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david priceNot that you were still holding out hope that the Chicago Cubs could get top pitching prospect Archie Bradley in a deal for Jeff Samardzija, but …

Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers tells Jerry Crasnick that the team is hoping Bradley becomes their David Price, rather than being traded to acquire a David Price. Crasnick intimates that the D-backs are strongly in the market for an elite starter, but says that putting up the cash for someone like Masahiro Tanaka might not be possible. Instead, if they opt to go the trade route, their options might limited to Price and Samardzija.

If Price and Samardzija are indeed the top two options on the trade market, it’s actually possible that Samardzija will have more suitors. Which pitcher would you rather have for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, all things equal? It’s Price, no doubt. He’s been consistently good for much longer, and his performance has simply been much better than Samardzija’s.

But consider that Samardzija has had no arm troubles (Price had a brief arm issue last year), Samardzija has a bigger arm (Price has lost significant velocity in the last two years), and Samardzija will cost a hell of a lot less money over the next two years (Samardzija is projected for about $5 million in arbitration this year, and maybe $8 million in 2015; Price is projected for about $13 million this year, and maybe $17 million in 2015). In other words, all things aren’t equal. I’m not going to do it, but I could make a fairly convincing argument that Samardzija is the better trade target of the two.

That is not to say, however, that Samardzija would command a steeper price. But if the Diamondbacks are feeling tight in the pocketbook, and if they like Samardzija’s upside, they might prefer to come hard for Samardzija, rather than Price. The Cubs can also dangle Nate Schierholtz, who would provide the corner outfield power Arizona is seeking, and also do so at an inexpensive payroll figure. All in all, the Cubs would seem a better trading partner for the Diamondbacks than the Rays with Price.

Just don’t get your hopes up for Bradley.

(Aside: Remember when industry insiders were saying the Cubs were the favorites to land David Price in trade back in February? Yeah, that was a little silly. It seems now that the Cubs are not going to be in the market for Price, as he makes quite a bit less sense for them than it seemed like he might a year ago. Let that be a reminder that the best laid plans can go awry for any number of reasons, especially when stretched across a long enough time horizon. I mean that both in good and bad ways.)

  • macpete22

    I’d take Skaggs, Eaton and another prospect or two for Samardzija. Trahan? Spruill?

    • Austin8466

      I like Skaggs and Trahan in a deal for Jeff.

      Eaton doesn’t do anything for me. He’s equal to Junior Lake at the major league level so far.

      We have a lot of outfield bats on their way to the show in the next couple years.

      • Rebuilding

        If you don’t like Eaton that’s fine, but Junior Lake is not on the same planet as Adam Eaton as a hitter. Eaton got hurt early last year (arm/wrist injury) and was not the same when he came back.

        His career minor league line is 348/455/501. His 455 OBP is the highest by a minor leaguer with over 500 career minor league at-bats GOING BACK TO AT LEAST 1950!

        Sounds like a guy we might want.

  • Austin8466

    Take Skaggs, Barrett, and Trahan for Jeff and call it a trade.

    That’s a future front-end starter, closer, and catcher.

    Where do I sign?

  • jeff

    What do we expect now from a Shark trade? I no elite pitching prospect is being dangled, then there is no trade to be made with Shar

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I can understand them not wanting to trade Bradley. Just think how pissed Cub fans would be if the FO threw Baez or Bryant into a deal. But I understand that their depth goes beyond Bradley. Skaggs and another top pitching prospect would probably do.

  • Jono

    Whatever, I didn’t want Bradley anyway. Who cares? Shut up, Brett.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      that was rude!

      • Jono

        I choose to read your comment Stephanie Tanner style.

      • X The Cubs Fan

        Obviously Joking.

  • mdavis

    haha, yes, the D’Backs want to acquire an elite talent, they just don’t want to give up elite prospects for it. they won’t be getting Price, and i don’t see them getting Shark either.

    • When the Music’s Over

      Yes, this is exactly what I wrote below. Should have posted under your message. It’s so entertaining. Give us your best player, we’ll send you guys we don’t want in return.

  • FullCountTommy

    Skaggs/Corbin/Trahan for Shark/Schierholtz?? Who knows what they’ll get back

    • Jono

      Sign me up for that

      • FullCountTommy

        I like it, but not sure it’s realistic…Skaggs/Delgado/Trahan is probably more likely

        • aaronb

          I’d be shocked if they gave up that much MLB ready pitching for Shark.

        • Jono

          Yeah, Corbin is a very nice asset right now. Him and Skaggs is a mighty haul

          • When the Music’s Over

            Trading Corbin even straight up for Shark makes almost zero sense. The Dbacks would have to have some sort of ominous inside information to do that.

            Maybe, just maybe I could see Skaggs and Delgado, though they still should probably (and probably should) say no to that. Those are two guys on the very cheap for a long time to come, and who by some accounts, might be better pitchers than Shark is within a year or two (perhaps even next year).

            • When the Music’s Over

              *(and probably would)

            • Jono

              right, that’s why no one has even mentioned a corbin – samardzija straight trade

              • When the Music’s Over

                Full Count Tommy did and even gave the Cubs more good players. Sure he gave them Schierholtz back, but he’s little more than a pot sweetener.

                • Jono

                  including skaggs and trahan is definitely worth more than Schierholtz. It’s not straight up, but yeah, it’s even MORE favorable for the Cubs. I thought you were referring to a specific straight up trade reference for Corbin and Samardzija.

                • FullCountTommy

                  I also included in my next comment that I wasn’t sure it was realistic. While Corbin is good, he and Skaggs have a #3 ceiling. Shark is desirable because he has ace potential, even if he may never live up to it

                  • Jono

                    GMs might be giving Samardzija an ace-potential premium. I wouldn’t, though. I don’t trust players to improve after getting their big contracts.

                    • Jono

                      I probably shouldn’t assume GMs want to trade for samardzija and extend him. Maybe they just want the two years (or 1.5 years if mid season)

                    • FullCountTommy

                      I agree with you, I wouldn’t be giving him that premium either, but I can’t read minds. If I could (or use Jedi mind tricks), I would use it to make Theo give me a job

                  • C. Steadman

                    I would say Corbins ceiling is a #2…he already has shown to be a solid #3 so saying he’s already reached his ceiling at age 24 is discrediting his all-star 2013…also I wouldnt want Skaggs and Corbin together unless we would move either one of them or Travis Wood…three lefties in the rotation wouldnt be ideal…especially since neither of them throw hard

                    • FullCountTommy

                      Quality arms are quality arms

                    • C. Steadman

                      right, but the Diamondbacks also have quality RHP too, Delgado, Spruill, Barrett(RP)…plus Corbin is probably untouchable

  • ken

    why not trade Shark and change for Price? Rays get a prospect and two years of Shark for ~$10 less than Price. Both teams can then deal these guys at the deadline or next fall. As for the Cubs, the issues are: do you want to extend him and if not would get more for Price at the deadline than for Shark now?

  • When the Music’s Over

    I am always amused when GM’s want elite players, but don’t want to give up significant value for them. Now this could just be part of their negotiation tactics, however, I often think they’re dead serious when the say: “We want to trade for an ace pitcher, but you’re simply not going to get back any of our good prospects”. It’s akin to the cockamamie trade offers you field in fantasy sports and see on message boards.

    • When the Music’s Over

      Then again, I guess the Pfister deal is proof enough that sometimes it works.

      • Jono

        you had me until Fister. Touche

    • aaronb

      Dbacks aren’t in a spot where they NEED to overpay for Shark right now. They could still get a Tanaka, Garza, Kuroda type of guy right now without trading anyone.

      It appears the Cubs are the party who is actively trying to sell.

      • Jono

        They might fight a more motivated buyer mid season

        • aaronb

          Thats what I think also. Either this summer or once all the other pitching dominos have already fallen.

      • Austin8466

        The D-backs don’t want to shell out the cash it will take to land any of those guys you listed.

        That’s why they’re more likely to trade for a more cost-controlled pitcher on that level.

        • aaronb

          Shark is only going to be cheap for 1 more season. They could sign just about anyone and backload money out of year 1 if they choose to do so.

          I’m sure they will jump on Shark now if he’s a bargain…Have doubts that they pay a premium of prospects for him now when there are better pitchers on the market.

          • hansman

            No, he will be cheap in 2015 as well.

            The MAX he would get would be $10M, which for a pitcher of his caliber, is cheap.

            • aaronb

              Not sure how accurate that max number is?

              Regardless, if he is such a bargain at Only 10 million max next year…Why aren’t the Cubs extending him?

              • When the Music’s Over

                Because he apparently wants $20M+ a year after that.

                Let’s say the Cubs are offering him 5/$65M. If he is supposed to make $5M this year, and $10M next year, that would suggest a final three year payout of almost $17M per year. Given historical precedent, that to me would look like a very fair deal for both sides, however, fair might not be what Jeff wants, especially since a 5 year deal (3 add’l years) will leave him at an age that is more difficult to secure a monster contract.

                Let’s say because Jeff doesn’t like the idea of being a weird after signing a 5 year contract (3 add’l years), he asks for 5/$80. All the sudden, Jeff is asking for the final 3 year payout to be almost $22M per year.

                Now, all this shit is totally made up on the fly in my head, but I wouldn’t be surprised if its probably not too far off from a rough estimation of where negotiations are at at this point in time.

              • hansman

                Arbitration. If the estimates are that he gets $5M this year, no arbitor in their right mind would more than double his salary the following year.

                (in case you missed it, the Cubs have him for 2 more years)

                • aaronb

                  I fully realize he has 2 years of control left. I just have doubts that we know exactly what an arbitration hearing is going to net him over the next 2 trips.

      • When the Music’s Over

        I thought Crasnick said the Dbacks are in the market for an elite pitcher. Assuming that’s true, whether they actually need that pitcher or not doesn’t really matter. What does matter is they think they need that pitcher. Now, how serious they are about getting that pitcher is typically signaled by how much they’re willing to pay for said pitcher. On the other hand, there are lots of delusional GM’s who want to give up nothing in return for what they want.

        If the Dbacks want Tanaka, Garza or Kuroda, they should go out and sign each guy. However, they’ll have to suck it up financially for those guys, something by all accounts they don’t want to do.

    • Norm

      Do you consider Samardzija “elite”?

      • When the Music’s Over

        For what’s available via trade and free agency, yes. For his still developing potential and actual stuff, yes. For his two seasons so far as a starting pitcher, no.

        • Norm

          I disagree…no way can Samardzija be considered an “elite” starting pitcher.

          • When the Music’s Over

            The relationship of supply and demand would suggest he can.

            If you are hammered at a party or bar and all you see are ugly girls, after enough time, the best of the ugly turns into elite.

            Now that is a crude example, but given current resource availability, Shark is just a touch under as good as it gets (Price > Shark). Especially once you consider that the Dbacks very likely don’t want to spend big bucks for one of the few remaining free agents that are < Shark.

          • Funn Dave

            I think that’s what Music’s saying. He’s not elite now, but he could be in the future–and teams would pay extra for that potential. I do, however, disagree with the “for what’s available via trade and free agency, yes” part. I don’t think eliteness is affected by one’s abilities relative to other players available that year, but by one’s abilities overall. Even if it were, I don’t think you can really call Shark elite when players like Tanaka, Garza, and Price are available as well.

            • When the Music’s Over

              Shark > Garza, and Garza like too cost prohibitive for the Dbacks.
              Tanaka way, way to pricey for the Dbacks.
              Price, too cost prohibitive for the Dbacks.

              Remember, supply and demand doesn’t necessarily have to be a market wide thing. The Dbacks, given their largely frugal nature, have narrowed down their specific market demand by their constraints. In other words, within the parameters they’ve historically been able to operate within, the supply available to them is thinner than say, the supply that is available to the Yankees.

              Now, it is difficult to discern what Crasnick means when he says the Dbacks are in the market for an “elite” pitcher. Elite as in the best of the best? If so, good luck. Price is dangerously close to not fitting that profile anymore, and Tanaka, by all accounts would have to reach the best case scenario to get there.

              • Norm

                OK, well, if Price is close to not fitting that profile any more, Shark most certainly is not.
                Supply and Demand doesn’t affect how good a player is.
                Let’s say Shark/Price/Ubaldo/E.Santana are all off the market leaving Bronson Arroyo as the best available. Arroyo does not suddenly become ‘elite’ because of supply and demand.

                • When the Music’s Over

                  It does to a certain degree, and if Arroyo is the best option available to a team looking to upgrade at pitcher and there’s nothing else close to him (this would never happen), then yeah, he becomes an elite option for that specific market at that specific time. Remember the ugly girl example. If the best of the ugglys is a 4 and the rest are 1′s, and you’re horny and dead set on bedding a girl that evening, all of a sudden that chick might not seem that bad (until you see her in the morning) as your thresholds change.

                  This is why players can often snatch bigger returns at trade deadlines. The market is weird and fickle and teams get desperate.

                  • When the Music’s Over

                    And there are of course thresholds teams aren’t willing to cross. I, for example, would never want to see the Cubs offer up a lot of value in a trade for Arroyo. However, if desperation is looming large and he’s the best available (he can get on seriously good stretches, especially towards the end of the year), I really don’t think I’d care too much if the Cubs paid a 20-30% premium to attain his services.

              • Funn Dave

                I think we’re missing each other’s points here (although I do think we disagree in re: Garza vs. Shark). I’m saying that, at least from the way I understand eliteness, supply and demand doesn’t affect it at all. So I guess from my perspective, an elite player is an elite player; whereas, the way you look at it, eliteness is determined by how good a player is relative to the other players available to a particular club.

                • When the Music’s Over

                  I am of course simplifying things a bit, but let’s break it down more judiciously.

                  A lot depends on what Crasnick’s/Tower’s definition is of elite. If we take the word elite in its textbook definition, how many pitchers are really considered elite in the major leagues? 10-20 depending on the exact opinion of the definition? And how many of those are available for the Dbacks in free agency or trades? Free agency – 1 (Maybe Tanaka, and by all accounts the Dbacks don’t have the money for him). Trades – assuming the Dbacks don’t freakishly overpay in a trade where another team simply cannot say no, maybe a few at best (that’s likely generous).

                  In summary, if you take the word elite in textbook definition format, there’s literally no market outside of maybe David Price and Tanaka, and it doesn’t appear either of them are in the cards for the Dbacks. On the other hand, if you take it as what’s available (to a certain degree), then perhaps them looking for one (using our now adjusted, non-textbook definition) in a trade makes sense.

          • Jono

            I agree with you. Maybe he gets better and changes my mind, but I go by what I see. He’s a guy who put up an average of 1.3 WAR over the last two years (sure, he was shut down for maybe 20 IP, but no one knows how he would’ve pitched in those innings). Again, if he improves, then my perception of him will improve. But right now he’s a 1.3 WAR per season pitcher.

            • bbmoney

              I like to think of him more as a 2.9 WAR pitcher.

              But I like to take my WAR from fangraphs. So maybe that’s on me.

  • mdavis

    i think the only shot of getting a higher end arm, is if the Orioles get involved with Gausman (maybe they feel the pressure with bo-sox, yankees adding more bats, etc) or if the Pirates come calling with Taillon (divisional trade, gonna need to pay a premium). otherwise i’m not sure unless a darkhorse comes after losing out on Tanaka.

  • James Smith

    If we aren’t able to get Bradley then i would prefer a trade with the O’s Send us Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey and Mike Wright for Shark and Hendricks

    • mdavis

      i prefer Gausman. Bundy is undersized and yet another TJS. otherwise I think the O’s make a good match.

      • calicubsfan007

        Couldn’t that make Bundy a perfect Theo rebound candidate?

        • YourResidentJag

          I’d prefer a trade to the Braves then.

  • skip b

    Like I said on twitter I would love to see them try to package a deal with Parra, and Skaggs. They have the outfield depth enough to let go with one of them, Parra is more than an elite defensive player and can hold his own with the bat. I don’t think Eaton pans out to what everyone thinks he’s going to be. Unless you put Skaggs, and Delgado in a package, I would want them to try for Parra who is way under paid for the kind of player he is.

  • Mick

    If AZ won’t part with Bradley then we’ll need to tie-in a 3rd team to get what we want. Here’s my suggestion for a 3-team trade:

    AZ gets Shark and Schierholtz
    MN gets Chris Owings, Delgado
    CHI gets Skaggs, Berrios, Trahan

    • FullCountTommy

      No need getting the 3rd team involved, just do Shark and Schierholtz for Skaggs, Delgado, and Trahan

      • Mick

        I’m not sold on Delgado as a top of the rotation SP, he’s got the upside of a #3. If we trade Shark, we need to get TOR SP’s in return. Skaggs has the potential and so does Berrios. The reason why AZ doesn’t make the best of fits and why we need to include a 3rd team is because aside from Skaggs the next best value for prospects AZ can offer is SS which, they’ve been rumored to be shopping. We don’t need a SS and the Twins do.

  • Edwin

    Seems like a little bit of a stretch on the “signifigant velocity loss” for Price. He threw 94.8, 95.5, and 93.5 the past three seasons. So while his velocity dropped 2 MPH in 2013, it’s still elite velocity, especially for a LHP. And the velocity loss didn’t affect his performance too much.

    I see your point though. I think Price is easily the better pitcher, but Samardzija probably fits into more teams’ plans/budget, since the salary and cost of prospects will probably be cheaper.

  • Sect208row8

    Just left the ballpark and I saved 500 on my season tickets. Moved five seats over and 8 rows closer. Feeling good. Even if they suck In my mind I’m ahead.

    • dreese

      If you dont mind me asking, how much do season tickets cost a year, on average?

  • N.J. Riv

    If we don’t get Bradley, then we should gut them like a deer.

    • Jono

      Now we’re getting down to business

    • Mick

      I can’t blame AZ for not trading Bradley. In less than a year more of development, he’ll be a top of the rotation MLB SP. In order to get the top of the rotation arm(s) we require to trade Shark, we’ll need to find prospects farther away from MLB. It’s a little more risky which is why we can ask for more prospects in that type of deal.

  • Funn Dave

    Those Cubs-Price rumors always did seem a little iffy….

  • BenRoethig

    So…. the D-Backs want a top of the rotation arm, yet they don’t want to pay for Tanaka or trade top prospects. Good luck with that Mr. Towers.

  • Michael

    Cubs get: skaggs, Gary Sanchez, PTBNL (Braden Shipley)
    Arizona: Shark, Sheirholtz
    Yankees:Matt Davidson

  • Blackhawks1963

    If I’m Arizona, then Bradley is definitely off limits. If that means I can’t get Price or Samardzija, then oh well.

    The problem is that Tyler Skaggs, while a promising young pitcher, isn’t a sure thing to be anything beyond an okay mid-rotation guy. I like Skaggs, but the package would have to be something else in addiiton.

  • mjhurdle

    It is hard to tell what is truth and what might just be posturing this close to the Winter Meetings.
    I can understand if Towers is telling the truth, because every team in baseball would love to have and keep a talent like Bradley.
    But I could also see that as the opening move in setting the expectation in negotiations. Proclaim the prospect untouchable to try to strengthen your position. Not saying that Towers is definitely bluffing, because it makes more sense to think that they simply want to hold onto Bradley, but I wouldn’t take it gospel that they wouldn’t move Bradley.

  • trust me

    If James shields was traded for atop 5 prospect then David price would cost the dbacks bradly foresure.

  • trust me

    Still think jeff and baez is enough for bradly skaggs and others

    • trust me

      And shierholtz

  • North Side Irish

    At Wrigley for the Season Ticket Relocation Event and there are plenty of seats available. Also plenty of construction.

    They also announced that this is the last year they will be doing this event due to the renovations. Next year it will be done online.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Well that’s … interesting. Are they saying anything about the renovations going on right now? Same old infrastructure story, or is there more?

      • cubfanbob

        I will be there tomorrow at 9:30am. No idea how they would do it online that will be crazy town and hopefully only temporary.

      • North Side Irish

        Looked like routine maintenance, but hard to say for sure. We had no access to the main concourse and there were only two ramps to the upper deck open (both on the 1B side), so I couldn’t see what was being done there. Lots of scaffolding and tarps, like maybe they were reinforcing the upper deck. Also saw stacks of metal pipes and piles of new seats. I’ve got some pictures if you want to see.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    With the price of pitching going through the roof I think the FO should split the difference with Shark and move on to signing Tanaka. I think they don’t want to set a precedent by letting Samardzija get the best of them in negotiations. If they give into Shark and then Wood has another stellar year then Wood is going to want more also. This FO is all about what they term team friendly contracts. In some ways I believe there is some pride involved here aside from the business standpoint. Samardzija was rather vocal when they traded Feldman at the trade deadline. And now he is playing hardball in the contract negotiations. How does that really sit with Epstein? I think there may be some egos involved here. If you view Shark as a guy who might influence some of the players that the FO wants to lockup in a negative way then I can see them trading him. My point is that Shark is setting a precedent here that others may follow. For this reason I predict that they will move him for younger players with longer years of control.

  • macpete22

    Apparently they weren’t comfortable giving up Skaggs and Pollock for Cespedes per Rosenthal

  • Pingback: Report: Cubs Will Do “Serious Listening” on Jeff Samardzija Next Week at the Winter Meetings | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

  • Smackafilieyo

    According to a Sanspo report, NPB officials are prepared to accept MLB’s new posting system proposal that includes a $20 million limit on posting fees.
    The report was translated by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. It’s a big win for Major League Baseball teams, who have seen posting fees skyrocket to ridiculous levels in recent years. Masahiro Tanaka is the big fish on the international pond this winter and will be able to begin accepting bids once the new system is put into place. Full details should be disclosed soon.

    • Kyle

      I’d set the over/under on teams that would bid $20m for Tanaka at 20.

      • Rebuilding

        Yep. So for the big boys that come over its really going to be no different than being a free agent

        • Kyle

          With the weird “float offers through backchannels as fast as possible before he has to decide which one team to negotiate with” mechanism.

          • Rebuilding

            There is nothing stopping his people from hearing “rumors” before making a selection. Supposing that’s even how it will work. I think it more likely that he will be able to work out a deal with any team that bids the max

  • steve r.

    Hell give me Skaggs, Delgado and Parra for Shark and Schierholz, and we’ll be doing well there. Parra would hold down CF, and maybe leadoff for us, he has the on base numbers the front office is looking for. Skaggs and Delgado gives us 2 more young and promising arms to piece into the rotation. I think we’d be far better off with these guys than Shark, who we aren’t gonna re-sign anyway, and Schierholz who over achieved last year anyway. We get guys we can fit into the near term and possibly long term picture, I see no downside, get it done already, then move onto making some other moves to at least field a reasonably competitive team next year, I would hope anyway.

    • Rebuilding

      Parra really doesn’t have the OBP – 330 over 2200 at bats. He might be a marginal upgrade over Sweeney but that’s just due to his defense

  • Hutch

    If the team with the worst record wins the negotiation for 20 mill does the player have the right to refuse that team?

    • Kyle

      They’ve always had that right to not sign and return to their Japanese team. A failed posting can’t be reposted until the next year.

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