While everything remains a “rumor” at this point, and the possibility of extending Jeff Samardzija beyond the two years the Cubs currently control still theoretically remains, the drumbeat for a trade increases.
CSN’s Dave Kaplan, who tends to be fairly well-sourced on these things, hears that a Samardzija trade is likely this offseason. How likely? A Major League source tells him it’s a 99 percent proposition. That’s usually the mark you give something that you know is going to happen, leaving yourself the 1% chance of a cataclysmic earthquake or some equally unlikely-but-theoretically-possible interference.
To be fair, the confidence sounds more like it comes from the fact that Samardzija hold so much trade value in this market for the Cubs that they won’t be able to resist trading him, rather than it coming from having heard that a deal – specific, or otherwise – is imminent.
Kaplan’s piece and his source’s thoughts are definitely worth a read, though. The price on Samardzija, as we’ve heard before, remains extremely high. As I’ve said, given the two years of control and the desirability of keeping Samardzija, there’s no reason for the Cubs to move him right now unless they are blown away. Keep those asking prices high, and see if one of the eight reportedly interested teams blinks. (Kaplan’s source hears that the frontrunners right now are the Blue Jays, Diamondbacks and Orioles, by the way.)
I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the possibility that rumors like this – ones with so much positivity about Samardzija and about the likelihood that a trade comes together – could be well-designed by the Cubs to pressure Samardzija into once more coming to the table about an extension and thinking about accepting a reasonable deal if he wants to stay in Chicago. Even if the rumors aren’t intentionally being circulated to that end, they certainly could have that effect.