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jeff samardzija gatorade showerYesterday, we discussed some of the possible buyers in the Jeff Samardzija market this Summer, should the Cubs yield and make their best efforts to trade the 29-year-old right-hander while his value is at its highest. One of the teams I added to the pot was the Colorado Rockies – and why not? They need pitching, they’ve got a solid offensive core in place (with a window potentially closing in the next couple years as Troy Tulowitzki exits his prime and Carlos Gonzalez reaches free agency), and they should have enough flexibility to take on a reasonable contract like that of Samardzija. The Rockies sit five games over .500, and in second place in the NL West. With a better rotation, they could legitimately go places this year.

And, what do you know, today, Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla is pushing hard for the Rockies to pursue Jeff Samardzija.

To be quite clear: my read is that this is simply a local columnist arguing that the Rockies should be “going for it” this year, and using Samardzija/Gray as the template for that conversation. Don’t misconstrue this as a report that this kind of thing is actually being discussed.

That said, it is relevant in the sense that, where there is a columnist making this push, there is some sentiment in the market for a buyer’s course of action. Does that push a team to actually buy? Not entirely on its own, but it’s a small part of the calculus (smaller/larger depending on the front office, the market, the fan support and revenue relationship, etc.). So it’s relevant. That’s as far as I’m going.

As for a specific deal, Kiszla suggests that the Rockies should part with Jonathan Gray, the big-time right-handed pitching prospect whom the Rockies took in the draft just after the Cubs took Kris Bryant last year. Setting aside the procedural hurdle to a trade like that – Gray cannot be traded until one year after he signed, which is June 12 – it’s an interesting question for Cubs fans and Rockies fans alike. Is that a fair swap?

On the one hand, you’ve got a guy pitching out of his mind, and who has already established that he can be an upper tier starter in the big leagues. On the other hand, you’ve got a guy who is under control only for a year and a half more, and who doesn’t have a long track record of that previously-mentioned success. Both hands there belong to Jeff Samardzija.

Jon Gray is a top 15/30 prospect in all of baseball, and one of the best pitching prospects in the minors. He’s likely to be able to contribute meaningfully in 2015, and is an ideal trade target for the Cubs. But, knowing what we know about pitcher injuries, would the Cubs want to put all of their Jeff Samardzija trade eggs into one basket like that? (For what it’s worth, the Rockies have another top 30 pitching prospect in Eddie Butler, but there’s no way they’d part with both in a Samardzija deal.) And would the Rockies really be willing to trade an elite young arm, knowing how hard it is to get those guys to come to Colorado if you don’t groom them yourself?

In some ways, this is merely a thought experiment, because we’re still several weeks away from any kind of serious trade discussions/rumors/activity. And a lot can happen in that time.

For now, though, it’s interesting to think about this kind of one-for-one swap. It’s also interesting to think about the Rockies emerging as serious bidders for Samardzija, if and when he becomes a highly sought after trade piece. Not only do the Rockies boast some interesting upper tier arms, but they’ve also got some nice bats that could slot into the Cubs’ outfield sooner rather than later (Corey Dickerson certainly comes to mind).

I’ll dig in more on specific names and possibilities if and when this becomes a legit trade rumor. For now, just something to mull.

  • J

    I would think both sides would include additional (lesser) players, which will mildly lessen the one-for-one analysis. I don’t think Rockies would do this, unless in late July they are looking at a World Series.

    • Chad

      They need bullpen help as well. Surely we have something that is good enough to trade to them along with Shark. I actually love this for the cubs and wish it could come true.

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

      In all honesty, the Rockies probably know what we have with Hammel, but wouldn’t want to give up Gray in order to get Samardzija, since the option is always there for them to call up Gray to help the bullpen now. With Gonzalez aging and Cuddyer a free agent next year, this is the small window when they need to make a move early. I’ve banged the Corey Dickerson drum earlier than most people here and that was before the Rockies had traded Dexter Fowler.

      If the Brett Anderson contract is hurting their pocketbook, maybe they’ll target cheaper starting pitching a la, Chris Rusin, Tsuyoshi Wada, or Eric Jokisch, all lefty starters in AAA at the moment. I think it’s the move they want to make, but if we dish out a starter to a potential suitor for Samardzija, that’d be hurting our cause. I guess it would depend on who they offered us. Other than Christian Bergman, their AAA pitching is horrendous.

      • Chad

        I apologize, I had a hard time following some of that. 1. They need a SP and relief pitcher. Shark takes the SP role and cubs have a few decent relievers they could trade. Moving Gray to the bullpen only solves the reliever issue, still a huge hole in the rotation.

        2. Will Chris Rusin, Wada, or Jokisch make them a contender? Uh, no.

        3. The cubs don’t need a AAA pitching prospect. If they got Gray+ or Butler+ in a trade for Samardzija, yeah, the cubs do that every day.

        4. I don’t understand what this means: “I think it’s the move they want to make, but if we dish out a starter to a potential suitor for Samardzija, that’d be hurting our cause.”

  • Rebuilding

    Butler, Dickerson and Ryan McMahon (http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=mcmaho000rya) is my ideal trade for Samardzija.

    • David

      I like.

  • Transmogrified Tiger

    I would think a more likely outcome would be Hammel to the Rockies. They know he can pitch well in that environment, the cost wouldn’t be as franchise-altering as needing to include Gray or Butler+ to get Shark, and they may have some ancillary guys the Cubs could be interested in. Maybe something centered around Hammel and Dickerson? I dunno.

  • gocatsgo2003

    I just posted this elsewhere before this thread went up, so I’ll put it here as well… given the way the FO seems to be handling the Shark trade situation (i.e. name a very VERY high price and wait for the market to come to them, especially with Shark putting together a pretty incredible season), I wouldn’t be surprised if they tell the Rockies they want BOTH Gray and Butler. Then they sit back and wait to see what develops at the deadline.

    • King Jeff

      If their asking price was Stroman and Sanchez from Tor, and Heyward or Upton from Atl, then I would hope that they are asking for Gray and more. To me, Gray has a lot of red flags in regards to future arm trouble, and I hope the Cubs get more than one top prospect in return because TINSTAAP, and Cubs luck.

      • mjhurdle

        Agree 100%.
        I don’t think the Cubs would have any interest in a Gray for Shark straight swap.
        I think it would have to be Gray++ if Shark keeps pitching as well as he had this year.

      • Norm

        You’re going to be rich when you share your secrets about these ‘red flags to future arm trouble’ with MLB.

      • Edwin

        What red flags?

        • King Jeff

          His weight, his delivery, his workload in high school and somewhat in college. He throws hard, and pitchers like him seem to be falling off like flies lately.

          • Edwin

            Those are general things that you could throw at any pitcher.

            • King Jeff

              Yes, one with a large build, who has an inconsistent delivery, who pitches in the upper 90s and has pitched year round for the last 5 year straight before he was drafted.

              • gocatsgo2003

                Before this thread, I don’t think I have seen anyone make any kind of comment on Gray’s weight or build being a detriment. Moreover, the Rockies limited him to no more than five innings per start and he accumulated 163 innings last year between college and pro ball — definitely a decent number, but not crazy outrageous. I’ve also seen his delivery decribed as pretty efficient, so I’m not sure where you’re going with all this.

                • Edwin

                  for what it’s worth, his walk rate in the minors so far this season has been 3.5%, so if control is associated with consistent delivery, I’d say his delivery seems consistent.

                • King Jeff

                  In my post, I said, “to me” he has issues. That means that I think he has issues, I then explained those issues, that’s where I was going. He is a large kid, and his weight has fluctuated since his high school days when he was originally drafted. I haven’t seen him pitch this year, but in his college tape, he seemed fall of the mound a lot and his arm came forward at strange angles at times, that’s why I see possible delivery issues. While he was pitching in college and HS, he was also pitching in summer leagues, which is why I said he had high usage before he was drafted and mentioned nothing of what the Rockies did. Jose Fernandez only threw 170 innings last year, so the workload issues are from usage before these guys come up. I don’t want to see the Cubs give up Samardzija for one top pitching prospect, that’s all was saying.

              • Edwin

                Exactly. Vague things that you can pretty much attach to almost any pitcher. All your doing is desribing Jon Gray, except giving everything a negative slant. You can do that with any pitcher.

                • King Jeff

                  Somewhat, yes. I wan’t being purposely negative toward Gray, just stating that the idea of trading Shark for one, young high powered arm is not the perfect scenario in my book. I could probably nitpick with every pitching prospect in baseball and find things to worry about, so you are correct in that regard.

  • Ben G

    I am sure the Cubs would have some interest in David Dahl. A package of Butler + Dahl and a decent ancillary piece would have a decent chance of being an acceptable offer

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Jonathan Gray? Yes please. I’ll take him and 2 lower level high ceiling pitching prospect for Samardzija

  • MightyBear

    Trade the Shark AND Hammel to the Rocks for Gray, Butler and another lesser prospect (Not Dickerson). Two major league starters pitching well now for two future prospects. Cubs could also throw in some cash.

    • Ben G

      I highly doubt they would include Gray and Butler in any deal. I would be pretty pleased with Gray or Butler + Dahl

  • Edwin

    I’d think the Rockies would be hesitant to trade Gray, especially with him being a top pitching prospect so close to MLB. He could help them in their current competative window as soon as 2015, and stick around for the next competative window.

    • MightyBear

      I do think we over estimate how soon these prospects will be ready. Gray is only in AA and is pitching well but not dominating. He may not be ready until 2016 or 17 and that’s w/o an injury. Even if these guys went to college, they are usually 21 or 22 when they come out. Very few major league-rs are 22 when they come up.

  • Javier Bryant

    They’d probably be more inclined to trade Butler then Gray

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      And the Cubs would rather trade me than Javier Baez, but that’s not necessarily the issue. :)

      • YourResidentJag

        No. The issue is why the Rockies would give into the Cubs demands, trade for Shark (knowing that they may not want or be able to extend him), and then give up the SP they’ve have problems sustaining their at Coors Field, despite knowing that they always have had lesser problems constructing a solid offense.

        • YourResidentJag

          *there

          • jammin502

            Because there is always a limited window when you think you can win a World Series. A prospect that may come up in 2015 or 2016 doesn’t help them win now. Shark is a guy that could help them win now. And to get a guy like Shark is not cheap. If the Cubs were off to a great start this year and felt there was a guy out there available that could help them get over the top, you’d probably be hearing that player’s team asking for Baez, Bryant, etc. It don’t always work out. Just ask the Rangers …

            • Brocktoon

              I wish we got a prospect close to Gray in the Garza trade.

      • SirCub

        I dunno. I heard you put up an insane slash line in the Mid-West Kickball League last year…

  • itzscott

    Got to wonder if the Cubs were in the same position as the Rockies are now, would they trade Kris Bryant for possibly 1 1/2 years of Samardzjia?

    • Brocktoon

      No, and they’d be silly to. The Rockies would just call up Gray rather than trade him for Shark. Butler’s a different story.

      • itzscott

        Duh.

        That wasn’t the point of the question.

        • Brocktoon

          What was the point of the question?

    • smackafilieyo

      Well rangers did for garza…haha

      • Brocktoon

        Rangers did what for Garza?

        • smackafilieyo

          Gave up a bunch of top prospects for half a years services…

          • Brocktoon

            The Rangers gave up one top prospect, one with questions about his viability to stick in the rotation, for half a year of service.

            • Chad

              A few things here.
              1. Shark > Garza
              2. 1.5 years > .5 years of control
              3. If Shark does walk they get a comp pick for him

              Shark is worth a lot more. I would rather see them get Butler and Dickerson than just Gray, but Gray would be the better pitching prospect in return. Wonder what they could really swing, especially if they included a reliever that the Rockies badly need.

    • BlameHendry

      Not with the way Bryant has been performing. I think it’s safe to say Gray has not had nearly the kind of season Bryant has had so far. If Bryant was having Gray type of season right now, than maybe.

      • CubsFaninMS

        It is easy to say this now but, looking back on it ten years from now, I think there will be a significant difference in career WAR of Bryant and Gray. My guess is that we will be very satisfied with our #2 selection last year.

      • Edwin

        Comparing pitching prospects and hitting prospects is tough. Pitchers are more risky, so to compensate a pitching prospect is usually worth less than a similar ranked hitting prospect.

    • ssckelley

      That is not the same comparison at all. Top pitching prospects have a much longer shot at being good MLB players than top position player prospects. For the Cubs to get a fair deal from anyone for Shark they should be getting 2 top pitching prospects in return. If I remember correctly 1/3rd of the top 20 pitching prospects make it in the big leages, so 2 would put that to 66%.

  • jh03

    Lets focus on happy things, guys:

    Albert Almora just hit a 2 run homer.

    I also passed my ethics class because of Brett’s help. Thank you for that. lol.

    Oh, and #FireTheo is pretty much the best thing ever.

    • MightyBear

      Congrats on passing ethics. We do need more happy things around here.

    • itzscott

      If you think you’re having a good day, check this out….. I just got a great deal on my car insurance and I’m staying at a Holiday Inn Express tonite after I have a delicious meal at Golden Corral.

      • CubsFaninMS

        Did you experience the chocolate wonderfall, where everyone wonders what fell into it?

  • GoCubsGo

    That headline! So enticing. Even the Rockies FO couldn’t misinterpret that. I’d be on board.

  • Zoolander

    The Rockies are first in the majors in most offensive categories, including runs, doubles, homers, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS.

    However, when it comes to the playoffs, it’s more about pitching and defense. I think IF they have a good feeling in June that they could be a World Series championship team, that they would trade one of the top pitching prospects, Jon Gray and Eddie Butler, along with another minor league position player for Shark, given the Shark continues his great pitching. Cubs may have to throw in some money in the deal if they are wanting a better second prospect.

    • Blackhawks1963

      THere is 0.0% chance Jonathan Gray is going to be traded by the Rockies. Get that idea right out of your head. Ain’t happening.

      • DarthHater

        My day is now complete.

        • mjhurdle

          0.00% chance your day is actually complete.

  • http://kempfintl.com pfk

    From the Rockies perspective, they need to consider the likelihood of extending Shark, which I would think isn’t high due to the fact that FA pitchers rarely sign with the Rockies because its tough pitching at that altitude, which leads to high ERAs. I love Denver and Coors Field. I just wonder how much the Rockies would give up in a go-for-it-now situation without knowing how much Shark would want to stay Denver.

    • gocatsgo2003

      Money can cure everything.

    • gocatsgo2003

      In free agency that is.

    • YourResidentJag

      With the history of this team, probably not much to give up…in other words, they are inclined to do this trade, and this is a STRETCH by this writer.

  • http://BN Sacko

    So if a team comes up with an offer for Shark that this FO likes, do They give Shark another chance to sign before they accept the deal?

    • gocatsgo2003

      I don’t think the issue with re-signing is the number of “chances.” They’ve been talking for quite a while and haven’t gotten anywhere.

      • http://BN Sacko

        Understood I worded that wrong, it be more like they are talking below us: Hey Shark we have a deal with the Rockies, what do you want to do?

    • cubs2003

      I think trading him to Colorado is the best leverage they can get. Does Shark really want to pitch there before hitting FA?

      • cubs2003

        If I’m Theo or Jed, I try to line up a deal and tell Jeff you either extend with us or you’ll be pitching at Coors the next year and a half.

        • cubs2003

          I also wouldn’t be surprised if someone from the Cubs called in a favor to put that story out there. I’ll stop replying to myself now. :)

          • bbmoney

            I’m generally anti conspiracy theories. But I love this idea.

            • cubs2003

              I don’t think it’s as much a conspiracy theory as it is using everything you have in a negotiation. Do you think an agent wouldn’t use something like that if it was in his interest?

        • benjamin

          Why would they want to strong arm him into an extension?

          • D.G.Lang

            I wouldn’t strong arm him now, too late, too much bad blood.

            Shark has been more than fairly paid so far and he wants even more, to the point of being ridiculous. He simply isn’t as good as he think he is even though he is pretty good, but not a number 1, at least not yet and he shouldn’t be paid as a number 1.

            The ball is in his court and he is using all the leverage he can and it is too much. I am very much in favor of trading him for at least two high potential almost major league ready starters and possibly one position player.

            • Brocktoon

              I’m in favor of trading him for an entire starting lineup, but that probably isn’t happening either. Whatever happens, we need to teach him a lesson for asking for market value.

      • CubsFaninMS

        *agreed

  • Funn Dave

    I’m for it.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Some of you are living in denial on Samardzija. There are three truths on hand…

    1. He is intent on hitting free agency and is betting on himself
    2. He seeks a top of market contract
    3. See number one and two above

    With 100% certainty the Cubs ARE going to trade Samardzija. I don’t see any way around that. The fact that he is getting increasingly “vocal” in his comments about the Cubs is further indication that his days are numbered.

  • Beast Mode

    I wouldn’t mind getting an outfielder for Shark. Would have liked to get Choo in FA last year.

  • CubsFaninMS

    Dude, Hammels’ peripherals look as good as Michael Willie Wacha’s so far this season! Nice big juicy trade bait.

  • BlameHendry

    I’d accept Gray for Shark, but I’m really not sure the Rockies would be willing to do that…

    Anyways, Almora 2-4 today with a HR.

  • ssckelley

    As much as I want Gray, but Gray by himself would not be enough to get Shark.

    • Rudy N

      Profesor Parks seems to think that neither Butler or Gray are realistic.

      Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 57m
      Neither seems realistic. RT @Puma0821: @ProfessorParks @naterbachhh Who would you rather give up Butler or Gray for Shark? Either realistic?

      Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 15m
      @MSimotes23 They won’t. Nobody is going to give up a player with a #1 ceiling for a more expensive, rental type w/ declining production

      • Jon

        Spoke like a true prospect smeagol

      • jp3

        Shark’s production is declining? Who knew professor parks?

        • Jon

          Ha! He should stick to gay porn innuendo

        • Rudy N

          Yeah im not sure what to make of that comment. The eye test seems to show that he’s becoming a better pitcher as well as his FIP GB% and BB%. xFIP is a smidge higher and his K% is down as well as his FB velo but I think that’s nit picking.

      • ssckelley

        If that is the case then we keep Shark. I think it would be incredibly stupid of this FO to give up over a year and a half of Samardzija for only 1 prospect. I don’t care how much upside Gray has the odds are against him ever being a productive MLB player, the numbers don’t lie. If I am the Cubs I am in no hurry to trade him.

        Ole Professor Parks must be looking at Samardzija’s won loss record or something, he has easily been one of the top pitchers this season. He is still on the right side of 30 and does not have a lot of wear and tear on his arm.

  • Ivy Walls

    Samardz’s value has increased bigger than Garza or Dempster or Malholm or Feldman by a long shot. For one Sarmardz has a reasonable cost/benefit ratio and a team trading for could “rent” him for the remainder of the year and then trade him in the off season for commensurate value or trade him during the season and try to get a Garza type return. He already has 1.3 WAR or projected to be 5.2 the rest of the year. Garza had a 2.2 WAR.

    So don’t look at Gray or Dahl as front runners in a trade. Furthermore Rockies have an overage in the corner OF because of Blackmon is outplaying Gonzalez and Cuddyer is returning next week, the player who won the batting title last year. Blackmon who bats LH is a corner OF’er as is Gonzo who happens to have a contract dated to 2017.

    Cubs would be smart to trade for Blackmon who turns 28 this July and has got non arb years left. They also could trade for Gonzo who is having a slow start but I now think that Blackmon is available for Samardz plus a underneath package. Cubs could go quite keen and trade Vogelbach for Dahl.

    • YourResidentJag

      Yes, and this writer believes the Marlins should trade for Shark: http://joefrisaro.mlblogs.com/2014/05/13/should-marlins-make-run-at-samardzija/

      • Chad

        Just about to post that. They even suggest that send Heaney would be fine. I love that so many other teams are on board with “the plan” for Samardzija.

        • David

          Funny – Marlin fans are dorks like all of us… creating fantasy trade proposals and such…

      • MightyBear

        The Marlins just signed Randy Wolf.

      • Javier Bryant

        The same Marlins team who are going to trade Stanton for Allen Craig and maybe, just maybe Shelby Miller? Ha!

      • Rebuilding

        It’s nice to see two teams (Colorado and Miami) beat writers pushing for Shark so early in the process. The closeness of a lot of these races is going to help us too

        • Brocktoon

          Hopefully Muskat isn’t doing our negotiating.

  • Rudy N

    Partially torn UCL for Martin Perez. Tommy John possible. Matt Harrison with a vertebrae issue. Fusion surgery possible. #Rangers

    • Jon

      Were not the Cubs trying to pry Perez away in the Garza deal?

      • Rudy N

        In 2012 I believe. Maybe we can Fleece the Rangers again now.

        • Brocktoon

          Maybe they have some more washed out ML starters we can jump on.

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