Although Jeff Samardzija’s name continues to dominate the trade rumor circuit, it remains likely that Jason Hammel will be traded long before Samardzija. On the year, Hammel has been as good as anyone could have hoped, posting a 2.99 ERA, 3.06 FIP, and 4.55 K/BB over 15 starts and 96.1 innings. On a one-year, $6 million deal, Hammel’s trade value is quite high. And, with the Cubs not likely to contend this year, that value will have to be explored.
One team that might be interested, about which we haven’t heard much in the Hammel chase yet? The San Francisco Giants:
The Giants had interest in Jason Hammel during the offseason, so don't be surprised if they emerge as a suitor on the trade market.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 24, 2014
That could be a mere educated guess by Morosi, but when you consider that the Giants have clearly been in the market for a starting pitcher based on uptick in rumors connecting them to Jeff Samardzija, it’s a pretty reasonable guess. It’s probably more than that.
It was difficult to see a fit between the Giants and the Cubs on a Samardzija trade, given their relative lack of quality prospect talent, particularly impact types. Most of the Giants’ top prospects have taken a step back this year, and there were very few to begin with that could have made for a Samardzija match:
Coming into the year, it was easy to say the Giants had the pieces to pull a deal off for Samardzija, headlined by top 50 pitching prospect Kyle Crick. But Crick’s struggles with his command have only been exacerbated at AA, and you’d have a little bit of unease at seeing him at the top of a trade for Samardzija at this point. Similarly, lefty Edwin Escobar was a top 100 type coming into the season, and has struggled in his first taste of AAA. You can go down the line of the Giants‘ top prospects coming into the season (basically all pitchers) – Chris Stratton, Adalberto Mejia, Clayton Blackburn, Kendry Flores – and they’ve pretty much all taken a step back.
Hammel, on the other hand, will come at a reduced price tag, and it’s far more conceivable to see the Giants able to meet it. Someone like Crick, for example, even with his warts would likely be a very intriguing piece in a Hammel deal. The Giants, of course, would likely balk at such an ask, but at least the possibility is there. Or perhaps a bundle of the lesser pitching prospects, perhaps more than the Cubs would have otherwise been able to get if they’d all been pitching effectively this year?
In any case, it’s good to see the Giants mentioned in connection with Hammel, who has been pretty open about understanding that a trade could happen. The more teams that are in on the Cubs’ trade pieces, of course, the better.