Yesterday, we got into one of the more specific and robust Jeff Samardzija trade rumors we’ve seen in recent weeks (which is what you’d expect, given that we’re still only the very early side for meaty trade talks to actually take place), which had the Cubs and Orioles sharing “mutual interest” in a swap that would presumably net the Cubs some of the Orioles’ top pitching prospects.
Now a report out of Baltimore adds some smoke, even if not confirming any kind of serious, specific talks just yet.
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that, yes, the Orioles are interested in Samardzija, even if it’s still very early. He adds that “one of the Cubs’ top talent evaluators” recently scouted the Orioles’ Low-A club, including a game started by big-time pitching prospect Hunter Harvey. Connolly concedes that this could have just been usual scouting, but he says the talent evaluator at issue is “not a guy who normally is assigned to the low-level minors.”
Should the Orioles look to try and make a deal for Samardzija well before the July 31 Trade Deadline, Connolly points out one possible problem: of the Orioles’ top prospects, Dylan Bundy hasn’t pitched in real game action yet this year after Tommy John surgery, and Eduardo Rodriguez is just coming back from a knee injury. The Cubs may need more time to scout these guys.
In the end, it’s just a little more confirmation of the Orioles’ interest, and the Cubs’ possible reciprocation. But there will be many teams interested in Samardzija if the Cubs shop him, and many of them will have the kinds of prospects necessary to entice the Cubs.
To wit, the Marlins.
We’ve discussed them before as an outside-the-box Samardzija acquirer, and David Schoenfield writes about why he thinks the Marlins should try to make a deal for Samardzija. Schoenfield digs into why Samardzija, in particular, is a good fit for the Marlins, and why the Marlins shouldn’t just throw in the towel after the Jose Fernandez injury. Indeed, after a five-game losing streak that followed the Fernandez injury, the Marlins have won 8 of their last 13, and pulled to within a half-game of the division-leading Braves. And the calendar is about to flip to June.
Schoenfield mentions that a trade package would “have to begin” with top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney, which is something I like hearing simply because it underscores the accepted narrative surrounding Samardzija’s price tag. It’s gonna be a lot, and you teams out there shouldn’t fight it.
As for Heaney, specifically, he’s a top 50 prospect in baseball, and a lefty who’s on the doorstep of the bigs. I’m sure the Cubs would love to pick him up as part of a package, depending on what else was included and what else is out there.
Whether the Marlins will be a legit suitor in a month or so remains to be seen, but, as we’ve said before, the more teams with pitching needs that are “in it” come July, the better for the Cubs.