jeff samardzija gatorade showerThe answer to that question seems like an obvious “yes” at this point, bordering on rhetorical. With the offseason essentially in the rearview, and with teams generally constructed in the way they want for the first half of 2014, at least, major trades during Spring Training are rare.

That said, a few significant free agents remain unsigned, and the offseason has definitely stretched much later than usual this year. A handful of teams that appeared to be dead set on acquiring a quality starting pitcher back in November have made no such acquisition. Maybe there’s a big trade left yet before Opening Day.

Which, of course, leads us to Jeff Samardzija (were we Rays fans, I suppose it would lead us to David Price – but, given that they actually project to be good this year, it would be much more difficult for the Rays to deal Price at this time). Gordon Wittenmyer checked in with three industry sources about the possibility of a pre-season trade of Samardzija. Two said it remained possible, while the third said that no such talks are happening.

As Wittenmyer notes, and as other media have discussed, Cubs manager Rick Renteria declined recently to name Samardzija his Opening Day starter, citing the unknown things that can pop up between now and then. Of course, he could have simply meant injury, but the looming cloud of trade rumors makes you wonder. If RR is leaving open the slim possibility that Samardzija won’t be with the Cubs come Opening Day to start their first game, then perhaps we, too, should leave open that possibility.

In the end, the Cubs figure to keep their asking price extremely high on Samardzija from now through June. If a team like the Blue Jays, which clearly needs another starter, decides to finally part with their top pitching prospects, then the Cubs will likely pull the trigger regardless of the date on the calendar. Otherwise, the Cubs will re-evaluate come July. Unless there have been dramatic steps forward in extension negotiations, the Cubs will probably have to bite the bullet and take the best trade offer they get. Fortunately, there are reasons to believe that Samardzija’s value in trade at the Trade Deadline will be at least as high as it is now.

  • Fishin Phil

    I think Renteria’s reply was more of a not painting himself into a corner answer. They haven’t even played their first spring game yet.

    • pfk

      Agree. No sense in committing, at they time, to anything or anyone. I wouldn’t read anything into it at all.

  • David

    I hope he is, & think he will be. There are so many other questions/ positions to get straightened out before we do anything drastic like trade him. What if, say 8 of 10 possible scenarios come out positive for us? Like: Arrieta, Lake and Olt have great 1st halves? Baez, Alcantera & Bryant have awesome spring trainings and great April/ May??? Bullpen is lights out? If a good % of these are positives, I say Shark becomes a must sign.

  • Idaho Razorback

    It think the Cubs will trade Samardzida right before opening day. I remember sometime in the late 90’s the Reds traded their projected opening day starter Dave Burba to the Indians for top prospect Sean Casey and the Reds took heat for the trade at the time. I think we will get someone’s top prospect right before opening day for Samardzida and we’ll be laughing about it for the next 10 years.

  • nate1m

    Does opening day starter really matter? Its really just an acknowledgement of ability or a reward(?) for past results. By that logic, Wood deserves at least a shot to be the opening day starter. As to whether or not Shark is a Cub, we will see.

    • Edwin

      I think more is made out of “opening day starter” than is warranted. In the big picture, opening day starter might not matter too much. 30+ starts is 30+ starts, regardless.

    • CubFan Paul

      “By that logic, Wood deserves at least a shot to be the opening day starter”

      I’d rather his back-end repertoire not be matched up against the better starters of the league if it can be avoided.

      • Brocktoon

        That’s not how it works. An openig day started is almost as likely to pitch against 5s as they are 1s the rest of the season

        • CubFan Paul

          “if it can be avoided” – Opening Day

  • arta

    no big thing.

  • Joker

    Clearly, ol’ RR wants to run another pitcher out there on opening day – it’s a CONSPIRACY! If we see Wood or Jackson, IT’S ALL RICKETTS FAULT!

  • Jon

    Unless it’s a Bradley, Walker, Tallon or Bundy coming back, I’d rather sign him to an extension rather then set the “actually try” year back another season.

    • Jon

      forgot Syndergaard

    • itzscott

      What do you think Renteria’s nickname should be…..

      Happy, Slappy or Slap Happy?

    • FullCountTommy

      For the most part I agree with you (and I’d add Gausman, Zimmer, Ventura, and Giolito to that list), but I think if they can get their asking price of Stroman AND Sanchez they have to pull the trigger

  • Blackhawks1963

    I don’t see Samardzija getting traded. Not now, probably not at the deadline either. I’ve had a change of opinion on this. Unless TheoJed are blown away by a trade offer then it becomes in the vested interest of this team to keep him for at least one more season and pray like hell he takes the next step on the mound.

    We aren’t going to build a pitching staff out of thin air. WHile there is a growing list of nice pitching prospects in the system, pitching prospects are notoriously fickle and you have never have enough good young pitching. More importantly, we aren’t going to buy ourselves frontline pitching in free agency. It’s either going to be homegrown, or it’s going to be acquired via major trade (e.g., trading Starlin Castro next winter if Baez can be the shortstop of the future).

    Who out there is going to pay the Cubs what they would want for Samardzija right now? Answer is nobody I can think of. That might change mid-season, but more than likely not. Reevaluate next winter. And no, there is no damned bloody sense of urgency to get Samardzija signed to a new contract yet. He wants to bet on himself and the Cubs surely know they won’t sign him to favorable terms at this point. Plus, there is still uncertainty enough with his pitching to make it highly unwise in my opinion to dole out $100 M plus to the guy…at least right now.

    • Noah_I

      I’ve said this before about Samardzija, and I’ll say it again now. I think what you’re seeing is discrepancies in valuations, and the Cubs have two different valuations of Samardzija, depending on if they are discussing extending him or trading.

      In the extension context, Samardzija appears to want to be paid like a top of the rotation type of pitcher, or at least a fringe 1. I think he wants something between the Anibal Sanchez contract (5 years/$80 million) and the Homer Bailey contract (6 years/$105 million). The Cubs are offering him mid-rotation type of money, and I think they want something in the vicinity of the Matt Harrison contract (5 years/$55 million).

      In the trade market, the Cubs want the sort of return you’d get for a fringe top of rotation pitcher. Two top 100 types, headlined by at least a Top 50 prospect. The teams they are having discussions with, however, want to give up what would be expected for a mid-rotation starter. Something headlined by someone in the back half of Top 100 lists, with a couple of other guys in the back half of their organizational top 10 (presuming an average farm system).

      By mid-season this year, you have a chance that some of those valuations will align. Either Samardzija will continue to be inconsistent, or he’ll show enough of that top of the rotation potential to make it more than just something to hope on. If Samardzija looks like a mid-rotation pitcher in July, or next offseason, either he is going to have to accept a contract extension more in the Matt Harrison range or the Cubs are going to have to accept a lesser return in a trade than their current demands. If he looks like at least a legit 2, the opposite will happen.

  • Javier Bryant

    Mariners and Blue Jays seem to be the most likely. I’d take Sanchez, Stroman and a couple other decent prospects. Mariners don’t match up as well though, besides Paxton and Walker(Who we would NOT be getting) there isn’t much there besides maybe Nick Franklin

  • Baseball_Writes

    When talking about a David Price trade, I would posit it is MORE likely he gets traded before the season because they project to be good. The Rays would get killed for trading him in the middle of a pennant race and he is much more valuable now as opposed to after the season when he only has one year of control left. And, while they might take some flack for trading him now, the fallout would be much less than midseason, especially if they get pieces back that can help them this year.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Tampa Bay has a serious shot at the World Series. At this point it would be highly unlikely they trade David Price. At least not until next offseason.

      • Baseball_Writes

        His value would be so low next year, I kind of would not see the value in at that point. Add in the risk factor this year, plus the idea that traded him midseason if they are in it would crush the fan base, I really think it makes much more sense to explore every opportunity to do it now and try to replace him in the rotation. With whom – I don’t know.

  • Jon

    How about this 3 way:

    Chicago Cubs IN: Noah Synderguard.
    Chicago Cubs OUT: Jeff Samardzija

    METS IN: Carlos Gonzales, Jeff Samardzija
    METS OUT: Ike Davis, Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Synderguard

    ROCKIES IN: Ike Davis, Travis d’Arnaud
    ROCKIES OUT: Carlos Gonzales, Eddie Butler

    Cubs get what they want, moving Shark for a top 5 pitcher in the minors that is about a year or so away.

    Met’s get Shark and Cargo, and impact bat for that outfield who is also cost controlled for the next three years, and a Butler, to help replenish the farm from trading Synderguard. They also offload the troubled Ike Davis who is having trouble with the media and probably needs a change of scenery

    Rockies: Rumors are they are looking to move Cargo anyways, so I think d’Arnaud is fair return. Ike Davis could be a ‘Chris Davis’ like 1B reclamation project, with a change of scenery. (Morneau is not a long term solution)

    • C. Steadman

      Mets dont have a starting catcher anymore(Recker and Centeno are the only other two on the roster) and Rockies now have Rosario and D’Arnaud

      • C. Steadman

        i dont know if mets are kean on parting with D’Arnaud without either getting Castillo or Rosario

    • Brocktoon

      That’s some kind of bad deal for the rockies

    • FullCountTommy

      The Rockies are not getting near enough (by a wide margin) in return for Cargo and Butler. Butler is a top 50 prospect, Ike Davis is beyond useless and d’Arnaud has injury history and most likely won’t stick at catcher. However, if I’m the Mets I scream yes, declare no take-backs, and hang up before the Cubs and Rockies have a chance to change their mind

    • hansman

      So why are the Rockies involved again?

      Looks to me you have two separate trades where the Mets are taking both teams to town.

      • C. Steadman

        and is Eddie Butler all-a-sudden a free agent?

      • Jon

        I don’t think the Cubs are getting taking to town, I think most Cub fans would take a Shark/Synderguard swap straight up. I didn’t suggest a straight swap, because for the Mets, I think they would hesitate a bit on Shark/Synderguard because Alderson is a semi smart guy and i think he would budge at trading a bit of the future for some of the present, but give them Cargo to boot, and I think they jump at the chance to get in the 80+ wins category, especially with the NY pressure

        • Jon

          So someone has to give the Rockies a bit more, the Cubs or the Mets?

          If you look at the the top 5 pitchers in the minors, outside of the Jays (and Sanchez is probably just outside the top 5)I don’t see any of those teams making desperate moves. (for Shark straight up of course) which is why I think a 3 way might be intriguiing.

          • FullCountTommy

            The deal isn’t awful for the Cubs, but the Rockies are getting absolutely fleeced. If you took out Butler, and had the Mets sending a guy like Rafael Montero to the Rockies as well, then you are much closer, but it’s still likely not enough for them to be interested

          • JacqueJones

            This isn’t a three way trade though. these are simply two independent two way trades. there is no interaction between the Cubs and the Rockies. This is

            1. Cubs trade Samardzija for snydergaard.

            2. Rockies trade Cargo and Butler for Darnaud, and Davis

            Idk anything bout Snydergaard so idk if this is a good deal for the cubs but this is just plain dumb for the rockies

    • Luke

      If that is all it’s going to take to land Cargo, I hope the Cubs ditch the three-way and swing a deal for him straight up. That’s is a very meh return for one of the best hitters in the game right now.

      Shark for Synderguard straight up I probably would turn down right now, if I were the Cubs. I’m not as high on Syndergard as I am on, say, Walker or Bradley, and (even with those two guys out of the picture) I suspect the Cubs could assemble a somewhat better package elsewhere.

    • Isaac

      This is so laughably slanted towards the Mets, it makes me wonder if we’ve finally found the team you actually root for. The Rockies don’t even begin to think about discussing even Cargo in that deal, let alone another stud arm.

  • jonred

    At some point, the Cubs will need 3-4 strong veteran presences to support the development of our prospect base. I think Samardzija is one of those guys. He’s still young (with an arm more like that of a 26-year-old due to starting out as a reliever), he is comfortable in the spokesperson role, and he’s a leader with the competitive drive to win (unlike some of our recent veterans like Soriano, Ramirez and Z). With the right veteran/prospect balance, the Cubs could contend as early as 2016, but if we go all prospects, you can push the timetable back 1-2 years.

    • Edwin

      Zambrano didn’t have a competative drive?

      • Blackhawks1963

        Don’t confuse rage, raw emotion and immaturity as “competitve drive.”

        • Edwin

          I won’t.

        • Cheese Chad

          Ha, well said.

      • mjhurdle

        If you don’t like the player or he doesn’t play for your team, then it is “rage, raw-emotion, immaturity, and bad clubhouse presence”.
        If you like him or he is on your team, then it is “intensity, will-to-win, competitive desire, and leadership that will hold others accountable.”

  • CubFanBob

    100% sure I heard Theo or Jed mention on a 670 score interview that the Shark would be the opening day pitcher…though this was close to a month ago.

  • Blackhawks1963

    When / if Arizona is willing to part with Archie Bradley…or Washington with Anthony Giolito…then a trade for Samardzija is more likely to happen.

    One of things working against Samardzija’s current trade value is the fact that the Cubs aren’t rushing to sign him up to Homer Bailey money, which I’m assuming is the benchmark that Samardzija and his agent are gunning for. This could the case of the Cubs feeling no current pressure to talk new contract…OR, it could mean the Cubs simply don’t see Samardzija in the class of a Bailey or any of the $100 M club of pitchers. And if the Cubs think the later, then I’m guessing other scouts and teams think the same. Nobody wants to ponder it here because of the negativity, but I suspect TheoJed might simply view Samardzija as a mid-rotation type starter. OF course they aren’t going to say that to you, me, or the market. But…

    • Jon

      1-4 the Nationals will role with

      The last thing they need is another starter. What an embarrament of riches

      • Blackhawks1963

        Best team in the National League in 2014 is my guess. That team is loaded all over the place. If Harper breaks through and if Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth can stay reasonably healthy then that team will be enormously tough to beat.

        • Edwin

          A Dodgers Nationals series would be a fun one to watch.

          • Blackhawks1963

            Nationals, Dodgers and Cardinals look to be the Big 3 in 2014. The Braves and Giants bear watching, but I don’t see them in the league of aforementioned Big 3. Pirates are deeply talented with a great future, but I’m uncertain what to expect for them this season.

            I will root for the Nationals. Lets see if rookie manager Matt Williams can be a fast learner…he inherited a supremely deep club, a great front office and a billionaire owner who wants to win and is willing to invest in how you build a winner.

            • Edwin

              I root for the Dodgers, just because I like having a team that can play the “villain” card in the playoffs.

              I’ll root for the Nationals too, though. Stras is great to watch, I hope he can take that next step like Justin Verlander and start going deeper in games.

              • C. Steadman

                i’ll root for anyone without a couple birds sitting on a bat on the front of their jersey or any scrambled version of the letters L, S, T on their cap

      • YourResidentJag

        I’m curious to see how the Nationals rebound this year. If they don’t, I wonder if the Cubs make a push for Jordan Zimmerman. He signed a two-year extension through 2015 and his peripherals are solid.

  • roz
  • pfk

    Nothing new here. We’ve covered every scenario on the planet. Lets move beyond this to “new” news. The Samardzija speculation is getting old.

  • Jason Powers

    I guess if we want that complex 3 way deal:
    Cubs: J. Paxton, R. Montero, C K. Plawecki, Danny Hultzen (Vizcaino comp)
    Mariners: Samardzija, Ruggiano or Lake
    Mets: SS N. Franklin, 3b J. Candelario

    Not saying its ideal. Cubs get two arms…and a prospect catcher.
    Mariners get their better arm with a RH outfielder that can hit lefties…as they have too many lefties on the roster that cant hit them.

    Mets get another option at SS/2B. Plus a developmental 3b for the day when Wright goes wrong.

    Again…wed all want Syndergaard or Walker…but thats not gonna happen to me. Cubs get quantity and Paxton might be a steal…jmo.

    • C. Steadman

      nice trade, mets might be a little unhappy with that, might rather have brad miller, which opens up the mariners to continue their spending spree for stephen drew?..thats just my two cents…applaud your reasoning though Jason

      • Jason Powers

        Since Jack is non plussed by C Jesus Montero…he could kick that overweight guy in. He needs a change of scenery. And Bartolo Colon can mentor! Ha ha.

        • C. Steadman

          heaviest P/C battery in the history of MLB with Montero catching Colon???

    • Jon

      What’s Paxton ceiling? I was under the impression it was a back of the rotation at best. As, for Hultzen, remember we got Vizcaino for a Maholm , so a prospect like that, that is who we flip Hammel for.

      It’s interesting, but if Shark is having a good year, and the M’s are desperate, the Cubs should and can demand more.

      • YourResidentJag

        Not very good. Seattle isn’t advisable to me as a trade partner, as others have stated.

      • Jason Powers

        Paxton has velocity of a number one. Control issues…but his secondary offerings might blossim under our pitching coach whisperer…

        Hultzen might be done…18 months to two years with his shoulder.
        If shark is bad.. then you get less too. Risk reward…

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    Eh, I feel like Renteria didn’t want to name someone he just met. I listened to the comments. I mean, look, the Cubs’ loan All-Star last year just happens to be PITCHER Travis Wood. You, me, and Renteria’s sister can all tell Shark is a better pitcher, but Wood produced better last year–luck or not. And if Wood has a great spring and Shark kinda blows chunks, how do you look Wood in the eye and say, sorry this guy has long flowing hair and was the opening day guy last year, so we’re sticking with him? (It’d still be a hard choice to make, and he’d at least 50/50 come down on Shark, but who wants his hands tied in February?)

  • woody

    So now Boras rips AA a new ass like he tried to do to Theo. If anybody does pull the trigger it will be the Jays. If we keep Samardzija for another season his value decreases giving that team only one year of control and that year is an arbitration year. It’s like this. Shark believes he is going to do great things this year and prove he is worth the TOR money. He a gambler and willing to roll the dice on himself. The FO see him as a middle of rotaion guy with stuff to be the TOR guy. So he sits on the fringe so to speak. Now if indeed he does show TOR stuff to open the season I think they have to be glad that they have him and get him signed. But the risk is that he continues to be inconsistant and his trade value remains the same and a half of year of control is lost which diminishes his value. Maybe Shark is a river boat gambler, but I see Theo as a more pragmatic type. They have to be feeling the frustration of trying to come to terms with him and getting nowhere. Another thing not being talked about is the precident that this is setting for the younger players whom the FO would like to lockup to team friendly contracts. We have to keep in mind that Shark was rather vocal about last years sell off and expressed his displeasure in a public way He is the only hold over from the Hendry era. I think at some point real soon they give him the ultimatum to sign or be dealt. I have to believe that Theo and Jed are getting tired of this shit.

  • Diehardthefirst

    As I reported this am before sun up Mgr Rick spilled the beans on Shark swimming away soon- how about to Seattle for Franklin et al

  • woody

    Here’s a link about Santana’s workout today in front of scouts. He coulld barely muster 81 mph on his fastball.

    • Diehardthefirst

      Best deal never made

      • Brocktoon

        What deal?

    • MichiganGoat

      Are we confusing Johan with Ervin Santana here? Johan is a reclamation project nobody wants and Ervin is the free agent tied to draft pick compensation. Very different players right now.

      • woody

        I guess I was. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Can u name Santana’s 10 greatest hits and don’t mean HR?

    • woody

      oye como va

  • Diehardthefirst

    Evil Ways and Black Magic Woman are two

  • another JP

    I don’t believe money is necessarily the issue with Shark. It appears the NTC is a deal-breaker as far as Theo’s concerned and I’d be surprised if Samarjdiza is still a Cub on July 31.

    • woody

      Personally I think it is stupid to say ‘ never ” give a no trade clause. If they move Shark then they might as well move Jackson as too. And Hammel too. And kiss 2015 goodbye!

      • another JP

        Well, everything has a price doesn’t it? If Shark or any other player wants a NTC bad enough, they should sign at a discount. Or maybe a limited NTC could be arranged. Talking it out never hurt anything, you know? And I wouldn’t quite kiss 2015 goodbye if those 3 pitchers were dealt, none are TOR types and are easily replaceable.

      • DCF

        What is there to kiss goodbye for 2015 anyway? Even if all the prospects make it and perform great at MLB level, that will not magically turn the team around from a doormat in 2014 to a contender in 2015. It’s only one step in the right direction. I.e. the roation is missing 2 TOR starters and there is no sign that this will change anytime soon. If they trade Shark (which I guess will happen sooner or later), the rotation is basically a blank canvas. Nothing against Wood, Jackson etc. but OK #4 and #5 starters are nothing to build anything from.

        • Chad

          You realize that if all of the prospects make it and are legit then adding two pitchers could happen through FA (Scherzer, Lester, and Masterson still available) or through trade. If the prospect influx does happen I will be highly enthused about 2015. Now, not all of them will have that impact, and likely most if not all of those pitchers will be extended, but I will wait until after this season is over before I start worrying about 2015. A lot can happen.

  • Jr 25

    Think Toronto us starting to feel a bit desperate. If Shark has a few good Spring outing and one of the Jays back end guys struggle it’s BYE BYE to Shark.