This Watch never quite transformed into an “Extension Watch,” even though most of what’s been written in the last week has been about the extension rumors. That was intentional, by the way, as I’ve always felt the extension, however attractive an option for both sides, was highly unlikely to happen. I don’t think I’m saying anything earth-shattering there, and that’s also why I don’t worry about Samardzija reportedly rejecting a five-year, $85 million extension damaging his trade market. Teams that would be trading for Samardzija know full well what he’d want on an extension (and know part of the reason he rejected the offer is because the Cubs may not be competitive soon enough), and none would be surprised that he wouldn’t take that deal from the Cubs, even if they believe it was a reasonable offer. Sure, a team picking up Samardzija in trade would probably like to extend him if possible, but that’s not what they’re trading for. They’re trading for an emerging ace to impact two pennant races. That’s got plenty of value. No need to worry about the extension/non-extension trade impact.
Other Samardzija bits today …
- Jon Morosi’s report that the offer was for slightly higher than $85 million has stuck with me a bit in the last 18 hours or so – I’m a dork – and I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what, and why, that extension offer might look like. And then it hit me: it’s Homer Bailey’s deal, plain and simple. It just doesn’t have the sixth year added. The AAV of the free agent years in Bailey’s deal was $19 million, and the value of the final arbitration year was $10 million. So, in a five-year offer to Samardzija, that would look like $10 million + $19 million * 4 = five years, $86 million. In other words, this could have been the Cubs saying, “OK, we hate the Homer Bailey comp, but we’ll suck it up and give you that comp, but for five years instead of six.” My math, based on value, had the Cubs’ reasonable offer topping out at five years and $75 million, so the Cubs went over and above to try and get an extension done. Sincerely, I have no bad feelings about the Cubs or Samardzija. The fit simply isn’t there.
- As Dave Cameron writes, however, that Bailey extension is something of an anomaly, and probably wasn’t a very wise deal by the Reds in the first place. For that reason, and other methods of calculating value, Cameron doesn’t see a 5/$85 or $86 million deal being a very attractive deal for the Cubs. Cameron’s value expectations for Samardzija over the next five years suggest, like me, he sees 5/$75M as the reasonable range for a Samardzija extension.
- (And, keep in mind: that’s merely the value Samardzija is actually expected to generate. He’s not a free agent for a year and a half, which means, if the Cubs gave him that deal today, they’re paying him, in advance, for his expected future value. That should come with a discount built in – not because Samardzija loves the Cubs, but because the Cubs are then taking on the risk much earlier than they have to. That has value, and it should be reflected in the price.)
- On the trade front, Jon Morosi writes about the Royals as a Samardzija suitor (something I discussed yesterday, if you missed it). He says that they aren’t on the verge of any big moves, but the Royals are scouting Samardzija regularly. The name Morosi mentions in a possible Samardzija deal is Danny Duffy, a 25-year-old lefty starter (and top 100 prospect several years ago), but says the Royals may not want to part with him. I’m not so sure the Royals would hold out on Duffy as a piece – just a piece – given that he’s arbitration-eligible starting next year, is experience his first sustained success in the big leagues, and is dramatically outperforming his peripherals: although he’s got a 2.80 ERA, his FIP and xFIP (3.89/4.56) lag far behind (that .213 BABIP is helping a lot), and his K rate and BB rate (19.0%/9.3%) are pretty meh. Duffy is a guy you wouldn’t getting, but he’s far, far, far from a center-piece in a Samardzija deal, let alone a guy whom the Royals should be desperately clutching like so many pearls. This has the feel of the Royals putting out there that they totally wouldn’t deal a guy that they obviously have no problem dealing. Weak leverage play, bro.
- In the wake of Gavin Floyd’s unfortunate elbow break yesterday – he had successfully come back from Tommy John, and was pitching very well – Jon Heyman says what we’re all thinking:
Floyd is the 3rd good SP #braves have lost to elbow (medlen, beachy). Wonder if they'll play for Samardzija, who they like.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 20, 2014
- Unfortunately, the Braves’ clear top pitching prospect, Lucas Sims, is struggling badly at High-A right now. He’s just 20, and he’s a top 100 type, but still, it’s a problem in finding a fit.