I kind of really hope this doesn’t become a regular feature, but there are a variety of Jeff Samardzija bits to share and discuss, and bullet-style makes the most sense …
- Fister trade, Fister trade, Fister trade. I don’t have a lot more to say that I didn’t already say when the trade happened last night, or in the Bullets this morning, but I’m now hoping the Tigers do what many are expecting they’ll do, which is spend big on some free agent. Then the narrative can be, “the Tigers foolishly accepted an extraordinarily weak package for a 4-win pitcher because they were desperate to clear some cash to sign Player X, who was pressuring them to put the deal together quickly.” I still think the Tigers were silly for making this Fister deal (dumping cost-controlled great players to free up cash for the privilege of overspending in free agency is rarely a laudable strategy), but at least it would be nice to have a story to sell when discussing why Jeff Samardzija’s trade value should dramatically exceed that of the Fister deal. Right now, the best you can come up with: Fister is a year older, he’s slightly more expensive, he’s a soft-tosser who has lost a mile or two on his already soft stuff, and … well, that’s all I’ve got. Fister probably doesn’t have the upside of Samardzija, but Fister is already a fantastic pitcher. Samardzija, we hope, will get there next year.
- (That all said: because the consensus is that the Tigers didn’t get nearly enough for Fister in this trade, it’s not as if prospective trade partners can tell the Cubs, “Hey, that’s the market price for Fister, so the market price for Samardzija is X-1.” Well, they can say that, but the Cubs can respond, “We’re content to hold Samardzija for a little while, given that he and David Price are probably the only upper tier arms available on the trade market, and the free agent market is looking weak, too.” I still like the Cubs’ leverage here. I just would have liked it even more if the Tigers had received a healthy score for Fister.)
- Bruce Levine apparently reported this weekend on his radio show on The Score (I say apparently because I couldn’t find audio for myself – anyone have it handy?) that the Cubs have offered Jeff Samardzija a five-year, $55 million extension. That’s the exact extension I’ve suggested as reasonable for about a year now (based on Matt Harrison’s similar extension a couple years ago), so, yeah, that’s reasonable. I could understand Samardzija continuing to refuse, preferring to bet on himself. The Cubs could probably go a little higher and keep the extension in the range of “good idea,” but there’s only so much wiggle room, even when you factor in inflation.
- Nick Cafardo also discussed extension stuff, saying that the Cubs’ preference remains signing Samardzija to an extension. If the trade market crumbles in the wake of the Fister deal (and that’s probably going too far), an extension probably does become more likely, since the Cubs may have to pony up if they want to convert Samardzija into a long-term asset. As I say in the previous bullet, though, there has to be a limit.
- Although Dave Cameron’s gut tells him Jeff Samardzija will be traded, he doesn’t seem to think the Blue Jays should have interest in acquiring him (and especially not if the deal includes one of Aaron Sanchez or Marcus Stroman). For my part, any deal with the Blue Jays that doesn’t include at least one of Sanchez or Stroman might not make sense for the Cubs. Maybe there’s just not a fit there.
- Jim Bowden proposes four trades that are probably now in the range you’d be looking in a Samardzija deal, like it or lump it. From the Orioles, the Cubs get Kevin Gausman, straight up (eh – I like him, but risky); from the Diamondbacks, the Cubs get Tyler Skaggs and Stryker Trahan (still doesn’t wow you); from the Royals, the Cubs get Aaron Crow and Miguel Almonte (doesn’t seem like nearly enough); and from the Blue Jays, the Cubs get Sean Nolin, Daniel Norris, and Alberto Tirado (not bad, though I’d still want to see one of Sanchez or Stroman in the mix). You can see Bowden’s thoughts on/explanation for each deal here.