If there were a competition for getting the most mentions in Jeff Samardzija trade rumors, the San Francisco Giants would have won the weekend. That would be, by the way, a really stupid competition.
It started on Friday, with a Buster Olney podcast, in which he mentioned – among many other interesting things about Samardzija* – that the best fit out there for the big righty is the San Francisco Giants.
*(The most interesting thing is that the virtual consensus in the podcast was that, overall, Samardzija is a more attractive trade target than David Price.)
Then on Saturday, you had George Ofman hearing more than just a fit:
The Giants also interested in Samardzija. Concerned about their pitching staff.
— George Ofman (@georgeofman) June 14, 2014
And then yesterday, Bob Nightengale was hearing the same:
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 15, 2014
That’s a whole lot of smoke for one weekend. As always, I caveat the hell out of these things, but you can take away that either (1) there’s one rogue source out there telling everyone in the media who will listen that the Giants want Samardzija; or (2) the Giants want Samardzija. I’m thinking it’s pretty likely to be the latter.
The question with the Giants isn’t so much the fit – to me, they’ve always made a ton of sense, given their current window and an obvious spot in the rotation (and relative rotational struggles) – it is the return.
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.
You can still probably put a satisfactory package together in a Samardzija deal, but I’m not sure there won’t be several better options out there. We’ll see if this San Francisco smoke continues to billow, and whether there are signs of reciprocation coming from the Cubs.