Lukewarm Stove: Pitching Injuries, Iglesias, Barney, Samardzija

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Lukewarm Stove: Pitching Injuries, Iglesias, Barney, Samardzija

Chicago Cubs

lukewarm stoveIt was a disastrous week for a number of teams around baseball …

  • Patrick Corbin is the latest arm to go down with a UCL injury, meaning the 24-year-old lefty may wind up needing Tommy John surgery. Corbin emerged last year as the ace of the Diamondbacks staff, so losing him for the year would be a real bummer for Arizona. The good news is that the Diamondbacks have the depth to replace Corbin – Randall Delgado or even Archie Bradley could potentially step into the rotation – but they probably aren’t going to find a match for his production without going outside the organization. I know that gets folks wondering about Jeff Samardzija, in whom the Diamondbacks had interest several months ago, but I don’t see the D-Backs getting desperate.
  • For what it’s worth, Bruce Levine reports that the Cubs and Diamondbacks may indeed resume talks about Samardzija, so I guess we’ll see.
  • Having already lost Kris Medlen to Tommy John surgery (his second), the Braves are awaiting word on Brandon Beachy, who may also need his second Tommy John surgery. As Ken Rosenthal reports, though, even if Beachy also needs Tommy John surgery, the Braves plan to stick with what they have. After adding Ervin Santana, I’ve got to figure their budget is stretched at this point, anyway, and it’s not likely they’d consider swapping someone like Jason Heyward for Jeff Samardzija, which would be a little bit of robbing Peter to pay Paul at this point in the offseason (and, without the rest of the offseason to plan around the move, I’m not so sure the Cubs would want to make that swap anymore, either).
  • Then there’s Mets lefty Jon Niese, who left his recent Spring start early with elbow discomfort. He’s going for an MRI. Given that the Mets are a fringe contender (they did add significantly this offseason, though), it’s possible they’ll want to replace Niese externally. That said, I doubt they’ll want to give up too much, even if Niese is out for a significant period of time, given that they don’t look like a lock to be a playoff contender into June, let alone August and September.
  • The Oakland A’s were also bit by the arm injury bug, with both Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin headed to see the doctor after suffering forearm (Parker) and elbow (Griffin) issues. Parker, 25, will see Dr. James Andrews. The early returns are that Griffin has no structural damage, but could miss at least a month, and the expectation is that Parker will, at a minimum, start the season on the DL. It’s unclear what the A’s would do if they lose both arms for a protracted period of time. It isn’t usually the A’s MO to add out of desperation, but you never know with a competitive club like Oakland. They’ve got a fair bit of upper level pitching depth, though, so I’m not surprised we haven’t really heard much in the way of rumors at this point.
  • The injury bug wasn’t limited to pitchers, with word coming out of Detroit that studly defensive shortstop Jose Iglesias has been shut down with significant shin issues that could cost him most of the 2014 season (sounds like stress fractures in both legs – yikes). He’ll be evaluated further this week, but, assuming he’s out, the Tigers will be finding a replacement, one way or another. They could turn to the free agent market and try and scoop up Stephen Drew, who’s still looking for a job. They could try to swing a deal with the Mariners for jobless young infielder Nick Franklin (though the price would be high, and he’s more of a long-term piece than a fill-in). Or they could try and find a fill-in like, say, Darwin Barney, whose natural position is shortstop and who has been play a little of the position in Starlin Castro’s absence. The Cubs and Tigers have already been linked recently in Nate Schierholtz rumors, so it’s possible they’ve already been in communication about possible young players that could interest the Cubs. Let’s be clear, although Barney could have nice value as a fill-in, defensive-focused shortstop, the Cubs could not reasonable expect a substantial return. Packaged with Schierholtz? Maybe a really nice pitching prospect coming back, but that would require the Tigers to be pretty darn desperate.
  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has indicated that they aren’t too interested in pursuing Drew and will instead go with internal options to replace Iglesias. I am highly skeptical.
  • Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun has an interesting tidbit on how trade talks between the Cubs and Blue Jays went earlier this offseason regarding Jeff Samardzija. Recall, the Cubs originally demanded the Blue Jays’ top two pitching prospects – Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman – plus another piece for Samardzija. That would be the kind of over-the-top return it would take for the Cubs to have moved Samardzija, but Elliott implies they would have considered less: “How serious were the Cubs? Serious enough that the Cubs were phoning asking former Blue Jays minor-league employees to rank the top Jays pitching prospects in order after Sanchez and Stroman, acclaimed as the Jays top pitching prospects. The question asked by Cubs people were in what order would you rank Sean Nolin, Daniel Norris, Roberto Osuna, Alberto Tirado and John Tilson? Their thought was maybe one of Sanchez-Stroman pairing plus another prospect could make the deal happen.” I suspect the Cubs probably would have wanted one of Sanchez/Stroman, and then at least one of that second list – otherwise, a deal probably would have happened. Do you trade Samardzija for Sanchez and Nolin? I think the Cubs can do a lot better at the Deadline, assuming they trade Samardzija at all, and it’s worth the roll of the first half dice.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.