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jeff samardzija gatorade showerBecause I still believe the Cubs are fully engaged in the possibility of extending, or simply holding, Jeff Samardzija, this isn’t an Obsessive Trade Watch. But there’s a lot to discuss when it comes to Jeff Samardzija and the rumor mill …

  • Bruce Levine, who sparked the latest round of rumor mania with his Saturday night report that the Blue Jays were preparing a package of young players to offer for Samardzija, adds that the Cubs have discussed Samardzija with the Diamondbacks. That isn’t new, as we’ve heard that for weeks (and before that, we heard it at the Trade Deadline), but it’s further confirmation of their involvement. Levine says the cost in a Samardzija deal will be “high (3 – 4 top youngsters).” To me, a team-friendly extension remains the best outcome, but getting three to four top prospects could also be the right move, depending on the state of the extension discussions. Either way, placing an extremely steep price on Samardzija – given the starting market and the years of control – is the right move.
  • Speaking of the Blue Jays, GM Alex Anthopoulos spoke with Jim Bowden this weekend, and he wouldn’t comment specifically on the Samardzija rumor, but said his team is exploring deals for a starting pitcher. No offers have been made yet, but it definitely sounded like he wasn’t eager to deny any involvement here. My read on the way he discussed the issue? They have definitely had conversations with the Cubs on a possible Samardzija deal, and may even have discussed names. He was very quick to emphasize that the Blue Jays haven’t made any offers right now. That’s a far line to draw, and suggests that they have done everything right up to that line. And, let’s be honest, it’s easy to “not make an offer” while still finding out what the other team would accept. “If we put Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman both on the table, is that something that would move things along? Just asking, not making an offer here …. “
  • Sahadev Sharma says that he believes the Cubs would like a resolution one way or the other on Samardzija by the Winter Meetings. If a resolution doesn’t come by then, it could suggest that the Cubs have found the interest in Samardzija to be sufficiently strong that they might be able to pin teams against each other in a bidding war.
  • There have been conversations in various corners of the Cublogoverse over the past few weeks about the Orioles having interest in Samardzija (which makes practical sense, given their payroll ceiling and desire to upgrade the rotation), and Jim Bowden suggests a deal centering around Samardzija and catcher Matt Wieters, who is believed to be on the block thanks to an escalating arbitration salary and an inability to come to terms on an extension.
  • I’ve seen a number of folks out there very excited by the possibility of a Jeff Samardzija/Welington Castillo for Matt Wieters/Kevin Gausman swap (whether that’s a legit rumor or not, it’s floating out there in the interwebs), and I’ve got to say, I just don’t get it. Wieters comes with the same financial and age concerns as Samardzija (except Wieters looks like he’ll make even more money), so there’s very little in the way of overall improvement there. Castillo remains cost-controlled for some time (and broke out defensively last year), and Gausman is a cost-controlled arm that you hope becomes Samardzija. I see the merit in picking up a Gausman, I really do. But Wieters? He’s fantastic behind the plate, but he’s declined for three straight years. And his platoon splits, even as a switch hitter, are downright terrifying. If you’re going to move Samardzija – and if you have to include Castillo in the deal to do it – you better be picking up a crap-ton of high impact, young pitching talent. This theoretical proposal might have equal value on each side, but I’m not sure it makes sense for the Cubs, unless the plan was to spin Wieters off.
  • ColoCubFan

    Just remember, rarely do the deals heard about ahead of time come to fruition.

    It’s the ones you don’t hear about that happen.

  • oswego chris

    the only sense in the urgency surrounding Samardzija must be that the Cubs have VERY specific things they want to get accomplished starting at the winter meetings…it makes no sense to put a timetable on extension or trade…unless, having or not having Samardzija greatly impacts the next moves…I realize that all moves effect future moves, but I am wondering if it is knowing what they will have to budget for Tanaka

  • jh03

    The Wieters thing has never made sense to me.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Only way to do the Oriole deal is to take Saltalamacchia off the C market and then flip Weiters to one of those desperate for catching teams like the White Sox, Rangers, Red Sox, or Twins.

    • Scotti

      Saltalamacchia doesn’t even look good to his own mother.

  • FullCountTommy

    I’m with you Brett, I don’t get the love that Samardzija and Castillo for Wieters and Gasuman is getting. While Wieters provides some pop from the left side, he’s going to be looking for a Brian McCann or probably higher type deal when he hits free agency in 2 years (Boras client). I frankly don’t understand Cubs fans willingness to dump Castillo in general. By many metrics, he was the best defensive catcher in baseball last year and his second half numbers were excellent (.288/.388/.475)

    • jay

      Plus Wellington is super cheap, and showing all kinds of improvement. I don’t get the rush to upgrade at catcher. It’s one of our few positions that aren’t screaming for an improvement.

    • Headscratchin

      Perhaps it’s Boras(s) who is spreading the love around and fanning the rumor??

  • ssckelley

    I hope that Orioles deal does not happen, I would rather see the Cubs ride out the last 2 years with Samardzija’s.

  • oswego chris

    if you get a fairly team friendly team deal from Samardzija, lock up Wood…sign Tanaka( I am dreaming big) and hope on Arrieta…you have 4 good to great starters all 29 and under

    • MightyBear

      I believe two of the four will happen. I’m hoping Shark seeing his name shopped around comes around to a long term deal. Just from reading his responses and those of his agent (through reporters so who knows how accurate it is), he seems to want to cash in on free agency. I do think the FO has the old tricky situation where when negotiating with Shark and his agent, they are saying he’s a 3 or 4 starter and should be paid like one. But when trading him to other teams, he’s a definite 3 or 2 with ace potential. That’s why having a FO that talks out of both sides of its mouth is ideal.

  • cubmig

    I know trade talk goes with a ballplayer’s professional territory, but I still can’t help but wonder what Samardzija must be thinking about all this?

    • Professor Snarks

      I would think he’d be thrilled. If a team does give up 3/4 prospects for him, that team may over pay him to sign with them. If no team wants to pay for him, that puts the Cubs in a corner. They 1) trade him for lesser value, 2) let him go to free agency with no (basically) compensation, or 3) resign him at his terms. All wins for Jeff.

      Or, to be more concise, supply and demand.
      The more people that want his services, the more he makes.

  • Jeff

    Here’s the issue I have with trading Samardzija this off season. I don’t believe you will get the best return for him if you trade him in December, your best bet at the greatest return is to hold onto him, hope he pitches well this year and then trade him in July.

    If we deal him this winter, I feel it is a foolish move by an increasingly more questionable front office that is really beginning to worry me about their plan and vision for this team.

    I would have to be blown away by a team giving up premium pitching prospects and I just don’t see this happening. If teams like Arizona have premium pitching prospects, why would they trade him for a Samardzija when they can get as much return by keeping their own prospect.

    The biggest failure of Jed and Theo has been the lack of top tier pitching prospects, sure we have added some medium tier guys with some trades this summer, but if one more guy even mentions Edwards I’ll puke. He’s okay and sure we hope he continues to develop, but I’m not hanging my hat on him alone or anyone else we have in the system.

    We are void of any TOR pitcher in our system, this is a major criticism of this FO.

    • FullCountTommy

      And which TOR pitcher would you have had the Cubs acquire? They don’t exactly grow on trees

      • Jeff

        Your right, you have to draft them, just like Verlander, Scherzer, Kershaw, Grenkie, Price and any other TOR was drafted, yet if this FO continues down the path of, well, “hitters are a better bet, we will continue to draft them over pitchers in the first round.” you will never have any.

        It’s a chicken or egg argument, you have to gamble at some point and draft one, we are not doing a very good job of acquiring one in a trade and we are not going to spend money in free agency to buy one so at some point, we will have to start drafting them.

        Other teams are not trading their pitching..period!!!!!!!!

        • FullCountTommy

          Yes but Greinke and Scherzer in that list alone were both traded for. It is proven over many years that hitters are a much safer bet at the top of drafts. Other top pitching prospects that have been traded in the past couple years include Zach Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Tyler Skaggs, Alex Meyer, Jake Odorizzi, Allen Webster and Trevor Bauer. While not all of those guys are necessarily gonna be TOR starters, all of them were top 50 prospects at some point in the 2013 season

          • Jeff

            You mention a bunch of guys, I give you credit for that, but none of those guys were traded to the Cubs.

            When is the last time the Cubs traded for a TOR pitcher? Garza?? but he was an established veteran and wasn’t cheap.

            Unfortunately, given the horrible rundown state of this ball club, we have nothing left on this roster to trade for one, save our few starting pitchers.

            The first thing teams will ask for when we come asking for their top tier pitching is one of our big four. Which one are you ready to give away??

            Time to start drafting pitchers!!!!

            • FullCountTommy

              “Other teams are not trading their pitching..period!!!!!!!!”

              You said yourself that teams don’t trade their pitching. I just gave you 7 top 50 pitching prospects that have been traded in the past 2 or 3 years alone.

              Also you say that the Cubs have zero top pitching prospects. CJ Edwards will be a top 50 prospect on most lists, and Pierce Johnson will be right on the edge of cracking some top 100s. Add some quality depth in Dillon Maples, Paul Blackburn, Kyle Hendricks, and Arodys Vizcaino and you have a group of quality guys.

              You draft the best available players, regardless of need.

              • Jeff

                If you haven’t noticed, teams are less likely to trade prospects since this new CBA has come in. it seems like we are seeing a whole lot more of a established Major league player for fringe Major league player who hasn’t established himself yet.

                Let’s use Mike Olt for an example, one of the hottest third base prospects in 2012, Texas didn’t trade him until this year because his stock had plummeted due to injury and performance.

                Toronto didn’t trade D’Arnaud until after he had a significant knee injury.

                My point is that teams are not giving up their premium talent, they only give away what doesn’t work for them anymore.

                I don’t want someone else’s second best choice, I want the first best choice if I’m trading one of my best players.

                Your best bet at finding that player is by drafting him, trading for him later is much harder now than it was 3 years ago.

                • Kyle

                  A wise team would see that teams are hoarding prospects and take advantage of a chance to zag while the market is zigging and trade their own prospects that should be overvalued.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    I know everyone says teams are hoarding prospects, but I look at the James Shields deal or that Boston/LA deal that somehow still netted Boston nice prospects or the Marlins/Blue Jays trade or the RA Dickey trade, or, hell, the Garza deal, and I’m really suspicious of that narrative.

                    • FullCountTommy

                      Even Jake Peavy got the White Sox Avisail Garcia

                  • jt

                    this^^^^

                • FullCountTommy

                  I agree the best way to find players is by drafting them. You know, guys like Javier Baez, Albert Almora, and Kris Bryant, who are all consensus top 30 prospects in all of baseball.

                  High end prospects are still trarded. There were 2 top 25 guys traded last off-season in Wil Myers and Noah Syndergaard, not to mention other quality prospects in Jake Odorizzi, Jake Marisnick, and Justin Nicolino.

                  While the Cubs pitching prospects aren’t the best in baseball, they are definitely average. Their hitting prospects however are #1 in baseball and talent is talent.

            • On The Farm

              “When is the last time the Cubs traded for a TOR pitcher? Garza?? but he was an established veteran and wasn’t cheap.”

              Yeah, they got an established arm with 3 years of control. What exactly are your standards? Do you want the Cubs to acquire a TOR arm or not? Three years of control is a pretty good deal.

              “Time to start drafting pitchers!!!!”

              You haven’t been paying attention. 2012: 8 of the first 10 players drafted were pitchers. 2013: 7 of the first 10 players drafted were pitchers and 11 out of the first 15 players selected.

              So out of the FO’s two drafts, in the first ten picks it has been 15 out of the 20 players taken as pitchers or 75% pitchers. They are drafting pitchers!!!!!

        • AdamAE24

          You realize it is goofy in baseball to draft at the top of the draft based on a present need and not take the best player available right?

          Even so, a majority of the Cubs Top 10 round picks under the new management (2 drafts) have been pitchers.

        • On The Farm

          Verlander, Kershaw, and Price were all pretty obvious picks if I recall correctly. All were top ten picks, and scouts loved Kershaw since he was a big lefty Texan. Many were surprised he fell to #7. As for Grenkie, I am not sure you want to use him as an example considering it took him years to get his head straight and figure it out. Scherzer was a gamble the panned out. He was profiled as either an ace or closer.

          So far the Cubs selected Almora and Bryant with their top two picks. Both are considered top 30. One service has Almora a borderline top ten (Parks at BP) and some are considering Bryant a top ten prospect. These are top ten in all of baseball. You are criticizing the FO because it appears that their two first round picks appear to be homerun picks so far? Wow, I guess I just don’t understand how you can be mad that the two guys they did pick at the top are doing so well…

      • Cubs_Questions

        Well for one, a guy like Marcus Stroman. He is a top 5 prospect in the TOR system, and at age 22 in AA this past year, he posted a 10.4 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, with a 3.21 FIP with a .231 BAA in 111.2 innings over 20 starts.

        His stock may also be down somewhat since he tested positive for a banned substance in 2012 and was suspended 50 games.

    • On The Farm

      “Here’s the issue I have with trading Samardzija this off season. I don’t believe you will get the best return for him if you trade him in December, your best bet at the greatest return is to hold onto him, hope he pitches well this year and then trade him in July.”

      Why is that, in July you could have half of the teams that you have in December in contention. In December there are quite a few teams that think they have a playoff roster, by June that number decreases, by July even more. Dealing a guy in December isn’t necessarily the worst time to make a trade, but I don’t think anyone disagrees with you (including the FO) they need to be blown away with arms to trade him.

      “If we deal him this winter, I feel it is a foolish move by an increasingly more questionable front office that is really beginning to worry me about their plan and vision for this team.”

      The Cubs have him under control for two more season. 2014 appears to be a pretty lackluster year, do you think 2015 is going to be leaps-and-bound better? Trading him in December only announces that 2014 is done and depending on the return, 2015 probably isn’t the year either. But, how many teams actually go from the very bottom to the top in one year?

      “We are void of any TOR pitcher in our system, this is a major criticism of this FO.”

      It’s not that there are zero TOR arms, its that the Cubs lack them in the upper levels. By all accounts with Maples FB and Curve he could be a very good TOR guy. Blackburn profiles as a 2/3, and Underwood was touted as a TOR arm as well. Again its not the fact they haven’t been trying to acquire them, but grooming Ace pitchers from the HS ranks takes time.

      • Jeff

        I think your extremely over-estimating on where you think the quality of our pitching stands, if we go by MLB top prospects alone, we have none of our pitchers on the top ten pitchers, left handed or right handed.

        We don’t even have a pitcher in the top 100!!!!

        Guys like Blackburn, Maples and Underwood are so young, they might never make it to the show ever, your really grasping at straws when you try evaluating our pitching.

        There is no way our pitching compares to our top four guys in terms or rankings and projections for future success.

        • Scotti

          Edwards slots in nicely with our top prospects. If he had 20-30 pounds on him he would be in contention for our top prospect.

        • On The Farm

          “We don’t even have a pitcher in the top 100!!!!”

          Well considering Sickels put out his midseason rankings and had Edwards in the top 75 I guess you are right we don’t have any top 100 pitching prospects!!!!!!

          See link : http://www.minorleagueball.com/2013/7/18/4534646/minor-league-ball-top-75-prospects-mid-season-update

          “Guys like Blackburn, Maples and Underwood are so young, they might never make it to the show ever, your really grasping at straws when you try evaluating our pitching.”

          You said the system lacks TOR arms, I was just pointing out that they do exist, they are just at lower levels. Hardly grasping for straws when I admitted they are far away from contributing.

        • Kyle

          Edwards is a consensus top-100 pitching prospect.

          Our pitching is still a problem long-term, but it’s better than it was a year or two ago. It’s gone from “sucking black hole of despair and doom” to merely “bad.”

          • Jeff

            Thank you Kyle, I’m glad you see it for what it is. It is bad and I don’t see any quick fixes given the empty cupboard that is our major league roster and the reality of giving up our prospects to get pitching.

            We might be able to trade a few guys, Scheirholtz, Samardzija, etc but I don’t think we will get the type of return we all are hoping for from other teams.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Dollars to donuts says the Cubs’ overall pitching prospect situation is average.

            • Kyle

              I’ll take that bet. We’re not at average yet.

              Heck, just by average, most teams would have slightly more than one top-100 pitching prospect.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                And that’s precisely what the Cubs have in Edwards and Johnson, who will be a fringy top-100 guy.

                Any way to actually figure this out, beyond the top 100 (which is pretty limited for this kind of thing). I have a hard time believing 20 teams have a better set of pitching prospects than Edwards, Johnson, Blackburn, Zastryzny, Skulina, Paniagua, Hendricks, Black, Underwood, Vizcaino, Ramirez, etc. (and I’m just shooting from the hip without actually looking). Is that a top 10 set? No way. But right there in the 14 to 16 range? I bet it is.

                • Kyle

                  Prospect creep! I call prospect creep!

                  Pierce Johnson is not a consensus top-100 prospect. If we’re expanding the definition to include “top-100 types”, then most teams will have three or four.

                  I’d be pretty willing to bet that at least 16 teams have a better collection than that. That’s a really meh, bottom-heavy group.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    “Pierce Johnson is not a consensus top-100 prospect.”

                    Easy there, Buster Brown. Read what you wrote and read what I wrote.

                    You correctly said that the average team should have about 1.5 pitching prospects in the top 100. I’m saying that’s approximately what the Cubs have.

                    • Kyle

                      I’m reading it again.

                      I said the Cubs had one top-100 prospect.

                      You disagreed and listed two pitchers.

                      I’m calling prospect creep, because you are misevaluating if you think Johnson is a top-100 prospect.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      I guess you need to read it again again.

                      “Slightly more than one.” Since players are humans and not capable of being sliced in half, the best approximation of a partial player on top 100 lists is a guy who will appear on some, but not all of them. Like Johnson will.

                    • Kyle

                      I’m going to disagree with that interpretation as being reasonable.

                      “slightly more” just meant that roughly 50 top-100 prospects are pitchers, and there are 30 teams, so merely having CJ Edwards does not put us on track to be top-100.

                      We have a collection of interesting, low-minors, not elite arms. But so does literally every other team in baseball.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      This is such a tangential discussion, but you’re blowing my mind with your resistance, so I can’t let it go.

                      By your description of “average” pitching, using only consensus top 100 lists, how many teams are going to have “average” pitching? Think about what you’re saying. How many of the 50 pitching prospects in a given top 100 are “consensus” top 100s? 30 of em? So the number of teams that have an “average” set of pitching prospects, by consensus top 100 lists, is what … 10 teams?

                      Best advice? Concede that using “consensus top 100″ prospects to determine whether a system is “average” or not is probably not a great idea. And then the rest, we can just agree to disagree.

                    • Kyle

                      If we’re counting guys that appear on some top-100 lists but aren’t consensus, then the average teams will have 3-5 such guys.

                    • FullCountTommy

                      Also Brett said “A fringy top 100 prospect” which is exactly what he is. He might crack a the top 100 on a list or two, and will probably be in the just missed the cut category for a few more.

                    • Kyle

                      The definition I’m using has, by axiom, 100 consensus top-100 prospects.

                      It’s a tangent, but you’re misreading an interesting aside for the totality of my argument. My argument is that the Cubs don’t have an average group of pitching prospects. The top-100 thing was just an interesting aside and an attempt to pre-empt “but we have CJ Edwards!”

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      “The definition I’m using has, by axiom, 100 consensus top-100 prospects.”

                      Well there’s your problem. Unless every top 100 list has the same 100 players on it (ha), your math is messed up from the start.

                      And I know what your intention was – I just didn’t think it worked. And, since I disagreed with the overall point, I was going to give this one some mileage.

                    • http://obstructedview.net Myles

                      “If we’re counting guys that appear on some top-100 lists but aren’t consensus, then the average teams will have 3-5 such guys.”

                      I’m going to call horsepoop on this. This is very easy to say and very difficult to prove.

                    • Kyle

                      “Well there’s your problem. Unless every top 100 list has the same 100 players on it (ha), your math is messed up from the start.”

                      Consensus doesn’t mean unanimous.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      You’re going to get consensus, as something meaningfully distinct from unanimous, out of three lists?

                    • Andrew

                      An average system for pitching would have one pitcher in the 1-60 prospect range (possibly less because position prospects might be more likely to be ranked higher) then one more pitcher in the 61-120 range. Edwards probably slots in somewhere between 1 and 60. Johnson (though I havent seen any lists with him on it yet) I think would be ranked somewhere in the 90-120 range according to most evaluators. I think most importantly is that the cubs have a ton of arms with a little potential. Because TINSTAAPP, I think it’s better that the cubs have a system with a lot of pitchers drafted rounds 2-20 than to have a system with a few first round pitchers without as much depth.

                    • Kyle

                      There’s a heck of a lot more than 3 offseason lists.

                • Isaac

                  Definitely true. It has quietly become much deeper than people care to admit.

                  I’d like to stay far far away from the Toronto system. Not wild about it at all, at least at the top.

                  • Kyle

                    With all prospect groupings, even pitchers, depth is less desirable than peak.

                    • Isaac

                      I don’t agree with much you say, but this I definitely agree with.

                    • Andrew

                      I agree with this, with a slight caveat. In pitching, the top talents fluctuate a lot more. Having a deep pitching prospect crop (full of 2nd-10th rounders) means more chances for a few of those guys to rise above and become “top” guys. I think this is what the cubs are going for with regard to pitching.

              • http://obstructedview.net Myles

                Lucky for the Cubs, they might have 2 (Edwards and Johnson)!

                Looking at Top-100 lists for guidance on whether a team’s whole pitching prospect situation is good or not is pretty poor. The Cubs have several decent pitching prospects (Edwards, Johnson, Blackburn, Zastryzny) and quite a few other prospects that have a chance to make an impression at the major league level (Hendricks, Black, Masek, Godley, Paniagua, Vizcaino, Maples, Underwood, Pineyro maybe). I wouldn’t say they have a good crop of prospects, but I wouldn’t say it’s bad either.

                If you really wanted to be inelegant with top lists, the Cubs have pitchers as 30% of the the 3rd or so best farm system in baseball. If you gave the best team 30 points, the next best 29 points, and so on, the Cubs would have 28 points, and 8.4 of them would belong to our pitchers. That means that they are at worst better than 8 teams, and likely better than half of the teams (as it’s unlikely that any of the teams 15-30 have over 50% pitchers in their top 10s). That’s a crazy terrible, crazy inelegant way of assessing pitching depth…but so is just pointing to the global Top 100 list and saying we’re bad.

                • MightyBear

                  Scary thing is almost all of those guys you mentioned were added by this FO.

                  • Kyle

                    That’s not scary, it’s working by design. The organizational pitching was super-terri-horribad when they took over. They’ve done a lot of good work improving it to merely ‘bad’.

                • http://obstructedview.net Myles

                  It appears that I’ve missed the boat on this particular argument.

                • Kyle

                  I think you are vastly overestimating the value of many of those Cubs pitching prospects and underestimating how many teams have piles of guys just like them.

                  • Andrew

                    I think you might be right about this but I doubt many other teams have drafted as many pitchers in the first 10 rounds as the cubs have recently. I could be wrong and don’t feel like looking it up, but I would guess that the cubs have a bigger pile of guys that are “interesting” albeit not very exciting prospects than a lot of other teams.

            • http://thenewenthusiast.com dw8

              Meh, almost an even bet these days! ;)

            • Jeff

              I’ll have to agree with Kyle here, I love you Brett, you do an awesome job with this site, but our pitching is extremely deficient.

              We have added depth, but with the exception of maybe Edwards, none of it is TOR quality. Too many of these guys have serious question marks about where they might project out as.

              You give me 3 pitchers in our organization that are in the top 100, hell, put them in the top 50 up with Bryant, Baez and Almora and then yes, maybe I will be more optimistic.

              It’s clear that this ownership is not going to spend money on this team, if we don’t start drafting them, we are not going to get them in the system. Other teams aren’t giving them away in trades.

              I think the reason you are hearing 2015, 2016 from the FO is because they are seeing the changing landscape in concerns to pitching and are now doing a “oh crap” we are farther away than what we had planned on, better start doing damage control, this is going to get much uglier than we had hoped for….

              Just a very depressing scenario.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                You act like I’m trying to argue the Cubs have a great set of pitching prospects. I’m not. I don’t need to. I need only argue that they aren’t “bad” in that area. And it’s a very easy bar to clear.

                • MightyBear

                  I agree with Brett and disagree with Kyle. The pitching has gone from a black hole in the minors to average to above average with several possible top pitchers that could come through and make a huge difference at the ML level.

              • FullCountTommy

                Also, in the very volatile world of pitching prospects, wouldn’t depth be desirable??

                The more solid pitching prospects you have, the better chance you have that one sticks

                • Kyle

                  The gap between the importance of peak prospects and depth is less in pitching prospects than it is for hitters, but it’s still there.

                  You need great pitchers to be a great team, and great pitchers almost always come from great pitching prospects.

                  • jh03

                    TINSTAAPP

                    • Kyle

                      TINSTAAP is mostly true, but elite pitchers almost always come from elite prospects, even moreso than hitters.

                    • jh03

                      I was being a douche on purpose, like, sarcastically lol. I knew what you meant.

                  • FullCountTommy

                    So the 3-4-5 and starters and the majority of the bullpen on every team are great pitching prospects?? There are 1, maybe 2, and at most 3 high end pitchers on most teams and the other 10 pitchers come from that pool of depth. The fact is these players are essential in building a complete pitching staff and there are 5-10 great pitching prospects in all of baseball

                    • Kyle

                      That is almost literally the opposite of what I said.

                    • FullCountTommy

                      “You need great pitchers to be a great team, and great pitchers almost always come from great pitching prospects.”

                      Think you were pretty clear there

                    • Kyle

                      I thought so too, but apparently not.

                      If I said “you need pitching depth to be a great team, and pitching depth almost always comes from great prospects,” then your response would have made sense.

                    • FullCountTommy

                      You are infuriating and seem to just argue with yourself, good day sir

              • ncsujuri

                Jeff, how many organizations in all of baseball has 3 pitchers that grade out on the level of Baez, Bryant, Almora, Soler? I think you are setting the bar far too high for being ‘optimistic’, and I think that is the point Brett was trying to argue. While its inarguably true that we don’t have a Dylan Bundy, Wong, or Appel in the system the fact that we have a number of guys a level or two down from there puts our system on par with most clubs. Gotta have lots of pitchers available for one or two of them to develop into something meaningful on the MLB level. Not all top of the rotation guys were necessarily drafted in the top 5 picks in the draft.

                • ncsujuri

                  Meant Wacha, but typed Wong…oops

                  Looking at Midseason Baseball America 2013 top for frame of reference to my post above:

                  Baez was at #10, Almora #16, Soler #18

                  There were 2 Mariners (#7 & #38), 2 Cards (#12 & #24), 2 Royals (#26 & #28) and 2 Astros (#31 & #46).

                  The answer then to my question about your post that we would need to have 3+ pitchers grades that high and who had that many, well at mid-season that answer was ZERO. That was just this July, the answer now is probably 1-2 depending on where lists have added in Appel for the Astros, possibly Manaea for the Royals, or the 2 guys the Cards picked in the first round this past year (Gonzales/Kaminsky).

    • Scotti

      If Arizona is trying to make a push for it this year and next (as most teams are) then trading for a Samardzija makes better sense than watching a prospect develop who won’t be at Samardzija’s level (or even MLB average) for 2-3 years, if ever.

      • Jeff

        My argument is that Arizona sees Archie Bradley as being better than Samardzija in less than two years so you will never see him, so they might offer someone like Holmberg which I feel would be a sell low approach as opposed to a sell high position.

        • CubFan Paul

          “My argument is that Arizona sees Archie Bradley as being better than Samardzija in less than two years”

          Well, if you want to be irrational…

      • Kyle

        That logic could be used to try to justify *any* prospect for *any* major-leaguer that is even the tiniest upgrade. Which is of course silly, and that should be a clue that this isn’t a good argument.

    • Kyle

      It’s silly to think that two seasons of Jeff Samardzija will net less in a trade than 1.4 seasons of Jeff Samarzdija next July.

      • Isaac

        I will continue to reiterate that James Shields and Wade Davis’ corpse netted a top-3 positional prospect in all of baseball. Samardzija is worth an extroadinary amount, whether that’s with one outstanding prospect (Bradley) or several good ones, remains to be seen.

        • Isaac

          *Extraordinary

        • Josh

          James Shields > Shark

          • Isaac

            That is a matter of opinion. He is two years older, and had an absolutely miserable age-28 season. Has he bounced back, yes…Have their been times when his stock was very very low, yes.

            Am I suggesting we’ll get a Wil Myers-esque player, no. Do I think we should get an absolute haul if we trade Shark, yes.

  • Scotti

    And spinning Wieters after trading Welington leaves the Cubs with zilch at catcher…

    • MightyBear

      Yeah, I didn’t see where Brett was going with that. To me, if they trade for Wieters, it would include an extension that is pretty favorable to the Cubs. Otherwise, what’s the point.

    • Cubs_Questions

      I think Castillo has the looks of a bright future in the bigs. Solid defensively, and the offense started to come around in 2013. I want to see him get the chance to be the Cubs’ backstop in 2014. Wieters has declined offensively in three straight seasons and is about a year older than Welington. I’ve never liked the idea of that trade.

      • Scotti

        And Wieters is declining defensively, too.

  • Hudson Jeff

    If you can find good value (not crap ton, but good value) for Samardzija then deal him. He can be 12-11 with another team paying him $15m per year. I don’t think the upside is there for him.

  • papabear

    If they are going to trade him – Cubs need a starting outfielder. I heard Gose is possible with Toronto. He would not be who I would have in mind.

  • Norm

    I think you’re hoping for more than a ‘Jeff Samardzija’ outcome for Gausman.
    In fact, many are still hoping for more than a ‘Jeff Samardzija’ outcome for Jeff Samardzija.

  • You got bats, we got Wood. Travis Wood.

    Nope, not interested in trading with BAL. Give us what we want or enjoy not having the Shark. We don’t need an aging catcher.

    • terencemann

      I don’t think it makes sense for them to trade one player they’re having a hard time extending for another player they will have a hard time extending. It seems like Wieters would make more sense for a team who is competing now because, as a Boras client, he’s probably heading to free agency unless a team makes a huge commitment.

  • papabear

    I think people right now think Samardzja is better than he really is or at least a better choice than whats out there. Meaning he brings better value than he is actually worth. Top 50 pitching prospect – around a top 100 prospect and another nice prospect. If this isn’t true the only reason for a trade would be shedding payroll.

    • Jeff

      Samardzija is what he is, a #3 pitcher. okay, we paid Jackson 13M a yr for #3 or #4 performance, hell, #3’s are getting 10 to 15 M a year now.

      The problem here is that the FO or more likely, the Owner Tommy Boy Ricketts, doesn’t want to pay up unless they get a well below market deal. So they will trade him to “save money” under the guise of “adding prospects” for the re-build…oh wait..thought it was just a build,

      I’m so confused at where the hell we are now, this FO changes their position as much as their underwear.

      • FullCountTommy

        The Cubs would gladly give Samardzija a market value deal, but the rumor is that he is asking for 100+ million, and that is not something the Cubs are going to give him

      • another JP

        Shark isn’t a #3 he’s a #1 TOR starter. Since starting last season his 5.8 cumulative WAR is 33rd in the league and 22nd among teams… xFIP of 3.42 ranks him 18th, 9.16 K rate ranks him 6th. Only other available options for better ranking TOR starters right now are Kuroda, a 39 y/o that turned down the Yanks QO and wants $15M/yr., Colon, 40 y/o and coming off his best season since 2004, and David Price. Price will be getting $15M in arbitration and clean out even more top prospects in a trade than Shark.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    You give shark an extension, you are looking at a 5 or 6 year commitment. Smart teams just don’t do that with pitchers.
    Mozeliak press conference this morning on Peralta. “We are not the morality police”.
    Maybe they can get Lance Armstrong to throw out the first pitch, and Chris Brown to sing the national anthem!

    • Scotti

      Smart teams aren’t going to have any good pitching… That doesn’t sound smart.

  • Jim

    If the Cubs made that trade with the Orioles that might make me switch my whole outlook on what the FO is doing. Right now, I think they are doing things correctly. But Wieters and his .287 OBP and similar contract issues to Shark, makes no sense to me. Plus at 6′ 5″, I don’t see Wieters sticking at Catcher, long term. The Cubs need to keep Castillo and move Shark for Pitching prospects. And if they can’t get what they want for him, keep him.

  • papabear

    I am not sure that the best time to trade Samardzja isn’t now. More than half the teams are looking for a front end starters a 3 or better. Not much on the market at this point. What there is on the market is high priced for low value. If your in a win now mode like a few teams are might be the only chance to get your pitcher.

    No team wants to tell there fans we did nothing this offseason to make the team better even if most times it is the best thing for them to do. The Cubs got Jackson last year for example just to show the fans we are willing to spend some money.

    • Jeff

      ” The Cubs got Jackson last year for example just to show the fans we are willing to spend some money.”

      Yeah, what a lousy investment!!! Doesn’t inspire my confidence in this FO.

      • mjhurdle

        Way too early to call it a “lousy investment”.
        Given the rising price of FA pitchers, there is still a good chance that Jackson’s deal is looked at as a really good move before it is all said and down.

  • Boba Fett

    I don’t get you clown!!

  • Blackhawks1963

    While I don’t trust the rumors because TheoJed hold their cards very close to the vest, there is too much smoke that suggests to me that Samardzija will definitely be traded this winter.

  • jh03

    Parks doing a chat.. Figured I’d post some Cubs related tid bits..

    Jason Parks: I think Almora is going to be a very good major league player, but I don’t see a .315 average (that’s extremely impressive) and I don’t see 20 SBs. He’s a fringe-average runner at best, and even though he has a ton of instincts and run the bases well, I don’t see 20 SBs at the highest level. 20 HR might be a stretch as well, although sources are mixed on his long term power potential. Personally, I see Almora as a .285+ bat with a good approach and 30+ doubles potential with some (10-15) HR potential all from a premium spot defensively. That’s a first-division talent.

  • jh03

    Parks on Soler:

    I think he has elite strength and the potential to hit 30 bombs at the major league level, but I do worry about his adjustment ability and overall feel for the game. I think he has the type of profile where the tools play down a bit, making him a solid-avg type rather than an all-star level player. Still a big time prospect because of the power potential, but I don’t see a star.

    • Mike F

      good point. I don’t know if any of the Cubs prospects are can’t miss. All have upside, some have greater downside than others. But all will not be major league stars or contributors. Several of the top 5 will fail. Hopefully a couple end up impact. I think Soler has the most upside, but also the most downside. Almora and Bryant have the highest floor, but remain unconvinced their ceiling is as high as people run with. Frankly if any of them turn out as good as Ellsbury, I would be very happy.

  • Winston Howell

    Wellington will eventually be the best 8th place hitter in baseball. No need to move him. I don’t understand such talk as there are many more holes to fill…like SP.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Only way I’d move Samardzija and Castillo would be to LAA for Mike Trout and then sign Kottaras and Suzuki to platoon, but that ain’t gonna happen.

  • Cub Lifer

    Some of us as Cub fans are guilty of overrating Castillo.

  • Mike F

    Based on a platoon season he is now Molina…… Mind you the though the Baltimore trade is senseless as Brett opines…….

  • waffle

    come on

    welly is good at a position without a lot of depth throughout MLB. Give him some cred

  • Diamond Don

    Shark for Gausman or Bradley even up would be a good trade for the Cubs.

    • On The Farm

      Not likely

  • Stevie B

    Crap ton…my new PG adjective for F_ _ K load.

    Thanks, Brett!

  • X The Cubs Fan

    Dylan Bundy, Eduardo Rodriguez, Josh Hart and Lex Rutledge for Jeff Samardzija

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