After straining to come up with a cohesive, non-bulleted way to share today’s bits on Jeff Samardzija … here are bullets on Samardzija …
- Today’s big Diamondbacks/Angels/White Sox trade had me going back and forth on whether Arizona would now be more or less likely to make a move for Jeff Samardzija. On the one hand, adding a big bat in Mark Trumbo while subtracting Tyler Skaggs could make the Diamondbacks even more aggressive in pursuing a pitcher (especially one via trade, since they added Trumbo’s salary). On the other hand, with Skaggs and Adam Eaton gone, the Diamondbacks have lost two freely-tradable bullets that could have worked in a Samardzija deal. (For the record, no, I don’t think Skaggs and Adam Eaton are enough for Jeff Samardzija. Would need a considerable third piece, at least.)
- Consensus? Well, there isn’t one. Tim Brown thinks the Diamondbacks will make a run at Samardzija (or David Price) following the Trumbo deal. Bob Nightengale heard that they’ll probably go the free agent route. Arizona GM Kevin Towers, himself, admitted it would be hard to make a trade for a starting pitcher now that they’ve dealt Skaggs, Eaton (and David Holmberg last week). I saw a pretty even mix of opinions on the question over the course of the afternoon. But I suppose the most important note came from Buster Olney, who reports that the Diamondbacks are still interested in picking up Samardzija (and are looking at other options, too). If the Diamondbacks want Samardzija, and are truly refusing to include Archie Bradley in a deal, then I have a hard time seeing a match without a third team involved. The D-Backs best other marketable pieces are infielders. The Cubs are good there.
- Are the Blue Jays still in on Samardzija? Not sure on him specifically, but Alex Anthopoulos told Shi Davidi that free agent prices are too high for them right now, and they may still pursue a pitcher trade. The problem, however, is that teams keep asking about top pitching prospects Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman. The Blue Jays’ system is so stacked with pitching that they could probably put together a passable package without one of those two involved, but it would be a lot of lower-level, high-ceiling quantity. Without one of Sanchez or Stroman, the Cubs may not feel sufficiently compelled to move Samardzija right now. (I always feel like underscoring that the Cubs needn’t make a move right now, even absent an extension.)
- Sahadev Sharma hears that the Cubs met with several teams yesterday on Samardzija, but nothing is close. That squares with something Jed Hoyer said today, noting that everyone knows discussions about/with Samardzija are ongoing, but there are no deals pending for the Cubs right now. Only “groundwork laid.”