With the GM Meetings getting underway early this week, we’re likely on the verge of hearing some pretty significant trade rumors. Whether or not those rumors end up coming to fruition, however, remains to be seen. Nonetheless, some extremely intriguing names are likely to be thrown around.
One of those names is that of Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija, who has become the de facto ace of the club. With the Cubs spinning their short term assets into long term ones, which means loading up the farm system in the way that they’ve been so successful in doing to this point, Samardzija represents one of the few significant trade pieces left on their active roster.
The two sides apparently tried to come together on a contract extension last winter, but were unsuccessful in doing so. How far they actually proceeded in the negotiations remains to be seen. But with Samardzija nearing the age of 30, it definitely stands to question whether or not the Cubs should trade him, rather than making him part of the long term solution on the North Side.
It’s important to acknowledge that his arm doesn’t have a ton of mileage on it, despite the age. With the exception of the last couple of years, he’s primarily served as a reliever out of the Chicago ‘pen. Nonetheless, if he’s unwilling to negotiate an extension with the Cubs, his recent success as a starter, in conjunction with his high upside, make him a very attractive commodity on the trade market.
We’ve already heard of a pair of clubs having interesting in Shark. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals have been mentioned, with the former having talked to the Cubs about him in the regular season. The Nats are a more recent entry onto the rumor circuit, and are reported to be considering making a serious, can’t-refuse offer. Both teams have the farm systems that would make a trade desireable to the Cubs.
The question here is not whether the Cubs could get the return they seek for him – they could. He has two years left of team control, and has shown in the last couple of years that he has the stuff to be a front-end starter. The true query is whether or not the Cubs actually will move him.
Is this a negotiating tactic, or would the Cubs seriously consider moving him? As things stand right now, the Cubs appear ready to punt another season and sell off whatever remaining assets they have, with 2015 being the first year folks will start taking them seriously again. The 29-year-old Samardzija would likely represent one of those assets.
If the Cubs can get the pitching in return that they covet, someone like Archie Bradley or the like, then they may very well pull the trigger on a deal. With a starter under control for another couple of years, an arm with low mileage, and a sort of local product (from Northwest Indiana), they’re not in a position where they have to move him.
Whether or not they eventually do is something we’ll just have to wait and see.