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[This one had a fun evolution as the night went on.]

We’ve been waiting for the first domino in the pitching market to fall, and it could be a Jeff Samardzija trade if Susan Slusser is hearing correctly …

It is extremely unlikely that the Cubs would be involved in a trade for Samardzija for a handful of reasons, not the least of which is the single year of control.

That doesn’t mean this isn’t big news, however. The free agent pitching market is developing very slowly, perhaps in part because there are so many interesting pitchers available in trade (like Samardzija). Depending on where Samardzija goes, and how the return looks, this could have a significant effect on the broader pitching market.

We’ll see what happens …

UPDATE: Slusser added another couple bits that are at first a little confusing:

… but what I think she’s saying is that she’s hearing a major deal involving Samardzija is close, but she’s not hearing that directly from the A’s.

UPDATE 2 (8:07pm): Ken Rosenthal confirms that a trade is being discussed, but his sources say it does not involve Samardzija. Clearly, it’s a significant enough trade for Slusser to have been hearing some things, but without Samardzija involved – he always made sense as an A’s trade piece – this gets a little strange.

UPDATE 3 (8:24pm): Rosenthal adds more:

That sounds to me like there is major stuff being considered – maybe even put together – but it might not be imminent.

UPDATE 4 (8:49pm): Or, it’s crazy imminent. The Blue Jays are reportedly the other team in the deal, getting third baseman Josh Donaldson for infielder Brett Lawrie, young righty Kendall Graveman, and shortstop prospect Franklin Barreto. There’s possibly more involved here.

With Donaldson in tow, the Blue Jays are really going for it (once again). We’ll see if they continue this push and try hard to pick up a top pitcher, and we’ll also see if the AL East feels compelled to respond. The Red Sox already made a big pair of moves. When will the Yankees and Orioles step up?

UPDATE 5 (8:57pm): Jeff Passan says pitching prospect Sean Nolin is in the deal, too. So this is the final tally:

That’s such an A’s trade right there. Donaldson’s value will probably never be higher, and, unfortunately, the A’s have to take risks like this to re-stock constantly. They got some nice young players, but they’ll take a step back in 2015 unless Lawrie stays healthy and steps up with the bat. I like this for both teams on first glance.

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