jeff samardzija gatorade showerAlthough I recognize it is a legitimate, necessary, and totally acceptable piece of discussion, I really do dislike the “let’s talk about a trade possibility in the wake of a serious injury” stuff. It has always felt icky to me.

But we’re observing baseball in an era of frequent and high profile pitching injuries, and we’re doing so from the perspective of a team with pieces to trade. So, discuss we must.

Earlier this week, Marlins phenom Jose Fernandez went to the disabled list with an elbow injury, later revealed to be a torn UCL requiring Tommy John surgery. Yesterday, the Rangers got a double-whammy of awful news: oft-injured pitcher Matt Harrison* is now dealing with a very serious back injury that could require risky (and possibly career-ending) surgery, and young lefty Martin Perez has a partially-torn UCL that will require 10 to 12 weeks of rest (at a minimum), and could lead to Tommy John surgery. The Rangers are already without lefty Derek Holland, who is rehabbing a knee injury and might not be back for another month.

Does this mean the Marlins and Rangers will come running to the Cubs for pitching reinforcements? Well, Joe Frisaro argues that the Marlins could still contend this year if they make a big pitching addition – and, specifically, he pushes for Jeff Samardzija. At first blush, the Marlins don’t look like the kind of contenders who can hold onto playoff hopes late in the year, but Frisaro makes a good point: with just two years of control on Giancarlo Stanton after this year, if the Marlins just wait out the Fernandez injury and punt, they could lose two of the remaining three seasons they’ve got with Stanton. Adding someone like Samardzija helps keep them competitive this and next year.

I could see the Marlins considering a move (and I’d sure like them to, as they’ve got some really interesting young pitching), but I’m not sure they’ll really be aggressive. Indeed, they just added Randy Wolf as a fill-in on a big league deal, so they may already be indicating a preference to try and tread water until mid-season, when Andrew Heaney might be ready and/or they might already be long out of it.

How about the Rangers? They’ve obviously been aggressive in the past, and, after adding a couple bats in the offseason, they could always have used another big-time arm. To now be without Harrison and Perez potentially all year? Although GM Jon Daniels tells Evan Grant that they’ll try to figure things out in-house, even he concedes, “we might consider the trade market at some point.” Whether that will be the higher end of the market (Samardzija), the mid-tier short-term market (Hammel), or the fill-in market (guys like Wolf) remains to be seen. At some point, though, I do think they’re going to have to do something.

How these teams respond to their injuries, and how competitive they – and other teams – remain over the next month is really what is going to drive the trade stories for the Cubs this year.

*(The coincidence here should be lost on no one: the most frequent comparable I mentioned last year when it came to Jeff Samardzija extension talks was Matt Harrison, because, as of last year for Samardzija, and as of the time of the extension for Harrison, their careers were really a near perfect match. Harrison got a healthy, but team-friendly, extension from the Rangers, and was almost immediately injured. Since then, he’s thrown 28 innings over two years for the Rangers. Even team-friendly extensions can end badly.)

  • CubFan Paul

    “Even team-friendly extensions can end badly.”

    Not for Harrison or Danks.

    • Brett

      How true.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Ironically, I bet that neither of them feel that way!

  • Darth Ivy

    Look at Martin Perez’s gamelog from fangraphs, especially begining with his third start. Unbelievable.

    • Darth Ivy

      I’ll just write it out:

      He pitched 26 scoreless innings in three games (2 complete game shutouts, one 8 inning game) before giving up 29 ER in 13.1 IP.

      • Darth Ivy

        oops, I meant 19 ER in 13.1 IP

  • FullCountTommy

    Problem is, can the Marlins get a deal done without including Heaney. They have some decent arms in the minors, but none of those guys really project to be impact arms. I don’t think the Cubs would be looking for quantity over quality in a deal for Shark. Their best young arms are in the Majors and they wouldn’t be likely to move any of them either.

    • Darth Ivy

      Eovaldi looks REALLY good

      • FullCountTommy

        Agreed, I love Eovaldi, but he fits into the last sentence.

      • Noah_I

        Not sure if you’re implying the Cubs should ask for this, but there is no way the Marlins would trade Eovaldi for Samardzija, Eovaldi is pitching even better than Samardzija is so far this season, and is much younger and cheaper. Plus, they’d just be treading water with the trade, since they wouldn’t fill another rotation spot.

        • Darth Ivy

          No, im just pointing out that he’s looking like a really good pitcher. Maybe I get too excited about young upstart pitchers. But Miami should be excited about that rotation. …..well, before fernandez got hurt, at least. Eovaldi and Alvarez look like they’re gonna be able to hold down that rotation

    • Mike Taylor

      Nicolino is the 2nd best lefty in the top 100 prospects. Miami can afford to trade Heaney for top pitching or Hammel for Nicolino would be a safer trade for them.

      I think it’s Alfaro, Odor, and pitchers Buckel and Jackson for Samardzija.

      • FullCountTommy

        Which top 100 list? I like Nicolino fine, but he’s at best a mid-rotation guy. I’m ok with trading Hammel for him, but if they want Shark, it’s Heaney or bust for me, and I really don’t see them trading Heaney.

  • Diego Javier

    Do the Rangers have any prospects left? Seriously. You would have to think that they have blocked Theo’s number..

    • FullCountTommy

      Joey Gallo, Jorge Alfaro, Rougned Odor, Luis Sardinas, Luke Jackson.

      Translation: Yes, they have plenty to get a deal for shark done

    • jammin502

      Joey Gallo is looking pretty good but would the Cubs trade for another Rangers 3rd basemen? I would guess that if they did trade Samardzija that it would take a, as an example, Andrew Heaney and Justin Nicolino plus from the Marlins.

  • Dakota44

    The Marlins are in trade talks with the cardinals, shipping stanton to STL for Shelby Miller and Matt Adams. There is some clubhouse issues with miller the the cards are trying to shed

    • Darth Ivy
    • Luke

      Is there actually a reliable source for this rumor? I thought it started as someone speculating on a Cardinals blog somewhere, not as an actual trade rumor.

    • Jon

      I can’t believe the Marlins would take so little for Stanton.

    • Brett

      Yeah, that’s not happening.

      • Darth Ivy

        yeah, let’s not overreact to this rumor….

    • FullCountTommy

      Yep that’s not even close. Maybe if you throw in Kolten Wong, Carlos Martinez, and another piece. Miller’s stock is so far down at the moment, he’d almost just be a throw in.

    • Aaron

      Let’s not forget that we’re talking about the Marlins. I believe a few years ago they traded away half of their starting roster for some ketchup packets and pocket lint.

      But seriously, that trade is nowhere close to even.

      • FullCountTommy

        You realize that as a result of all of those trades, the Marlins got their starting shortstop, their starting second baseman, 3/5’s of their starting rotation, and 3 of the top 6 prospects currently in their system, right??

        • Aaron

          You realize that I was making a joke, right?

          But seriously, if you thought that the deal was good for the Marlins when it occurred, you are lying to yourself. And to call the trade a success for the Marlins at this point is very short-sighted.

          • FullCountTommy

            I hated what Loria was doing, but there was no arguing that the Marlins got a great return for what they were giving up. Also, how is it short-sighted to call it a success for the Marlins? They have nothing but upside in the pieces they got in the deal (Alvarez, Hecheverria, DeSclafani, Nicolino, Marisnick, and Escobar turned into Dietrich). Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck aren’t on the team anymore. Jose Reyes has been constantly hurt and Mark Buehrle, while good this year is getting up there in age. This trade is a success right now for the Marlins and it will only continue to get better in the long term.

  • Spoda17

    I know Daniels got snookered by Theo in the Garza deal, but Shark is a totally different story, and, even having winning seasons, the Rangers draft very well and seem to restock their coffers with talented kids each year. I think there is a real possibility they would call on Jeff.

  • Dakota44

    I have a room mate thats been trying to shove that rumor down my throat for a few days now (knowing that ive wanted the cubs to go after stanton and him being a diehard cardinals fan) but i just read an article that says disregard that rumor because the cardinals have to much high ceiling depth in the OF to clog it with a player like stanton. just typing that makes my heart break

    • bbmoney

      You should stop reading whoever wrote that article.

    • SirCub

      Hahahaha. Yea, sure, the CARDINALS wouldn’t pull the trigger on that deal. Wouldn’t want Stanton clogging up the OF for the likes of O’Neil, Grichuk, or Piscotty?

    • FullCountTommy

      You should report whomever wrote that article to their superiors and if they are a member of the BBWAA, contact them so his membership can be revoked.

    • Jon

      If the Marlins were looking for young big league talent, the Cubs could top anything in that deal by offering Castro.

    • Darth Ivy

      You need a new roommate

  • woody

    Off topic, but I was reading a piece by Patrick Mooney and according to him Bryant won’t be getting promoted anytime soon to AAA. Jed Hoyer gave him some spiel about how Bryant had moved around a lot up until now and needed to stay in one place for his own good. What a crock of bull crap. And then he used Baez as a case to keep Bryant at AA. News flash Jed, Bryant is a much more advanced prospect than Baez. And Bryant’s father was a proffesional ball player who coached his son and taught him to hit at a young age. I am more, and more convinced that there is a purpose behind this years team, and that purpose is to lose big. Some have been floating the idea that this is a strategy to cut into roof tops proceeds in order to strenghen ownerships negociating position. I personally thing that is preposterous, but we don’t see any sense of urgency to improve the team. Instead we are asked to accept moral victorys like, wow that was another quality start he had there, but got no run support of the bullpen blew it. Or the rest of the line up sucked, but Rizzo or Castro had a great game. Valaika is a guy that I think should be getting some infield starts at the MLB level. A lot of the guys that played on that championship Daytona team last year are at Tennesee now and are probably better that some of the guys we have at Iowa. I honestly hope that attendance tanks right a long with the team so that ownership sees the consequences of their actions.

  • Rebuilding

    A tidbit on someone we’ve talking about in a potential Samardzija trade – “PITCHER OF THE DAY: Eddie Butler, rhp — Double-A (Rockies).

    Between Butler and Jonathan Gray, the Rockies’ system is looking mighty fine these days. Gray has dominated over the last month or so, and Butler has been excellent as well. He tossed seven innings of shutout ball at Springfield on Wednesday, and has a 2.98 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP this season.”

    • Jason Powers

      Read below. I think it would be hard to pry away their pitching..just me.

  • jp3

    Yeah I think it’s a bit ridiculous that he can’t get to Iowa sooner than later. He’s going to k at 25% no matter what league he’s in and has so far. I’m not sure that’s going to go down no matter how long he stays at AA

  • Jason Powers

    Can’t see Miami making any move for Samardzija. They started Anthony DeSclafani last night, who pitched pretty well. Threw a nasty curve (slurvy) to Hanley Ramirez. Fastball at 96. Sinker in 92-3. They signed Randy Wolf. And they have no urgency since Atlanta and Washington have their injuries..and aren’t running away. Mets…Phillies…what are they gonna do?

    Eovaldi, Alvarez, Kohler, and DeSclafani can all pitching well enough even if Turner is crap or Wolf is just another arm. And if Miami has any hopes at all of signing Giancarlo, they can’t (or wont) take Samardzija as a rental. As noted above, they signed then traded away, almost immediately, large contracts.

    Colorado presents opportunity: extra MLB OF bat available, has top 100ish position prospects too to leverage, and they need pitching to succeed. (Cubs need them to stay hot through June…)

    OF Corey Dickerson, OF David Dahl, SS Rosell Herrera, OF Raimel Tapia would be a good value for Shark. Colorado is unlikely to trade for a pitcher by giving up pitching prospects they barely ever have to survive Coors, if they were so inclined. (3 prospects were on the BA Top 100 or Baseball Prospectus list.)

    The Cubs would be the top MLB farm – by prospect rankings – without competition. And pitching can be bought…see: the Cubs flip-a-pitcher program. Bound to have 3-4 prospects not make it. Best have 10-12 guys in the top 100 hopper – bound to hit on 5 of them as starters. More success, flip the rest for that ace pitcher we keep dreaming of.

    Texas: they should just look for a minor deal.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      I don’t think the Cubs will go for quantity here…they really need a near MLB ready top 25 pitching prospect or another huge bat prospect, not a bunch of could be 5th starters. It is going to hard to herd all those “pretty good” prospect in the protected 40 man list.

      • Jason Powers

        Not many guys are on the 40 now that could trimmed? OF alone? And its not that I think they shouldnt get a top 25 pitching prospect but that teams will not do it. Samardzija is not worth it value going forward wise… and getting a big bat is just the same. I think of the prospect listed only one has to be added for to the 40 by years end.
        Plus roster mgmt is typically solved by performance injury and follow up moves.

  • bnile1


    Just throwing something out here, but could they consider a trade for Villanueva. Swing guy who could help with pen and fill holes in rotaion till re-enforcements arrive. Cubs would probably give him up for a low level prospect and salary is not much of an issue. Low cost flexible move helps both clubs(opens up some room in a crowed bull pen for development and saves money for the Cubs). There’s no-one that’s going to give up a lot for villanueva evan at the deadline. This may be the best time to sell.

    • tobias

      Villanueva is a pitcher Texas might have the most interest in acquiring. I could see a 20-30 organization prospect for him and cash.

  • YourResidentJag

    Need another reason to believe the Yankees will be at the top of the race for Shark. I don’t:

    • itzscott

      Not much in the Yankee system that would get the Cubs where they need to be in exchange for Samardzjia. It would be best to hope that Theo’s demands would force the Yankees to trade for Cliff Lee, which would tend to force Toronto, Baltimore or Boston to bid against each other and who are better trading matches for the Cubs than NY.

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