Yesterday, rumors of the Chicago Cubs’ plans to trade Jeff Samardzija reached the kind of percolation that I usually associate with an Obsessive Trade Watch. Indeed, it even got to the point where Dave Kaplan offered a source who said he was 99 percent certain that the Cubs would trade Samardzija at some point this offseason.
Knowing that these rumors tend to have cycles that resemble the arc and fall of radio waves, I cautioned:
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.
And, indeed, either the rumors had that effect, the rumors were designed to kickstart those extension discussions, or … well … there have always been simultaneous extension and trade discussions, because that’s just smart.
Whatever the explanation, Nick Cafardo last night tweeted:
The Cubs are going to keep trying to sign Jeff Samardzija long term even amid the trade rumors according to a major league source
— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) November 28, 2013
That sounds right to me, especially in tandem with rumors about the awesome offers the Cubs are getting for Samardzija, and about how awesome he is as a pitcher. This leaves all options on the table. Indeed, if you want to add another layer of detection, you could argue that the rumor supplied to Cafardo could also have originated with the Cubs, who want to make sure that any interested trade partners know that the Cubs could take him off the market with an extension at any moment. Belly up to the table with your best offers, boys!
This is probably how the story is going to go for some time, or at least until something more definitive comes out. Some sources will say a trade is going to happen (and it might). Other sources will say an extension remains the preference (and it might). And the Cubs, for their part, will probably keep working both angles until one (or both, heaven forbid) become untenable.