In what is perhaps the last thing we’ll hear about the Jeff Samardzija extension talks, Samardzija recently implied on the radio that he wasn’t totally aware of the reported five-year, $85 million extension being made to him. When the season started, Samardzija wanted to focus on pitching, so he left any business items to his agent, who knows where Samardzija stands, in terms of what he’s looking for.
There’s probably a lot of semantics at play here, because it sort of doesn’t matter whether Samardzija saw the offer and said, “No,” or if his agents negotiated on the offer, knowing Samardzija’s bottom line (and that the Cubs didn’t meet it). We still don’t know for sure that that’s what happened, but we know that there is no extension in place, there are no new indications that discussions are still ongoing, and we expect a trade before July 31.
And speaking of that trade, despite recent media indications that the Blue Jays might prefer Jason Hammel, and won’t give up what it takes to get Samardzija, I think we’re still going to hear plenty about the Jays in the coming weeks. Bob Elliott writes about just that, and hears from a National League executive – presumably not with the Cubs – that the Jays really need Samardzija.
Elliott calls it “a wild one” that the Jays would be willing to trade the Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris, and Dalton Pompey package, and instead suggests that’s not even what the Cubs want – he hears they’re still looking for strictly pitching prospects, and they want four of them.
I respect Elliott’s sources, and I have no doubt that the Cubs want pitching, but there’s no way this front office would draw a line in the sand and say, “We won’t trade Samardzija for anything other than four pitching prospects. What? Only two top pitching prospects and a top outfield prospect? Get the hell out of here, AA!” The Cubs want upper-level, elite pitching prospects. No doubt. But what they want most of all is the best value they can possibly get for Samardzija. If that’s pitching? Great. If it’s a package that also includes a top bat? Great.
What Elliott’s report does tell me, though, is that, at least with respect to the Blue Jays, the Cubs heavily prefer that organization’s pitching talent (which is no surprise, because they’re stacked on the pitching side).