It’s no secret that the Chicago Cubs have discussed the possibility of trading top starter Jeff Samardzija this week. He’s 29, has huge upside, is a physical beast, and is two years shy of free agency. Those are all reasons to trade him for maximum value right now … as well as reasons to sign him to an extension.
So, naturally, the Cubs have been seen as pursuing both possible angles for the better part of six months. Could that all be coming to a head today?
Last night, Jon Heyman tweeted that the Cubs’ brass will meet with Jeff Samardzija’s agents today. Without extrapolation, there might not be a lot there. But, for Heyman to have heard this detail in the kind of context that makes it newsworthy, alone, is noteworthy.
To be clear, there could be any number of reasons for the Cubs to meet with Samardzija’s agents today. But if Heyman’s report is accurate, we have to draw some logical inferences. First, meeting with Samardzija’s agents is almost certainly to discuss an extension. Second, that discussion will come against the backdrop of trade discussions. Third, it feels like one-last-talk kind of thing.
Well, consider: if the discussion about an extension had nothing to do with trade talks, the Cubs could have that meeting at any time. Next week. Next month. Whenever. Instead, they’re having the discussions on the day before the Winter Meetings break. The any reason to do that? Trade talks are reaching a critical stage, and the Cubs want to know, definitively, where things stand with Samardzija on a possible extension before they go into final negotiations with any team on a trade. Perhaps the Cubs will even use the trade talks as a pressure point.
And perhaps Heyman heard this tidbit from another team? Perhaps a team that the Cubs asked to be patient, pending their meeting with Samardzija’s agents? That’s pure speculation … but it’s pretty logical.
In any case, it isn’t unreasonable to conclude that something could happen in the Samardzija story in the next two days. It’s equally possible that nothing will happen – at least for public consumption. It could be that today’s discussion, and the ancillary talks with trade partners will merely crystalize the plan going forward (trade, or hold).
So, I guess the conclusion here is to pay attention closely today and tomorrow. Something happen. Or it might not. And we might hear something about what did or didn’t happen. And we might not. I know that’s obnoxious. But that’s just the reality.