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jeff samardzija gatorade showerUnlike with free agency, where the bulk of signings are wrapped up by Christmas, trades tend to be spread out all across the offseason. Partly for that reason, it never seemed an absolute necessity that, if the Cubs were going to shop Jeff Samardzija, they would have to do so by the Winter Meetings (mid-December). Teams anticipate that the trade market will still be cruising along come January and early February.

Further, you could argue that it’s not as if the Cubs need to beat the free agent market with a Samardzija trade, since Samardzija will not be expensive, in terms of salary, next year (meaning he’ll fit in most budgets regardless of other free agent moves), and he’ll upgrade virtually any rotation in baseball, even after free agency plays out.

With that all in mind, I tend to see a lot of merit in Peter Gammons’ latest, in which the venerable reporter says the Cubs plan to let the Jeff Samardzija market play out before making any quick moves. Gammons indicates that the Cubs believe they can maximize Samardzija’s trade value after most free agents have signed and after Masahiro Tanaka is posted.*

*(Aside: in this way, winning the Tanaka post would be a double-positive for the Cubs.)

Slow-playing the trade market is also consistent with the Cubs giving Samardzija as much time as possible to agree to a team-friendly extension before they decide to pull the trigger on a trade. By all signals, the Cubs are currently working on two fronts with respect to Samardzija, engaging in some kind of trade discussions, but also remaining in talks with Samardzija about an extension. The first time one side of that extend/trade equation offers the Cubs significant value is probably when we’ll see them pull the trigger. In either case, there may not be a reason to move aggressively.

And, heck, I’m still on record as saying that the Cubs don’t absolutely have to trade Samardzija this offseason even if they can’t agree on an extension beyond the two years of control the Cubs have left. I simply don’t see the need to rush – at least not until/unless a team puts a knock-your-socks-off kind of offer on the table.

Finally, waiting to trade Samardzija provides the Cubs some cover for the rest of their offseason plans. If they aren’t able to land one or more of their preferred pitching targets, maybe the idea of trading Samardzija right now becomes a tiny bit less palatable. On the other hand, if the Cubs managed to grab an arm or two on deals that they felt provided surplus value, then they would know for certain that they can comfortably trade Samardzija to build for the future while simultaneously not instantly throwing the 2014 season in the crapper.

  • Cubbie

    Might as well. They’re slow playing the whole re-build, so why not the Shark trade too

  • BABIP (MichCubFan)

    So is this the Cubs saying that they are not happy with any of the current offers?

  • Blackhawks1963

    There are three “big things” to play out this winter.

    1. Where does Price get traded too? Personally, I think Tampa Bay keeps him and makes one last great assault at winning a World Series. I think they end up okay losing Price as a free agent next winter.

    2. When do the Yankees get Tanaka signed, sealed and delivered? Let’s face it, this is a feat de accompli once the posting process gets finalized. But if this drags out until January or later then that makes things dicey or the Yankees.

    3. Where does Samardzija wind up? And he will wind up somewhere. But it might take the Price and Tanaka situations to play out first.

    I think we are about to see Kuroda, Garza and Jimeniz gobbled up very quickly.

    • David

      Price isn’t a free agent next Winter

  • Kevin

    Trade him to Arizona for Bradley and Eaton. That seems like a good deal for both sides.

    • Professor Snarks

      I have a feeling that Shark would already be packing if Bradley was offered. I just don’t see why Arizona would do that. Bradley should be ready by June, which means, in effect, Arizona is trading a potential #1 for 2 months of Shark.

      • Eric

        Two years of Shark – not two months. Huge difference. But agree that he’d be gone already if Bradley was available.

        • Professor Snarks

          What I meant was who would be pitching for Arizona, not team control.
          If Az traded for Shark, they get six months of his quality type pitching. If they don’t, they get two months of a placeholder pitcher, then 4 months of Bradley (who will possibly start his career as a Shark quality type pitcher). So Arizona’s net gain would be Shark for two months.

    • Rizzomaniac

      Arizona is not giving us Bradley, if they where shark would be on the Dbacks right now.

      • mdavis

        exactly. thats why they are starting to talk about a 3rd team, i think i read the pirates and mets. D’backs trade them a SS (Didi or Owings) 3rd team sends top pitcher (Syndergard, or Taillon) and then the other pieces are filled in. But if its the Pirates, I don’t understand why they should wouldnt put together their own package of players fo Shark then…unless they really wanted one of those SS.If nothing else, all the chatter has been interesting

    • Diamond Don

      Bingo! Perfect trade!

    • Blackhawks1963

      No chance Bradley gets traded. And if Arizona ever considered trading Bradley it would take more than Samardzija to get him.

      • Tank

        Not even close if the cubs wanted to trade samardizja for Bradley straight up Arizona would do that in a heartbeat

        • brickhouse

          wrong – AZ would not trade Bradley for Samardzija straight up

          • David

            Yea, some people just can’t understand that Bradley isn’t getting included in a Shark trade. If you wanted to trade Bradley you could just go get Price.

            • Kyle

              It’d be like the Cubs trading Baez for Porcello

              • Mike F

                We find a lot of agreement usually but not here, even you undervalue Jeff. No it would be like the Cubs wanting to trade Baez for some of that junk pitching of the Marlins.

                We’ll see but there’s a reason people are in demand for a great competitor with a clean arm and mid 90’s average fastball.

              • Jason P

                Not quite. Porcello isn’t nearly the innings eater Shark is, and he doesn’t have the upside of a 95 mph fastball and nasty splitter either.

                I still contend that there is a lot of upside to keeping him until the trade deadline this year if the right offer doesn’t present itself.

  • EricaJLo

    Am I the only one who thinks Jeff shouldn’t be traded at all? I have the highest confidence in him and know he will come out on top. And he still has a young arm and would be useful at the time the Cubs are ready to contend. I just think he’s of too much value to trade him for less than he’s worth, just because Theo wants more prospects. I know Jeff wants to be on the Cubs and win with the Cubs. He’s just being stubborn and betting on himself. He knows he can make more after he proves he’s really good. We should want players with that confidence. He is a team leader. Especially with all these new guys coming up, they need someone experienced who also has great leadership qualities. I think the Cubs should keep him. Actually I’m praying we keep him. I love that guy.

    • YourResidentJag

      Well, as long as you’re willing to buy out arb yrs (which doesn’t make sense) and then give him upwards of 18-20 mil for years he hits FA (which he’s not worth). So, keeping beyond the offseason only lessens his value. Face it, the team’s not gonna be competitive this yr.

    • Diamond Don

      I love Shark too! One of the most competitive players on the Cubs. But if he won’t sign for a reasonable contract amount equal to what FO thinks he is worth, why not trade him and get value in return?

  • YourResidentJag

    The Cubs need to include KC in a trade with AZ. Hopefully, we could get Ventura out of it.

    • Professor Snarks

      Revisionist history, this I know, but I wonder if we knew then what we know now, would Shark have netted us Wil Myers last year? Oh to dream.

      • YourResidentJag

        Yeah, the possibilities.

  • Michael

    Could the Rockies maybe want shark maybe a ptbnl (Jonathan gray) Eddie butler and Trevor story trade

    • Rich H

      Colorado is doing a two step (compete with the core they have while trying to develop pitching), I do not think they will trade from the farm for Shark but if we are dreaming about 3-ways a Samardzija, Fowler, Mets prospects trade might be possible.

  • Kyle

    I’m not saying the front office is wrong here, but I will say that in the last two years, the trades where they’ve tried to jump the market have been *much* better than the than the trades where they tried to wait it out.

    Marshall, 2013 Garza were examples of trying to jump it.

    • YourResidentJag

      I would think that if teams believed in the upside of Shark, their evaluation FO teams would be saying that it’s important to have him for the entire year. I mean, a win in Sept really is the same as a win in April.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      As Brett would say. .. Sample sizes and all that.

      But yeah point taken.

    • TOOT

      Did we forgrt about Edwin Jackson?

      • Kyle

        I’m not sure how he’d be relevant. Is he supposed to be an example of jumping the market gone bad or waiting the market gone good?

        • TOOT

          I can say, IMO, that was a bad trade, and they sure did try to jumpt the market.

          • MichiganGoat

            Um EJax wasn’t a trade, not sure how he relevant in a discussion about trades.

            • TOOT

              Not being smart, but if he wasn’t a trade, what was he?

              • http://comicsandcardsupplies.com cms0101

                A free agent signing.

              • hansman

                “Not being smart”

                This is funny considering the rest of the comment.

          • Kyle

            He was a free-agent signing, and several free-agent pitchers in the same tier were already signed or were about to sign at the same time. That’s not jumping the market.

        • http://comicsandcardsupplies.com cms0101

          I think what you are saying is true, but this feels different. The market for a lefty reliever is more limited than it would be for a decent starting pitcher, so jumping on Marshall was good because the demand for him could have disappeared rather quickly. The demand for Samardzija probably won’t disappear. Teams may step away, but there aren’t enough pitchers available to satisfy contending teams’ need for a mid-rotation starter with a cheap contract and multiple years of control remaining. And being able to move Garza was always about him being healthy. It was the right move to get him out the door for the most they could get before he had another injury. I think this could be stretched to spring training and they could still get a good offer.

    • jayrig5

      Feldman as well, although that may have also been a case of them realizing that he was going through a likely career-best hot streak.

  • J Wilson

    There IS a reason to trade sooner rather than later…as in before the season. Injury. Pitching is far and away the most violent action in sports. What happens if Shark lands on the DL? What happens if he tears a ligament? I agree with Kyle, I think the Cubs should sign or trade Shark before this season begins.

  • socalicubsfan

    Centerpiece for a Shark trade… Arizona’s Delgado or Toronto’s Sanchez?

    • mdavis

      Delgado is no where near enough to be the centerpiece. He would be a nice complimentary piece. But for centerpiece the Cubs need to be asking for Bradley, Taillon, Syndergaard, Sanchez (though i’m not as crazy about him), Gausman, Giolito.

  • kenster

    I tweeted Jason Parks asking him if the Cubs got Archie Bradley for Samardzija would that make them the number 1 system in the league and he responded that he doubts they would be able to get Bradley since he’s a top 10 prospect

    • David

      Uhh yea, obviously. All the Cubs fans demanding Bradley look flat out silly, it’s embarrassing.

      • BenRoethig

        That that embarrassing. Shark has some of the best stuff in baseball and top prospects have been traded for far less. Either way, the Cubs aren’t in a hurry. They don’t need to trade him unless they’re absolutely wowed by the offer. its going to require one of the top 10 pitching prospects to land Jeff.

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