[I've got to put it up front that I don't see the Diamondbacks (depth), A's (depth), or Braves (just signed Ervin Santana) suddenly allowing themselves to be put over a barrel by the Cubs because they've suffered some injury problems. For that reason, I really don't think it's likely that either team meets the Cubs' persistently high asking price on starter Jeff Samardzija, whom the Cubs could just as easily hold until the Trade Deadline or next offseason. I also think the pressure to get an over-the-moon return on a guy like Samardzija would be particularly high just before the season starts. No, business and clubhouse attitudes don't drive baseball transactions, but they float there at the periphery of these kinds of decisions. Trading Samardzija now for anything short of a return that leaves fans sockless for months could be ugly.]
Ok. Preamble over. On with the reports.
Bruce Levine reports that, in the wake of Patrick Corbin’s UCL injury, the Arizona Diamondbacks will once again take a serious look at Jeff Samardzija as a possible trade target. As Levine notes, however, actually making a trade with the Cubs would be difficult without the inclusion of top pitching prospect Archie Bradley, and I still don’t see that swap happening. Indeed, the Diamondbacks could just as easily fill the Corbin void with a combination of Randall Delgado and Bradley, himself. Yes, Samardzija is more of a sure thing than Bradley (and has more upside than Delgado), but he’s under contract for only two years. Bradley could be an ace for the Diamondbacks for the better part of six years if they play their cards right.
If the Diamondbacks are set on acquiring Samardzija, but also set on keeping Bradley, it’s conceivable they could try and use some of their infield depth/prospect surplus to swing a three-team trade, but those are rare for a reason.
Nick Cafardo reports that the Braves, who’ve lost Kris Medlen and (probably) Brandon Beachy to Tommy John surgery, could come after Samardzija (though they’ve publicly said that they’re done making external moves after adding Ervin Santana). Cafardo says there is “buzz” in scouting circles that the Braves might be interested in Samardzija, which is something we knew to be true back in December. You could argue that the Braves had a need for Samardzija even before the injuries (and, thus, the Santana signing shouldn’t foreclose that), so I suppose I could see something here. I’m not sure if the Braves have room in the budget for Samardzija, though, modest as his salary may be.
Finally, I didn’t hear the particulars, but there’s an MLBN Radio report (caught by BN’er Spoda) making the rounds that the A’s, who lost Jarrod Parker to Tommy John surgery, and may also lose A.J. Griffin for a period of time, have reached out to the Cubs about Samardzija. We’ll wait for something a little more solid to dig into this one too deeply, but be advised, I suppose, that it’s floating out there.