Jake Arrieta’s ongoing breakout makes it a little easier to stomach the idea of going into the offseason (and, in turn, 2015) without Jeff Samardzija in the rotation. But, in most ways, those are entirely separate things – unless you’re willing to say that you don’t want the Cubs to have Samardzija just because they might have another dominant pitcher. Personally, I’d love to see the Cubs have five dominant starters. Or eight. Or 100.
None of that is to say that dealing Samardzija at this point, absent an extension, isn’t the right move for the Cubs. I’m just saying: Arrieta’s breakout is a fantastic thing for the Cubs, but it doesn’t really speak to the fact that they’re still going to need to pick up a great arm in the offseason if they deal Samardzija and want to see what can happen in 2015.
Speaking of Samardzija trade stuff …
- Bob Elliott reports that, on Saturday, the Blue Jays sent their 10th different scout to see Jeff Samardzija pitch since last year. Are we really going to buy any more reports that say the Blue Jays aren’t really all that interested in Samardzija? Elliott adds that Toronto brass has not yet decided whether they would deal Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris, and Dalton Pompey – the Cubs’ reported asking price – for Samardzija, despite previous reports that indicated there was “zero chance” the Blue Jays would ever do that deal.
- See if you can spot the obvious problem in this quote that Elliott got from an anonymous NL GM: “I like Samardzija a lot. But his make-up reminds me of Brett Lawrie. He’s wound, he will take that Notre Dame football attitude to the mound. That can be good as long as he’s under control. That can be bad as a pitcher if he humps up at Yankee Stadium and goes ball four, ball four, ball four. You don’t know what he’s going to do in the stretch run. At least I don’t.” Actually, I spot two obvious problems – one in form, and one in substance. The latter problem is the “ball four, ball four, ball four” accusation. Remember the last time Samardzija walked three guys in a row? Me either. Know how many times he’s walked three guys in a game this year? Just 4 times in 17 starts. Now for the form problem with that quote: a little suspicious when a competing NL GM is denigrating the value of one of the Cubs’ trade assets, no? “Dear other teams, don’t give the Cubs lots of good prospects for this guy, because he’s not as good as you think.” Yeah. That sounds credible and totally unbiased.
- Bruce Levine says the Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, and Giants continue to scout both Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija. The Red Sox are the interesting one there, being that they remain six and a half games out in the AL East, seven games below .500 … but with a playoff-caliber roster. Given their extremely awesome farm system, and the fact that their competitiveness could push the similarly-attractive Blue Jays and Orioles, the Red Sox remain your number one “please win a bunch of games over the next two weeks” team. Further, when you consider the Red Sox’s uncertain rotation picture in 2015, Samardzija would seem a particularly appealing trade target for them.
- A fun and interesting read over at Obstructed View on the possible trade packages for Samardzija if you tried to calculate his surplus value and pair it to prospect value, in terms of estimated dollars. There’s so much flexibility here – how are we ranking prospects mid-season, how much is an incremental win worth to a possible playoff team, etc. – that I’d caution against taking the valuations or the trade possibilities as gospel. What I would say, however, is that it’s useful to think about trades in this way as another tool in the belt.
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