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jeff samardzija gatorade showerIt can’t be easy to be in a situation where you know that as soon as a pitcher on just about any team in baseball goes down with an injury – or there’s even a hint of an injury – you’re going to be bombarded by trade rumors and related questions.

That’s how it is for Jeff Samardzija right now. Which is not to say it’s not understandable. Samardzija is two years from free agency, and hasn’t been able to come to terms on an extension with a team that is currently in a rebuilding phase. Among the players that could potentially be dealt in the next five months, Samardzija is precisely the type you’d expect to be at the top of the list. So, when guys get injured, the rumors and questions will come.

That’s how it was yesterday with news that the Braves – already with some rotation questions – may have lost both Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to some kind of injury. Medlen is dealing with a forearm strain, which could be something more (and the Braves just now revealed that it “involves” the ligament, which is damaged – they don’t yet know the extent), and Beachy left his latest start with “biceps tightness”, which could also be something more.

In any case, knowing that the Braves and Cubs had previously discussed a Samardzija trade, and knowing now that the Braves are even more hard up for a starting pitcher, Samardzija addressed the questions yesterday as smoothly as possible.

“Just going with the flow, man,” Samardzija told Cubs.com. “I keep getting stronger and I really like how I approached this offseason with spacing it out and not throwing until a little later. I feel like I’m peaking at the right time. I can’t control [rumors] …. You’d be lying if you said things don’t cross your mind like that. I’m human, and I have different thoughts throughout the day. Sometimes the uncertainty of the situation pops in my head, for sure. Ultimately, that’s just an excuse. I want to go out there and pitch and do my job with no excuses. I’m not about to come in and say my mind’s shaken because of this or that. It’s not going to happen.”

Pretty smooth response from a guy who’s been dealing with the questions for eight months. He knows that the scouts are there every time he pitches – they were reportedly out in force once again yesterday – and all he can do is go about his business.

The future is unclear for Samardzija, though a trade – be it now to a team like the Braves, or at the Deadline to the highest bidder – still seems very likely if an extension isn’t in place soon. By all accounts, the gap between Samardzija’s extension demand and the Cubs’ extension offer remains significant enough that getting to a deal that makes sense for both sides right now doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.

As for the Braves, it could be that they’re over a barrel right now. That could mean the Cubs pounce, or it could mean that the Braves dig deep and bump up the budget to grab someone like Ervin Santana. It might depend on how the evaluations of Medlen and Beachy turn out over the next few days. Given the team’s recent spending splurge on locking up in-house talent – long-term extensions for Freddie Freeman, Craig Kimbrel, Julio Teheran, and Andrelton Simmons – I don’t see the Braves suddenly punting on 2014 because of some injuries. Instead, it seems like they’d be even more likely than most teams to make sure they add a replacement piece to put themselves in a better position to succeed.

  • itzscott

    Looking at the Cubs recent history in regards to trading a pitcher, they would be wise to pounce like yesterday on a Samardzjia trade before he develops the inevitable arm problem.

    • Chad

      Is 1 pitcher with an arm injury that they are trying to trade evidence enough that Shark will develop the INEVITABLE arm problem. No, no it is not.

      • YourResidentJag

        It’s not just potential arm problems–it’s outlier months during mid-summer and lack of a strong finish last year. If you’re trying to showcase him during that time and those things occur like they’ve occurred in the past, how is it not good to try to sell high right now?

    • itzscott

      Dempster – Garza – ???

      These things come in 3’s

      Why chance it?

      • Chad

        Dempster got traded and his injury did not affect his trade value.

  • JadeBos

    Seems like Shark and maybe Schierholtz or any one of our cadre of 4th/Platoon OFers would be good for Heyward and prospects. Heywards a big lefty bat that crushes RH and struggles with Lefties, but we could use a good OFer as the free agent market is barren and our guys (Soler and Almora) are 2 years away.

    • Edwin

      Heyward has a 91 wRC+ against LHP for his career, so I wouldn’t say he struggles with lefties. He also plays great defense, so I don’t think playing him against LHP is much of an issue.

      Heyward is much better than Shark, and probably better than Shark and Schierholtz combined. I just think the Braves gain so little in a deal like that, I don’t see why they’d take it. They’d replace their need for a SP with a need for a better RF.

      • C. Steadman

        i agree with you edwin, if they couldnt sign Heyward more than the two years that they signed him why would they trade for Shark who’s on the same timeline for free agency and wants TOR type $$ and Schierholtz who walks after this year..i think they look for long term assets if they trade Heyward or at least a better short term package

        • Edwin

          I think they’d rather part with prospects, to keep the 2014-2015 window open a little longer.

          • C. Steadman

            “I think they’d rather part with prospects”

            who’d rather part with prospects, Cubs to get Heyward or Braves to get Samardzija? I’m assuming you mean Cubs, but I think cubs are in prospect hoard mode and dont want to damage the farm by a blockbuster prospect trade…i think they’re content with graduating some guys this year to see where we’re at

            • Brocktoon

              Pretty sure he was talking about the braves

              • C. Steadman

                “to keep the 2014-2015 window open a little longer”

                okay i just saw that and thought Cubs since thats the window the FO has talked about, and because I think braves are in a good position to contend longer than that…but I do agree if braves want samardzija they try to trade prospects not a key contributor that they’ll need for a WS run

                • Brocktoon

                  I’m pretty sure the cubs FO slammed the 2014 window shut a while ago, and 2015 ain’t looking so hot either

            • Edwin

              Braves. If they really are in “win now” mode, they’re much more likely to give up future value in the form of prospects for present value in the form of MLB talent.

              • C. Steadman

                agreed, i only see a Shark for prospects trade with the Braves

              • Chad

                Agreed, all the Heyward stuff is just from this summer when the cubs asked for him or Upton (not BJ) in trade for Shark. I agree I don’t think it will happen, but if we can revisit on some prospects that would be fine by me.

                • Ivy Walls

                  Braves don’t have the prospects to make this trade without a current under control MLB player.

        • Chad

          Only difference is that Shark won’t get TOR $$ and Heyward will get stud RF money.

          • Darth Ivy

            And I want to guess that Heyward is about 4 or 5 years younger (just to point out that his stud money would overlap with more of his prime than Samardzija’s)

          • C. Steadman

            but Samardzija will walk if Braves dont offer TOR $$, why trade two years of Heyward for two years of Samardzija and one of Schierholtz

            • Chad

              I don’t think Samardzija gets TOR money anywhere. It just depends if they think they have prospects that can fit in the rotation in 2 years, or if they have OF prospects for 2 years from now. I don’t think in 2016 that either Heyward or Samardzija will be with the Braves, but I think the odds of getting a deal done with Shark are better than Heyward as he will want Freddie Freeman type of an extension from the braves. Shark wouldn’t get close to that much.

              • C. Steadman

                I bet Braves would rather spend that future $$ on locking up Minor, Medlin, and Teheran than signing shark longterm..no matter if he gives a discount since they’re winning or he’s still betting on himself and wants to get paid

                • C. Steadman

                  nevermind about Teheran, he’s locked up, still applies for Minor and Medlen since they’re in arb years right now

                • Chad

                  If Medlen has another TJ I doubt the braves bring him back. Minor, maybe. I agree, like I said somewhere else in here, I doubt they can afford to bring back either Heyward or Shark in 2016. So what do they need more right now. SP or RF. Could Schierholtz fill in enough to counter for Heyward being gone, and can the gap in SP be made up in Shark. I don’t know, but that is what the braves have to figure out.

              • JadeBos

                Yeah if Shark plays out the string he’ll probably be the same up and down guy he’s been and 31? Thats 3/4 money and maybe a Garza type deal? Adjust for inflation?

                He may have a nice early start though. Many Cubs pitchers do. Wrigley being a good pitchers park early and a good way to exploit the market.

      • JadeBos

        Heywards career slash line vs lefties is 232/312/377.

        and he has had some injuries for a young guy.

        That said it would be a great deal for the Cubs.

        • Drew7

          I still wouldn’t consider that “struggling” for a L/L split.

    • YourResidentJag

      Gotta get the Braves top SP pitching prospect. It could change the draft outcome. If the Cubs could get that now, the draft philosophy could be take the best offensive player on the board. That could mean the best offensive player in this year’s draft, if the top SP are already taken and the leftover SPs get injured before the draft or aren’t to the Cubs liking for whatever reason.

      • CubFan Paul

        Best player available is the philosophy regardless

        • YourResidentJag

          It certainly makes it easier to take the best offensive player, though, if the Cubs get a top SP prospect in a Shark trade.

          • C. Steadman

            i think Lucas Sims is a little overrated by some on this board, he isnt TOR material… i would still have to select one of the college arms if they’re available or even Kolek…Sims is good but not near the caliber of arms that could be available at #4

            • YourResidentJag

              So then does it matter that the Cubs get SP with a Shark trade based on your philosophy? You realize the Bradley, Gausman, and the like aren’t coming here with a trade of Shark.

              • C. Steadman

                no i’d still want Sims, but i don’t think it’d change the Cubs draft, i think they still select pitcher(or I want them to select pitcher) bc one of Rodon, Beede, Hoffman and Kolek will be available at #4 and if a position player gets nabbed with 1-3 then a college arm is available..but then again the FO has been known for position players 1st round then pitchers galore following

              • Norm

                What the Cubs could get for Shark will have no impact on who they decide to draft. Completely unrelated.

          • CubFan Paul

            “It certainly makes it easier to take the best offensive player”

            No it doesn’t. A spring or July trade has no bearings on the following June Draft

            • YourResidentJag

              Agree to disagree. There are always extraneous factors that have bearings on draft selection. Players regress. Players get injured.

              • CubFan Paul

                “Agree to disagree”

                Only because you’re ignoring the Cubs draft philosophy.

                • C. Steadman

                  “Only because you’re ignoring the MLB draft philosophy”

                  fixed it

                  • CubFan Paul

                    It was fine the way it was. Not every team drafts the same way.

                    • C. Steadman

                      true, Astros make some interesting picks

                • YourResidentJag

                  I see. So, the same player now that’s on the top of the draft board now for the Cubs will be the same in June. The Cubs will most likely make that decision as the draft gets closer. Why? Extraneous factors….hmmm…

                  • C. Steadman

                    “I see. So, the same player now that’s on the top of the draft board now for the Cubs will be the same in June”
                    no but having Lucas Sims in the farm system wont affect who will be at the top of the board come June

                  • CubFan Paul

                    “So, the same player now that’s on the top of the draft board now for the Cubs will be the same in June”

                    Is that a question? The answer is obviously no

                  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                    BPA every single time.

                    Wouldn’t matter if the Cubs somehow managed to trade Shark for Archie Bradley, Dylan Bundy and Clayton Kershaw, if the best player they had available come draft time is a SP, they will draft the SP. If the best player is a SS, they will draft a SS.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I sure hope that Wood can come out today and match his prior performance. I am tired of all of the Samardzija hype and at this point I would rather see him in the rear view mirror. Wanting to get paid for something that he has yet to achieve is absurd IMO. Should I get paid as a rocket scientist because I read Popular Mechanics? I’m sure the FO has been willing to sweeten the offer from the reported 5/55 million last winter. I honestly think Samardzija is betting he can get a nine figure deal in FA. Since this is going to be a year of pain and misery I think we should unload Shark and Jackson both and get a real good look at the guys like Hendricks, Jockitch and Grimm.

    • Chad

      Agree mostly. I don’t see a need to get rid of Jackson unless the return is good. His contract is a good fit for the cubs over the next 3 years and he is dependable. It would depend on the value of the return, but I don’t see it happening at least until the deadline if he pitches very well the first half and a team is very desperate.

      • Funn Dave

        Dependably mediocre….I agree that we shouldn’t shop him unless there’s a great offer, but there’s something to be said for setting our sights higher than Edwin Jackson. As for Woody’s post, I hadn’t really thought about it before, but I’m getting kinda fed up with Jeff as well. Maybe all the extension/trade talk isn’t a distraction for him, but I’m getting kinda sick of it.

        • Chad

          Agreed, we should want better, but we have him for 3 more years. Until we have someone that can replace him and perform at his level or better then why trade him unless you can upgrade your talent level.

    • Edwin

      “Should I get paid as a rocket scientist because I read Popular Mechanics”

      Are you currently one of the top 100 rocket scientists in the world? Is there a chance that over the next 4-5 seasons you might be one of the top 20 rocket scientists in the world?

      Jeff has a fairly simple calculation to make. Is it better for him to take the gauranteed money now, or be able to make it to FA in a couple seasons for a chance at a larger payout? I think realistically, he’s better off working out some kind of extention with the Cubs, but if he wants to bet on himself, I understand that.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Indeed, the analogy is an amusing combination of arrogance and ignorance. Some reading popular mechanics is to a physicist (which is what I guess woody meant: rocket science doesn’t really exist) what a sandlot football quarterback is to a MLB pitcher. Wrong game and orders of magnitude difference in talent. Shark in this example is like the guy who got tenure easily next to guys who are Academy candidates.

        Shark is one of the top pitchers that might be available through FA in a couple of years. As such, the eyes is the baseball world are on him. It really is just that simple.

  • Darth Ivy

    According to BA, 4 of the Braves’ top 5 propects are pitchers. To repeat something I haven’t written in a while, “pitching pitching pitching”

    • Chad

      The Heyward rumors come from this summer’s rumors. I think if this gets revisited it is likely for prospects, but we can dream can’t we?

      • Darth Ivy

        We’re Cubs fans. Dream on.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor

    The Braves could lock him up like their young core, but he may just be a placeholder for a year (for Medlen/Beachy) and still retain trade value for 2015, so the Braves could get a similar return for what they gave for him.

    • Chad

      Valid point, or trade Beachy or Medlen if injuries aren’t that bad and wait on the up and coming prospects to come in.

      • Darth Ivy

        oooo, ooooo, I know a team that likes to trade for injured pitchers!

        • Chad

          I am assuming that Beachy’s injury is not bad. Medlen’s sounds much worse. But if Beachy is ok he will be heading to a big payday as well, but could bring a heck of a return in trade. Again, assuming the injury is not that bad and he can pitch most of this year healthy.

  • waittilthisyear

    heyward would be a dream come true. injury history is a bit disconcerting, especially with those bricks behind the ivy, but that kid is a stud and will only get better. i hope the braves start feeling a little desperate, but 3 shakes of the magic 8 ball later, the best answer is “ask again later”

    • Funn Dave

      Yeah, I wouldn’t get your hopes up too high….

  • DarthHater

    “I want to go out there and pitch and do my job with no excuses. I’m not about to come in and say my mind’s shaken because of this or that. It’s not going to happen.”

    Wow, what a head case.

    • Edwin

      Man, the ego on that guy. It’s always “I” with him, never “we”.

  • Mike Moody

    FWIW, the Braves guy at the AJC seems to think that Santana is a very real possibility and that either Josh Beckett or the return of our old buddy Paul Maholm from the Dodgers could happen, but considers other big trades — presumably including Samardzija — “not worth talking about.”

    This could have an impact on Jeff, though. Going a couple steps forward, if the Braves do sign Santana, the Blue Jays are left without a date to Prom and might just be willing to part with Stroman and Sanchez to get Samardzija.

    • TulaneCubs

      The Dodgers just signed Maholm, so he can’t be traded until later in the season, an error on the AJC guy’s part. Or, at least, he can’t be traded without his consent? Not exactly sure if he can accept the trade prior to the time that he’s tradeable.

  • C. Steadman

    Kris Medlin’s “strained forearm” has now been upgraded to “injury to the ligament”….not looking good

    • Diehardthefirst

      Braves may need 2 pitchers and Shark with Porcello would give them edge- maybe a 4 team trade of monumental proportions could be worked out involving 10 players – Kudos to Theo if could improve Cubs this way

  • Austin8466

    I’m glad he handles the rumors well, but the obvious solution here is to just sign the extension. Is it not?

    Trade rumors: poof!

  • Justin

    Edwin Jackson and for Lucas Sims with the Cubs paying a lot of Edwin’s salary? Maybe the Cubs add Villanueva too. Essentially buying a prospect. Seems pretty fair to me.

    • Jon

      Fran Wren: “click”

      • Justin

        If the Cubs paid 100% of Jackson’s salary he would hang up? I am not a Edwin Jackson fan really, but seems pretty fair for a team built to win now.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          Upside of prospects are worth more then Edwin Jackson. This isn’t fantasy baseball

        • C. Steadman

          I don’t think the Braves care to give up their best prospect for Edwin Jackson. They have Gavin Floyd and Freddy Garcia who can get the same results while keeping Sims. Heck, David Hale could do probably just as good as EJax. To get Sims, it’ll take Shark.

        • Jon

          A team built to win now is selling out for Edwin Jackson.

          • Jon

            isn’t

  • Diehardthefirst

    Good thing Theo not taking advantage of Ricketts ignorance about running a team by holding back on promoting hot shots out of fear they may fail until he is re-signed for 5 yrs more at double the salary- Theo would never think of doing that would he? Nahhhhh

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