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baltimore orioles logoAlthough he was never a target for the Chicago Cubs (something with which I came to agree, eventually, despite earlier silliness), Ubaldo Jimenez’s eventual signing was going to have an impact on the Cubs. That’s because, together with Ervin Santana, Jimenez represents one of the alternatives on the market for a team looking to trade for a starting pitcher like Jeff Samardzija.

To that point, the Baltimore Orioles have reportedly agreed to terms with Ubaldo Jimenez on a deal that will probably wind up in the four-year, $48 million range. It’s not an altogether unreasonable deal for Jimenez, and the Orioles clearly needed to add an arm. The impact to the Cubs, obviously, is that the deal will take the Orioles out of the market for Jeff Samardzija for the time being. Although a Samardzija extension is still not off the table, if he does become a trade piece – either now or at the deadline – it was nice to have the Orioles, and their bounty of pitching prospects, available as potential trade partners.

Among the remaining suitors for Samardzija, the Blue Jays are still out there (they could actually stand to pick up two starting pitchers, and were reportedly in on Jimenez), and the Mariners could definitely use another arm or two. Even if one of those two teams picks up Ervin Santana, there will still be a need. Of course, if one gets Santana and one gets David Price, for example, the market for Samardzija – pre-season – might be dried up. The Pirates and Braves were, at one time, rumored to be interested, but we’ve not heard much on their front in a while (shouldn’t the Pirates really, really want Samardzija after A.J. Burnett spurned them for the Phillies?). The Indians may have been interested at one time, too, but that’s another older rumor. The Diamondbacks signed Bronson Arroyo earlier in the month, likely taking them out of the market.

In the end, you could still probably come up with a dozen teams that would love to add Samardzija even before the season. But, at the price the Cubs are asking, only a small number of teams could be sufficiently needy to consider making a move. For me, for now, that looks like the Blue Jays, Mariners, and maybe the Pirates. The Orioles would have been on that list, but that ends for now with the Jimenez signing. A trade, if that’s the route the Cubs go, still looks far more likely at mid-season than before the season starts.

The signing, by the way, does not impact the Cubs’ second round draft pick – although the Orioles lose their first rounder (17th), the Indians pick up a compensatory pick at the end of the first round, meaning the Cubs’ second round pick stays where it is.

  • Kyle

    I hope every starter on every contender in the league blows out his arm tomorrow.

  • Brocktoon

    As I said the first time you posted that Sullivan article, it was complete garbage. Player performs best against worst offenses story at 10

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You may have to elaborate to convince, like, anyone.

      • Brocktoon

        You need evidence to show they pitchers pitch better against bad teams?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Sullivan’s piece was considerably more nuanced than that.

          • Brocktoon

            Right he showed such nuance of both arbitrarily cutting out games against lesser opponents and arbitrarily cutting out a certain timeframe. Wonder why he didn’t chop off the first 1/4 of jimenez’s season when he put up terrible numbers

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              That wasn’t the point he was making, but you’re seeing what you want to see.

              • Brocktoon

                Enlighten me. What was his point? That jimenez wasn’t the 1.25 FIP pitcher he was down the stretch? Groundbreaking stuff

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Given the way people were discussing Jimenez late last year and into the offseason, yes, it was.

                  • Brocktoon

                    Well then people are dumb. Jimenez was never being considered that guy by FOs judging by the fact that he wound up with the deal he got. I don’t know how you go from “he’s not a 1.25 FIP pitcher” to “I don’t want him at 4/48″

        • Brocktoon

          Jimenez ERA split (+500 vs -500) : 1.08
          Verlander: 1.44
          Scherzer: 1.04
          Darvish: -0.27
          Iwakuma: 0.98
          Sanchez: 0.51
          Sale: 1.31
          Colon: 1.22
          Felix: 1.06
          Shields: 0.41
          Moore: 1.96

  • Rudy N

    So this means officilly move up one spot for their 2nd round pick right?

    • Rudy N

      *The Cubs officially

    • Kyle

      No, because Cleveland gets a pick added at the end of the first-round.

      • Rudy N

        That’s right… Okay so is the difference in the new CBA that Baltimore now loses a pick? I know another one is a lot less players get QOs and there are less compensatory picks.

        • Kyle

          Under the old CBA, the top-15 picks were protected, and Baltimore’s pick would have gone straight to Cleveland (and Cleveland would have gotten a pick at the end of the 1st round as well).

          Now only the top-10 are protected, and Baltimore’s pick just disappears while Cleveland gets a pick at the end.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      See the final sentence.

  • VittersStartingLF

    Samardzjia and Castro to Pirates for Polanco, Glasnow, Kingman and Hansen. Gives us LH hitter, two good pitching prospects and SS depth. Gives the Pirates a potential pennant and they get to keep Tallion.

    • Patrick G

      No

  • Diehardthefirst

    USA Today Sports Weekly this week lists 100 newcomers to influence 2014 season- 5 Cubs named- guess who? Give up? Olt, Alcantara, Watkins, Baez and Hendricks- do they know something Theo isn’t telling us? Could be fun year if true

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      They know how to look at prospects lists and player levels. That’s probably about all it tells us.

      • Diehardthefirst

        Burst my bubble again- trying to get motivated

  • Javier Bryant

    In a way I hope the Mariners sign Santana, although if the Bluejays sign him then the Mariners might want to trade for Samardzija. The Jays seem like a better trade partner IMO

    • Xruben31

      Or, he could go to the Angels and make everyone happy.

  • Carl9730

    I’d like to see parallel paths of extension & trade talks with TOR. Jeff, here’s 5/80 or you’re headed to TOR for the next 2yrs- Mr NTC…..

  • npnovak

    I don’t think the Pirates work as a trade partner, tbh. They don’t seem willing to trade away their top prospects, and they would need to center a package around Polanco, Taillon, or Hansen to get Shark.

    They’d probably be more willing to give those guys up for Price tho.

    • TulaneCubs

      The Pirates have a lot more than that. They can easily build a package around Tyler Glasnow, Nick Kingham or Josh Bell. They might need a couple of those guys, but it can be done. Those guys have all landed on multiple top 100 lists and Glasnow is often a top 50.

  • Carl9730

    TOR has always made the most sense. AA really needs to do something with regard to SP & I guess the question becomes who is more desperate for Santana, he or Jack Z. I wonder if Epstoyer is adamant about Stroman or Sanchez being included? Sanchez & Nolin get it done? I must admit that some the national pundits @ Fangraphs & BP seem to think Cub Nation is a bit unrealistic , in terms of what we expect back for Shark. Hopefully desperate times lead to desperate GMs….

  • Chef Brian

    Bring on the Pirates. We have fleeced them in the past, maybe we can do it one more time.

    • Jon

      Cubs fleeced Dave Littlefield, not Neil Hunnington

  • cubzfan23

    Nobody is trading for shark before the deadline. The Cubs are asking for to much and the season has not even started. Their are teams that still want a reliable starter but not to the extent the Cubs are asking. Shark will be a Cub atleast until the deadline. In my opinion he is just a league average starter and until he proves he can be more than that teams arent going to give up what the FO is asking.

  • blublud

    I think this could actually make the Orioles more likely to trade a top pitching prospect for a pitcher, now. With Jeminez locked up, thats one less spot in the rotation to worry about for four years. That could make them more willing to trade that pitching prospect.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s definitely an interesting way to look at it. I’m not sure I agree, given the space in the rotation and the budget, but it’s interesting.

  • Cubsin

    I still believe the Cubs will get more for Samardzija at the trade deadline than they could now (assuming he performs well in the first half, of course). The Cubs’ demands now are much higher than the other GM’s are willing to give up. But there will be teams in July who are still in the race for postseason slots who have pitchers who are injured or underperforming, and Shark would have a major impact on their postseason chances.

  • Carl9730

    As far as PIT, given their recent player development record, they’re probably saying screw it , we’ll wait for Taillon.

    If TOR loses out to SEA on Santana, what the hell else can AA do?

    Not sure if Epstoyer would like to give themselves more negotiating time with Shark, though a deal seems increasingly unlikely…

    • Blackhawks1963

      Taillon and Cole are untouchables. For good reason. Just like Bradley in Arizona, Giolita in Washington and Walker in Seattle are untouchable.

  • When The Musics Over

    If there were indeed at least semi serious trade talks between the Cubs Orioles and for shark. If so, the Orioles decided that ubaldo Jimenez at 4/48 and losing a mid-first round pick was a better alternative than Shark at 2/16 or so, keeping a mid-first round pick, but losing what the Cubs were demanding.

    • Cubbie in NC

      You make a good point.

      Teams have to know that Shark is not going to give them a discount when he is not giving it to the Cubs.

      Let’s say Masterson or Homer Bailey would you rather see the Cubs sign one of them for two top 10 prospects and a top 100 prospect? Or get someone not as good for 4 years and only give up a draft pick. I cannot say I can disagree with the Orioles on this one.

      • YourResidentJag

        I don’t agree at all with this. The Orioles had a chance to get a 1st place finish this season not knowing the future of Chris Davis, Markakis, their SS, and their C. Signing Burnett or trading for Shark would have been the better option. And they keep their pick.

        • When The Musics Over

          It all depends on what the Cubs were asking for if there were indeed seriousish talks. Would be cool to hear what.

          • YourResidentJag

            Who knows. Burnett would have been a better option.

        • Blackhawks1963

          The Orioles just kept Bundy and Gausman while acquiring a semi reliable starting pitcher that isn’t costing them a mint.

          • YourResidentJag

            Burnett would have been a much better option for them, then.

            • Blackhawks1963

              Sounds like Burnett didn’t want to go back to the AL East where he struggled.

              • YourResidentJag

                Source? with quotes from Burnett?

                • Jason P

                  Sources can be perfectly reliable without including direct quotes.

                  • YourResidentJag

                    Well, given that we’re getting into his state of mind….I suppose it was reasonable to ask.

                    • Jason P

                      Granted, without direct quotes there will always be some degree of speculation, but most of what comes out about a players’ preferences in free agency comes without direct quotes. Look at the Tanaka saga. Everything — literally everything — that came out about which way he was leaning came from unnamed sources.

                • YourResidentJag

                  I don’t know what you’re really arguing here. Given the factors of Burnett’s age, WAR value, 1 yr contract (which fits perfectly with the uncertainties of other players and their future status on the Orioles team), his 16 mil salary, which others including myself, feel is an appropriate cost. Given all the factors, he’s being paid for his age as a TOR. The Orioles need a TOR to step this season. Especially with the expectation that the Sox are unlikely to repeat and the Yankees remain a borderline playoff team. Given that the don’t have the benefit of knowing if Tillman can replicate his performance, how Gausman will pitch, or knowing that Bundy won’t return this season, my opinion is that Burnett and his contract makes more sense.

                  Blackhawks tried to give reasons which I didn’t know, maybe, but which don’t necessarily appear to be supported by anything.

                  • Jason P

                    I agree Burnett made sense from the Orioles perspective. But it takes two to tango, and unfortunately for them, it seems like the interest wasn’t mutual. Burnett got shelled the few years he was in the AL East, so it’s perfectly understandable from his perspective why he wouldn’t have wanted to go back.

                    You wouldn’t think the Phillies were a perfect fit given how bad they project to be, but everyone has different priorities. Maybe the Phillies just offered him the most money and told him they’d trade him midseason if they weren’t in it.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Toronto is a mess. They are staring at 5th place in the AL East. Emptying their farm system for Samardzija isn’t going to fix that mess north of the border.

  • Jon

    Sigh, 4-48 is a good deal and with Jiminez in toe, the Cubs could have had a stranglehold on the pitching market this deadline…

  • David

    I think our most logical hope is for Shark and Wood to have a great 2014 and both get signed to extensions – – – at their market value. Let’s get this done….. The longer we wait, the more these # 3 and 4 pitchers will get $90/ $100M deals. They’re both getting into their prime years… they seem durable…

    Just like the movie Wedding Crashers… “I want you to lock it up”… “No, you lock it up…” “No, you lock it up”…

  • Voice of Reason

    Sure going into the season the market for shark isn’t quite there, but there will be a handful of these contending teams that will have starting pitchers go down with injuries or they will be looking to add one more arm to put them over the top.

    That’s where the inexpensive shark comes into play!

  • bobby

    Is the best move really to trade Shark? I understand the logic but it seems like it could also be a major step back to an already drawn out rebuild. Shark/Wood are pretty solid 2 and 3 pitchers to build around. We would need a stud #1 guy still (trade for Price?) but I would be happy with 2″Shark and 3″Wood, then Grimm/Arrieta/Vizcaino and various other prospects fighting it out for the final spots next year.

    Yes, trading him could bring in some high quality pitching prospects and we definitely need pitching prospects. However, We could and should acquire pitching prospects by utilizing our infield and outfield surplus midseason for smaller prospect hauls. All of our current outfielders should be up for grabs midseason if they are performing. A number of our infielders should be up for grabs as well. Hammel, Jackson, Veras, Russel, Villanueva could all be moved for prospects too.

    My argument against the trade would be that it leaves a hole in our already weak rotation and there isn’t much available via FA next year to replace him. We could possibly acquire quality pitching prospects by utilizing other trade chips midseason. Relief pitchers will be in high demand and we actually have some good options, Barney would make a great defensive option for a playoff team, Hammel/Jackson could be rebound candidates we could flip as well. I would rather make a series of mini hauls than trade a possible core piece for one haul. Remember, we also have the upcoming draft that I’m sure will be pitcher heavy. Plus as much as we love our position player prospects there are some logjams at certain positions which opens up trades as well. Next offseason FA and international market too. Trading Shark is not our only option to pick up pitching and trading him could actually set us back. Plus dude is a homegrown guy.

    • DCF

      I have to agree that another selling off the pieces in the rotation would basically imply that the rebuild is going to stretch out much longer than most people hope (i.e. being competitive by 2016). On the other hand, I can’t see Shark/Wood as #2/#3, they are much more probably a #3/#4 combo. So with the rotation missing the “TOR” pieces, they aren’t going anywhere anyhow.

    • David

      I agree, dude. Lets get this done. Sign Shark and Wood, then develop the rest of the rotation. Bullpen and offense seem to be shaping up for 2015, which were major issues for the past few years.

    • Jason P

      It obviously depends on the return, but I agree. I just don’t like the idea of trading an impact arm for a return featuring only 1 guy with a realistic shot of developing into an impact arm.

    • brainiac

      of course we shouldn’t trade a guaranteed 200 inning eater for the prospect of a future 200 inning eater that might not pan out. this has nothing to do with value or quality. it has nothing to do with baseball. it has to do with a team being run by financiers who have demanded that theo install austerity measures until future notice. it’s all just PR. no baseball in chicago.

  • RoscoeVillageFan

    Brett,
    Is it possible to chill on the “shark trade implications” for every trade going forward here? Im worried its bordering on a pseudo- “shark trade chaos theory” in which a African butterfly’s wings start a massive tsunami that ends with shark being traded for crazy prospects from multiple teams. Dare to dream. Shark is still under control for a significant amount of time and so spring training is here and the focus should be on making shark 27-0. Suck it Tanaka!! And I’ll take EJax to outperform Ubaldo this year for sure esp for similar money

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Can’t bury my head in the sand, RVF. I make sure to present the alternative possibilities each time, to keep things fair.

      • farmerjon

        I get a little giddy when I allow myself to daydream about how much more awesome this site will be when the Cubs are fielding a consistently competitive team. The reality of covering a shitty team (and covering them well I might add) …it’s probably not the easiest of tasks. It goes understated, but thanks for all you do Brett. Cubs fan since ’82…obsessing since the winter of 2010 ; ) I believe I’ve become a more informed fan of not only the Cubs, butbaseball as a whole. I love baseball, I love the Cubs and I love your aanalysis, writing and style Brett, thank you ;-)

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Well thank you very much, Jon. I, too, fantasize about covering a consistently good team. I’ll have to figure out from scratch how to do the job, of course, because I’ve never done it before!

          • farmerjon

            Bruce Levine, on the Score this morning, said with the addition of a frontline starter and a catcher, he thinks the white sox could compete this year…do they have the parts to be a match?

            • Edwin

              At first glance, I don’t think they do. Their OF isn’t that good, and niether is their infield. If some of their newer/younger players like Abreu, Davidson, Eaton, and Garcia all take steps forward, they could surprise a bit, especially if some of their other players like Beckam or Ramirez get back on track. But whenever you’re playing the “if” game and depend on that many things to compete, it’s probably not a good sign.

            • YourResidentJag

              All they have is a guy like Vizceido. Not something we’d want.

              • farmerjon

                I was thinking young cost controlled arms-wise

  • Diehardthefirst

    Phillies have a big hole with Hamels likely on 60 day DL or worse- their Shark bait could be a two or three combo of Asche, Gonzalez, Ruf, Franco, and Hernandez?

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