Cubs should ask for all teams to submit trade offers for Shark and submit like the bids for Tanaka, I think someone will offer something crazy and the Cubs will take it.

    • Mike F

      couldn’t disagree more. If the Cubs got Sanchez, Drabek and young LHP say somewhere in the top of10-12 of their system, I’d be very happy and I am one who is not excited to trade him. People completely under-rate Drabek.

      • Blublud

        That return would make me puke in my mouth.

        • YourResidentJag

          I hate to say this but you may want to prepare for less than you think. Sure I’d like Tailon. I just don’t know if our division rival is giving us that.

    • TK

      Keep in mind that the Rangers have money . . . They can sign top FA’s. not all teams have that luxury. Some teams give out $25 mil contracts. Others pay with prospects. There is a very nice haul waiting for us in some smallish market organization that wants to compete. I like Pitt. We can also send CASH along as desert for a team to use to re-sign him, or to sign aother player they crave. And, of course, we do have prospects we could trade, also, like Vogelbach, a MI, a 3B, a couple OF’s, all of whom would serve to get us a better player in return. Theres always a way!

      • TOOT

        “Keep in mind that the Rangers have money . . . They can sign top FA’s”
        Exactly how much money does texas have? And how do you know this?

  • Brian Peters

    Please, Cubs, trade him before he a) gets hurt, or b) gets it in his head that he’s an ace and tries to demand that kind of money. He’s lucky, most days, to be a number-two starter.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Trade Samardzija and Schierholtz to D-Backs for Skaggs , Holmberg, and Eaton.
    Then trade Castro and B. Jackson to Mets for Syndergaard , 2B Murphy, and C Plawicki.

  • Danno

    Lou Brock like your trade ideas but don’t see it happening.

  • Oswego Chris

    Yeah, I may get laughed at, but I see nothing in that system worth 2 years of Samardzija…two years is a long time…I would have to be knocked out with a deal including at least one guy who is playing in the MLB right now….

    • MichiganGoat

      Agreed

      • Mike F

        I agree with both of you he is a tough competitor and unlike Garza no arm issues. That said, it will be a rough winter. Hope I am wrong, but people have built themselves up to the idea of Jeff bringing back multiple best arms in baseball, so not sure that will happen, but I see them trading both Jeff and Baez. We will see

        • YourResidentJag

          And possibly Jackson.

  • Matt

    Skaggs isn’t very attractive as a frontliner. Also, as an FYI, Jackson and Schierholz shouldn’t be viewed as particularly attractive sweeteners to other teams.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Schierholtz has been mentioned in many quotes by the Cubs FO , specifically the GM , as being asked about by many teams since the trade deadline of 2013. He is quite in demand due to his salary and his show of reasonable power numbers last year.
    If not Jackson then how about Olt or Szczur.

  • Matt

    Schierholz has some value but he’s basically a platoon player with one? yr of cost control left. To enhance the value of a Shark package, you’d need to give them one of your good,young players(Welly) or a prospect who they’d have cost control over for six yrs at ML level. Otherwise, adding someone like Schierholz doesn’t move the needle. As far as Szczur or Olt they probably wouldn’t help because of Olt’s lingering injury questions & Szczur’s apparent limitations – though I believe Szczur is a serious sleeper. The mkt just isn’t discounting a lot of value for either guy right now. The type of guys who’d add value who we MIGHT consider moving would be Alcantara, Pierce J, Candelario, and some others.

  • waffle

    one thing about this regime, I have alot more confidence in their ability to maximize return from trades through analysis and good old fashioned hard ball tactics.

  • caryatid62

    It’s interesting to see so many that are on board with “The Plan” who are also very hesitant to trade Samardzjia.

    In two years, he’ll be 31, and assuming he doesn’t get hurt, will have thrown 950+ MLB innings (basically exactly where David Price is right now) and be incredibly expensive. He’ll have been the best starter on the team for previous two years while the team is likely terrible.

    Meanwhile, many here have criticized any suggestion of getting guys like Choo, Ellsbury, or Cano for the specific reason that their best years will be when this team is uncompetitive, i.e. the next two years. This is a compelling argument for avoiding these guys, but for those who are making it, I hope you are as fervent in wanting to trade Samardzjia right now, because the reason for wanting him traded is pretty much the same. He’ll likely have his two best seasons in the next two years, after which will come a decline, and the Cubs will be paying for that decline as their best prospects are hopefully getting to the majors.

    Essentially, if you’re someone who claims to be truly on board with “The Plan,” you should want Samardzjia traded yesterday. If you don’t, you’re likely not quite willing to accept the reality of what not competing until 2016 is going to feel like.

    • Soda Popinski

      If there were a “like” button… I’d click it.

      Outside of reason, though, it would really be nice to see a bright spot on the team in the meantime, and Shark probably has the best chance to do this. It’s emotional, but hell, it would make watching these next 2 seasons bearable.

    • Jason P

      The only way he’ll be “incredibly expensive” is if his performance dictates that kind of contract. Otherwise, he’s looking at E-Jax money maybe a little better, regardless of whether he wants it from the Cubs or some other team.

      Also, there’s a big difference between “hesitant to trade him” and “hesitant to proactively try to trade him”. I think most on this site fall into the latter camp. If we trade him and get an MLB-ready, potential front of the rotation starter–someone like Jameson Talion or Archie Bradley–then by all means, trade him. But if we trade for someone like, say, Aaron Sanchez, who’s at least 2 years away from even reaching the big leagues, are we really any better off for 2016 than if we had a 31-year-old Jeff Samardzija? And that’s before you factor in the *very* significant possibility that Sanchez does not become what we would hope, and in that case, you’ve completely set back the organization.

      Needless to say, however this saga works out is extremely important for the future of the organization. A reasonable 5-year/$65 million extension is still the best possible outcome, and trading him is the consolation prize. By all means, if maximizing his value means holding onto him until this year’s trade deadline–maybe his performance moves closer to his peripherals, maybe some team gets desperate–then the Cubs have to do that. There’s no reason whatsoever for them to get antsy and accept a lesser return just to “trade him yesterday”.

      • YourResidentJag

        What if he currently wants more than that offer though?

        • Jason P

          Then they have to shop him like they are but not necessarily take the best available deal if it’s not good enough. There’s nothing wrong with holding onto him for another half a season.

          • YourResidentJag

            Possibly, but what if the Pirates, Jays, and Nationals are out of the race by then? Do you take that chance with more teams to acquire him in what seems to be a very trade-active offseason?

            • Jason P

              If that many teams are seriously in, then it’s likely the Cubs get a deal they like. But even if they don’t , there will always be teams at the deadline in need of a guy like Samardzija, especially knowing they have him for another entire year.

              • YourResidentJag

                Again, I can’t say this for sure. I agree with Dave Cameron, who last summer said the trade deadline has become archaic. With the new wildcard format, teams are taking longer to materialize whether or not they’re buying or sellers. His argument is that the deadline should be moved back into August. I can see the rationalization behind it. Could it affect offers for Shark? Maybe/maybe not. But I don’t think teams are going to be as active as you think going forward during the deadline.

                • Jason P

                  As Brett mentioned above, the Cubs got “a top 50 overall prospect (C.J. Edwards, who obviously climbed after the deal, but the Rangers knew what they had); a guy who was a top 30 overall type the year before but had a down year (Mike Olt); a guy who was a top 6 organizational prospect (in a top system) until he was thrust a year early into a starting role in the bigs (Justin Grimm); and a guy who was a borderline top 10 organizational prospect (Neil Ramirez)” for 2 months of Garza.

                  For a year and a half of a superior pitcher, it seems silly to me to argue the Cubs couldn’t get at least get Aaron Sanchez and complementary pieces at the deadline if they wanted to.

                  • YourResidentJag

                    Well, lets hope.

      • Kyle

        “Also, there’s a big difference between “hesitant to trade him” and “hesitant to proactively try to trade him.”

        There really isn’t a functional difference. I don’t know why people think there is.

        • Jason P

          If we’re talking about a player that has to be moved by a certain date (like Garza at last year’s deadline), then no there isn’t, but for a guy like Samardzija, there is. In one case, you are taking the best offer, while in the other, you’re seeing what the offers are and only taking them if they are good enough.

      • Kyle

        Also, and we had this argument on this site many times during the Matt Garza era, I think it’s silly to think that at the trade deadline teams will pay more for 45 starts of a guy than they would have for 64 starts from him in the offseason.

        • YourResidentJag

          Agreed. The desperation parameter set up by fans of the deadline is really nothing more than being fans of a deadline. Some of the most significant trades over the past couple of years have actually occurred in August. The trade deadline is merely a signpost for fans who want it to be more exciting than it’s really been in recent memory.

        • Jason P

          Unless said player plays better during the first half of the next season than he did during the prior one. given Samardzija’s peripherals, I’d say that’s a real possibility. If not, there’s always the possibility that another half year of similar performance makes Samardzija more willing to negotiate a reasonable extension.

          Worst case scenario (well, at least worst likely scenario), you’re probably sitting on the same kinds of offers at the deadline as you are right now.

          • Kyle

            Other teams know about peripherals too. His price already reflects that.

            • Jason P

              If teams are willing to pay for Samardzija like he actually did post a 3.45 ERA last year (his xFIP) to go along with the 215 K’s, 215 IP, and top-5 in the game velocity among starters, the Cubs shouldn’t have any problem getting a deal they like. That would put him squarely in the David Price category, possibly even *above* Price when you consider Price’s injury history and velocity draft.

              Team’s very much value peripherals, but not to the same degree they value results.

              • Jason P

                *velocity drop

              • CWILLS

                Shut up Jason

              • Kyle

                Price has the added benefit of having done it for multiple years. And he hasn’t had an xFIP as high as 3.45 in a long time.

                Teams value *projection* more than they value results, and almost all MLB teams will project Samardzija based on his peripherals and not his ERA. This isn’t 1985.

            • jt

              “Other teams know about peripherals too. His price already reflects that.”
              –Kyle
              You posted the criteria for designating a pitcher as to rotation class 1 – 5.
              Mastery of pitches was a big thing. But also, consistency was predominately mentioned.
              Consistency of peripherals would be measured by variation from game to game which would use the standard deviation tool as a metric. Other teams can also see how inconsistent Shark has been.

        • Andrew

          Yes 64 starts is more valuable than 45 but not tremendously so. The last ten starts of the season are more important to a contending team’s season than the first twenty probably. Kind of like the leverage index for relievers, as the game goes on each out becomes more valuable, likewise as the season goes on each win is more valuable. The advantage to waiting to me is that it allows other teams to potentially join the conversation. I don’t think that it will make other teams up their offers significantly, but it allows for a better chance to find a good fit in terms of a trading partner. For example, I don’t think Toronto is a really good fit because their top prospect (Sanchez) seems overrated. Granted I don’t know what scouts think, but the dude walks a lot of batters at a low level. If I based my valuation of him solely on stats (which I wouldnt but it is a factor) he wouldnt even be top 100 material.

          • Kyle

            Don’t stat-scout minor league pitchers. It’s not a great way to judge who the best prospects are.

            You wanna see a guy with insanely high BB totals in the minors?

            http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=wood–001ker

            He made the transition alright to the majors somehow.

            • Andrew

              ya but Wood also had insane K rates that jumped off the page. I don’t see anything that really excites me about Sanchez based on his stats. But I agree it’s not all about stats in the minors I’m sure there is upside with Sanchez based on how he projects.

              • YourResidentJag

                His fastball though has the potential to be a big K pitch.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I think it’s important to discuss, so I like your point.

      But I don’t think there’s anything inconsistent with wanting to extend Jeff Samardzija on a good deal so that they have a 31-year-old Samardzija in 2016; and, on the other hand, not wanting a 31-year-old Choo or Cano right now.

      And that assumes that the folks you’re talking about believe the Cubs can’t/won’t be competitive in 2015. I’m not ready to foreclose that possibility, and the version of The Plan that I signed up for doesn’t require the Cubs to throw away 2015 just yet.

      • caryatid62

        I disagree..

        Hitters are less likely, on average to get hurt. On average, a player signed at 31 this year is not as likely to get injured while maintaining a solid level of performance over the next 3-4 years. A pitcher is always a crap shoot (as we saw when the Cubs made the mistake of not trading Garza 2 years before his FA). Samardzjia is not significantly less likely than Choo or Cano to underperform after 2015, and from what we can we can tell, isn’t going to come at any kind of discount. A 31 year old Samardzija doesn’t appear to me to be a significantly less risky proposition than a 33 year old Cano or 33 year old Choo (with the obvious caveat that this is all about total years on a contract–no one’s advocating for spending $300 million on Cano or $170 on Choo or anything insane like that).

        I would also take issue with the fact that you’re not willing to write off 2015, considering your fairly vehement defense of “the Plan”. We need to be realistic about this–2015 is off the table. It has been off the table since the moment it became obvious that the Cubs have no money to spend (for whatever reason). The idea that 2015 is even somewhat likely is simply going to result in more and more fans who set unrealistic expectations for this franchise and then get angry with the perceived timeline for success.

        If you’re willing to accept the plan, you HAVE to be willing to accept throwing away the next two years. The Cubs financial limitations (whether it stems from a real reason or not), coupled with the quality of the teams in this division, have made this a near-certainty.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          “I would also take issue with the fact that you’re not willing to write off 2015, considering your fairly vehement defense of “the Plan”. We need to be realistic about this–2015 is off the table. It has been off the table since the moment it became obvious that the Cubs have no money to spend (for whatever reason). The idea that 2015 is even somewhat likely is simply going to result in more and more fans who set unrealistic expectations for this franchise and then get angry with the perceived timeline for success.”

          No one said anything about likely. It’s November 2013. You don’t think it’s a touch premature to throw out 2015 already?

          Players breakout. Prospects advance. Signings do happen. And the WGN TV deal will be renegotiated, kicking in extra cash for 2015, and the renovation should finally be a year underway.

          I’m not an idiot, and I understand that The Plan will not include huge spending next offseason (and it shouldn’t). But baseball is funny, and young teams are the most likely to surprise to the upside. I still don’t buy – despite their comments suggesting otherwise – that this front office is comfortable throwing away the first four years of their tenure (FOUR YEARS) when they can put together a competitive team without sacrificing the long-term vision. Samardzija could easily play a part in that. I’m saying only that you can be in favor of The Plan, and not *absolutely* believe it is *required* that the Cubs trade Jeff Samardzija right now.

          • YourResidentJag

            And yet we the following quote from Patrick Mooney that I keep remembering: “Where the Cubs had internally viewed 2015 as a breakthrough year last winter, now they are focusing more on 2016 in the big picture.”

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I’m keenly aware of that quote, and it’s actually the predicate for what I said (and that beefy two-post discussion on whether the front office is actually already planning to punt 2015). The more I’ve thought about it, the more I don’t like it, and the less sense it makes (to decide right now, I mean). The Cubs lose nothing by punting 2014, and seeing what’s what after the season. It’s just too early to say they can’t put together a competitive team.

              And, to me, that means hanging onto Samardzija until the Trade Deadline, at least, unless you’re blown away right now.

              • caryatid62

                “The Cubs lose nothing by punting 2014, and seeing what’s what after the season”

                Except fans, revenue, TV ratings, and the possibility that Samardzjia gets injured and loses significant value.

                • YourResidentJag

                  And who knows how many teams are involved during the offseason in the Shark trade discussions. We really are doing are best to speculate. The bottom line is that the prospects we get now most likely will be the same during the deadline. Why keep Shark if we can’t extend him going in 2014? If we can, great.

                  • YourResidentJag

                    *our

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    Because – I’m starting to sound like Kyle – Samardzija has value to the Cubs in April, May, June and July 2014. Competitiveness is extremely remote, but teams surprise.

                    Great deal comes along now? I can be on board with trading him. Feeling like you HAVE to trade him now absent an extension? I don’t agree.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      I think you have to trade him, Brett. How long have they been working on trying to get him extended? Almost a year now? His price is going to be overvalued because second tier FAs, which I believe he is, are all becoming overvalued. I want a younger version of him in the potential of a Zach Lee or Aaron Sanchez that is cost-controlled. Sorry, I just do. If he was younger and doing this, say 26-27 and not as close to FA, then definitely keep him. He’s not though.

                    • Kyle

                      Funny, I’m feeling the opposite.

                      If you aren’t going to make a serious attempt at competing in 2014, and it doesn’t appear that they will, just trade him now. If they don’t, it feels to me like it’s just their own ego-stroking about how they demand top-value for players even though it may ruin his value, just like it did with Garza.

                    • Rebuilding

                      Yep. Pitchers have an expiration date that can always come with the next pitch. With Garza we got extremely fortunate that we prob got close to the deal we would have gotten had he not gotten injured. One of Shark’s selling points is that he seemingly has never had a hint of arm trouble. One twinge and his value plummets

                    • Kyle

                      I wouldn’t say we got close to comparable value. CJ Edwards would have been a second- or third-piece in the types of deals we were looking at for Garza pre-2012.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Be advised, I was strongly in favor of trading Garza pre-2012. For reasons discussed elsewhere in the convo, I don’t see this as exactly the same. (Rebuild in different place, Shark not coming off dominant season, etc.)

                    • Rebuilding

                      C’mon now Kyle. Yes, if we were looking at Edwards then. But everyone knew Edwards was a Top 50 talent when we got him. Olt, while overrated to be sure was Top 50 and the 2 Top 10 org prospects? Where were we getting better value before? And I agreed with you then when you advocated moving him

                    • Rebuilding

                      Brett, you crack me up. You’ve learned the key to being a good journalist – straddle the fence and leave yourself an out. How’s the Bear site coming along – we could have a hell of a flame war after the game today. And are you a Browns or Bengal fan?

                    • Kyle

                      “Be advised, I was strongly in favor of trading Garza pre-2012. For reasons discussed elsewhere in the convo, I don’t see this as exactly the same. (Rebuild in different place, Shark not coming off dominant season, etc.)”

                      I’m going to drop a lawyer term on you (I think, anyway, it’s been a loooong time since I got an A in Communications Law, which is the extent of my formal training): Distinction without difference.

                      “C’mon now Kyle. Yes, if we were looking at Edwards then. But everyone knew Edwards was a Top 50 talent when we got him. Olt, while overrated to be sure was Top 50 and the 2 Top 10 org prospects? Where were we getting better value before? And I agreed with you then when you advocated moving him”

                      At the time of the trade, Edwards wasn’t a top-50 talent (and I’m still not sure he is. Like I said further up, a few rankings aren’t consensus rankings), and Olt wasn’t a top-200 talent.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Appreciate it, but what I pointed to is a difference, not a distinction, so the expression doesn’t apply. (You are free to disagree with the differences to which I point, obviously.)

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Wait. Are you trying to have it both ways now?

                  • YourResidentJag

                    Yeah I saw that too.

                  • caryatid62

                    No–I’ve been against this type of rebuild for a long time now. They should have been spending more starting in 2011. I think the idea that it’s acceptable for them to have such a low payroll is the sign of an ownership group that has done very little to inspire confidence in the fan base. But I also understand that we’re working within the reality of the situation right now, and although I think it’s bad (and has been bad), punting seasons is reality.

                    I understand the argument for punting this season (it’s not illogical, even though I disagree), but if they’re going to punt 2014, given where the franchise is right now, punting in 2015 is very likely going to be required as well.

                    • Kyle

                      Agreed.

                      It would be awesome if they suddenly turned around and said “LOL, we apologize for treating the franchise as a petrie dish for our fevered fantasies about how to build an expansion team. We’ll fix that now” and started aiming to win immediately. In such a scenario, of course we’d be keeping Samardzija.

                      But they don’t seem likely to do that, and keeping him seems to me to be directly opposed to the plan they seem to be going with.

          • caryatid62

            “No one said anything about likely. It’s November 2013. You don’t think it’s a touch premature to throw out 2015 already?”

            No, I really don’t. There have been numerous quotes indicating the team is already looking at 2016. Renovations have been tabled for the near future, and aren’t likely to begin until late 2014 at the earliest, with revenue coming in after that (likely too late for the 2015 offseason). The Cubs prospect with the least likelihood of disappointing (Bryant) is optimistically scheduled for 2015, while 2 out of the other four (Soler, Almora) aren’t likely until 2016. The farm is still low on quality pitching prospects, which is a position that has a high attrition rate anyway. The prospects that are in the system currently are, even if they progress well, are 2 years away (with a learning curve to come at the major league level after getting there).

            These are all contingencies that account for no setbacks, which, as we’ve seen so far, are pretty commonplace with the Cubs.

            The overwhelming accumulation of evidence indicates that 2016 is the first time this team *might* be competitive. You can write “hey, it’s baseball, anything can happen,” which is true. But if that’s the only argument (and it really seems to be that and a whole lot of variables outperforming their expectations), then that’s how it really should be couched in analysis:

            2015 would be nice, but we have little evidence that it’s even possible.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I’m still stuck at: none of that absolutely requires trading Samardzija right now.

              • caryatid62

                It absolutely does, unless you’re willing to risk the likelihood of him losing value due to injury, underperformance, or both. You’re also wasting his most valuable years on a team that’s going to be terrible with little likelihood of improvement (given that they’ve essentially committed to a small-market strategy, at least in the short term).

                The hesitance to trade Samardzjia, in my opinion, stems a lot more from an allegiance to “our guys,” coupled with an unwillingness to really commit to the reality of the Cubs’ current plan, than a commitment to some kind of prudent long-term strategy.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                  How are they wasting his most valuable years if they trade him at the deadline in 2014? At most they risk wasting a few months, not years.

                  Samardzija’s peripherals suggest to some quite intelligent analysts he could be on the edge of a Scherzer-style breakout year next season. If we take that as the measuring stick, would anyone argue that Scherzer would have brought less in a trade in July of 2013 than he would have in November 2012?

                  Whether or not that is a risk worth taking is a separate debate, but if that is the projection on Samardzija then hanging onto him until he does break out could pay some extremely significant dividends.

                  That said, if the Cubs get the deal they are looking for they should deal Samardzija then… be that tomorrow morning or on May 27th.

                  I just don’t see this as being a case where the front office is deliberately choosing to risk significant harm to organization as a result of a brief fit of irrationality.

                  • YourResidentJag

                    So, what impact FAs do we sign around him then in 2014, Luke, to get higher WAR value than players on our current roster? Cano? Choo? Ellsbury? Two out of three? All three?

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                      I’m not sure I understand the question.

                      I wasn’t talking about free agent signings at all in that post. I was talking purely about Samardzija.

                      I’m not sure I see how you jumped from the best time to trade Samardzija to the projected WAR based on possible free agent signings.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      If you’re going to be committed to Shark and keep him, the trade deadline emphasis means nothing in terms of a trade. If 2014 isn’t going to be a yr of competitiveness with the current roster, then you’re suggesting what? I guess I don’t get what you’re saying. Keep him but like a older version of Matt Harvey, i.e., (if you believe his peripherals are that good) and do what? Let him have a great season with no one around him to help him. The deals, I believe, are going be the same or lesser so depending on Shark’s 2014 performance.

                      The industry is very active with teams trading for value this offseason because GMs realize that the FA market is weak. (Surprised that this a new revelation for them, but oh well.) Did you think Dombrowski could get out of that Fielder contract? Most didn’t. But that’s how this offseason looks. And the Cubs would be silly not to read this market and teams desires to make trades incorrectly.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    Yeah. That stuff, too.

                  • caryatid62

                    They are clearly risking injury by doing this, as evidence by what occurred with Garza. And even though Edwards broke out after the trade, the quality of players they got for Garza at the time he was dealt was significantly less than what was being discussed in the year(s) prior.

                    There are also some quite intelligent analysts who will argue that these peripherals are just as likely to result in no performance increase, as they have remained peripherals throughout the previous two years without manifesting themselves in quantifiable on-the-field success. The resultant argument can be that, as time passes and Samardzjia is unable to turn those peripherals into performance, his value will decrease. To assume the likelihood of a breakout (as you seem to by declaring it “measuring stick”) is overly optimistic, in my opinion.

                    The final caveat is obvious–we all want the best deal. However, the debate is really about when that best deal is most likely to occur.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                      Edwards had already broken out well before that trade took place. Cub fans just hadn’t noticed since he wasn’t in the Cubs farm system.

                    • caryatid62

                      I’d disagree with the phrase “well before”. Furthermore, Edwards is a prospect that has significant question marks even now. He’s far from a sure-thing, and also much further away as a prospect (increasing the risk) than one they could have gotten in 2011/2012.

                • YourResidentJag

                  I would second this. There seems to be this unbridled alliegance to our guys. It’s was ok to trade Garza because it was a move that most questioned that Hendry made, but don’t dare trade Shark because Theo developed him into a starter. Seems strange to me that ppl will say the plan is going to take 4-5 years from 2012, but that our roster then shouldn’t be filled with a litany of cost controlled younger players. Especially true when I see people say that there is little value in signing FAs. Not that I can’t be made to agree with that point, mind you.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    For me it isn’t that – if there’s any irrational allegiance here for me, it’s because I think starters like Samardzija are growing increasingly harder to find. Even if just for two years.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Again, I’ll ask the question to you that I asked Luke…what FAs do you want? If this guy is do for a Scherzer type breakout season, I sure wouldn’t want it for not this year. You want Cano, then? Choo? Ellsbury? Two out of three?

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      I get your point – but I’m not saying hold onto Shark because I want the Cubs to go for it now. So the answer is I don’t see great investments in top tier free agency this year outside of Tanaka.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      *due

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  With Samardzija, the risk of injury/underperformance doesn’t feel the same as it did with Garza after 2011, since he was coming off of a ridiculous breakout year. Samardzija’s peripherals and stuff suggest a breakout he hasn’t yet had.

                  • Mike F

                    I agree completely. Why do you see Tanaka as so much better age? I assume Tanaka will get a minimum 125 M total commitment and maybe significantly higher. When I factor that money in, I remain unsure that Tanaka makes sense at all for the Cubs.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Who knows though? Do we know if Tanaka will post as an IFA this offseason?

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                      All signs indicate he will. There is a slim chance things will fall so that it doesn’t happen, but I’d have a hard time sketching a realistic scenario that results in that. Too many parties have too much to gain by getting a new agreement with the Japanese league completed for it to languish to that degree.

                  • caryatid62

                    His peripherals suggested the same prior to 2013 as well. It’s certainly possible that he’s a pitcher who will continue to do well in the peripherals and never achieve the on-the-field success his peripherals suggest. I don’t know if he will or he won’t, but I see more value (both financial and on the field) in trading him now (assuming the plan is what it is).

          • Kyle

            It’s possible to hold both positions simultaneously, but I think you are fooling yourself.

            The Plan as it appears to be taking shape doesn’t 100% preclude the Cubs from competing in the next two years, but it comes as close as you can short of an Astros-style torching of the roster. And given the strength of the division, we might even be longer shots than the Astros.

            Even though there is the slimmest possibility that we might get some amazing player development and compete regardless, the practical assumption has to be that if we’re not adding significant amounts of MLB talent in the next few months, then we should be looking to trade assets for the next season or two.

  • YourResidentJag

    Matt Clapp ‏@TheBlogfines 1m
    #Cubs (Re: Samardzija) RT @TomLoxas: Most feel he won’t last through meetings.

    • Rebuilding

      All the smoke signals seem to suggest that we are actively shopping Shark. Not just passively listening to offers. Way too many rumors popping up to suggest the Cubs are in wait and see mode. I think it’s best, and adding the Blue Jays can only drive up the price. I certainly hope that if we move him we take the money for his possible extension and put it towards Tanaka

  • Pingback: Saturday Night Shark Attack | World Series Dreaming

  • praying the cubs get ready to win

    How about Sanchez, Drabek and Hutchinson and top Catcher in minor league and one of the OF on the Toronto Roster for Shark?

  • Ballgame

    I, for the most part, agree with the consensus here…No need to trade for 4 “near top” prospects. You go after the top prospects in this situation. Hearing Theo speak about Samardzija’s inability to get out of a jam because he can’t mentally fight through it the same week he spoke of Sveum’s future this past season, speaks volumes to me. Taillon or Bradley, otherwise you keep him til the deadline this year. I feel either the Pirates or D’backs will make this happen. Theo, you’re on the clock…

  • Die hard

    Then make it a ball buster blockbuster deal by including Jackdon Castro Barney Valbuena and Sweeney with Shark for 5 prospects which gives Toronto the WS and the Cub fans more fodder for future angst

    • Stinky Pete

      “When someone on the street hands me a flyer, it’s like they’re saying, ‘Here. YOU throw this away.”

      - Mitch Hedberg

  • http://Permalink papad1945

    You heard it here first. Mueller will be the next Cub manager in 2016.

    • Die hard

      No habla espanol

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