The Chicago Cubs haven’t received a lot of positive press in the last couple years, as far as their Major League squad is concerned, and it’s not going to get any better for much of 2014, unless the likes of Javier Baez or Kris Bryant make their debuts at some point over the course of the year. They figure to gain even less positive press, especially from their fanbase, should they trade Jeff Samardzija.
While it hasn’t happened yet, there have been points in the offseason where trading Jeff Samardzija has looked like a lock, it’s just a matter of the destination. The two sides have failed to come together on a contract extension, and with two years remaining on his contract, Shark represents the final extremely attractive trade piece as the Cubs continue to bolster their farm system.
A move to trade Samardzija would represent a trade of a popular player and one that would illustrate the fact that they’re throwing in the towel on 2014, making it even more evident than it’s already been. Luckily, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has thrown out an idea that will allow the Cubs to part with Samardzija, but still keep their … dignity, for lack of a better word.
In Rosenthal’s scenario, the Cubs would trade Samardzija to someone like the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays have been regarded as serious suitors for the righty, and have the prospects that the Cubs would likely covet, such as Aaron Sanchez or Marcus Stroman. That would allow them to increase their depth in an ever-improving farm system. At the same time, it would increase their depth enough to the point where they could acquire David Price without depleting their farm system in any way.
The Cubs have been connected to Price since before the 2013 season even started. He also has two years remaining on his contract, but figures to get one of the more hefty contracts in all of baseball with an extension, unlike Samardzija. Rosenthal argues that a true ace like Price could move their timetable along, while keeping the fanbase interested. As intriguing as such a series of moves would be, it’s also extremely unlikely.
For one, the Cubs want to trade Samardzija to increase their prospect depth. It’s unlikely Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would make such a move to acquire prospects, only to move a handful of them in a potential David Price deal. That’s not to mention the fact that the Cubs would likely have to surrender more for Price than they would have acquired in a Samardzija deal. It simply does not add up with this front office’s way of thinking.
The Cubs aren’t in a position to spend money, according to basically everyone inside of their front office. They’re not going to spend the prospects to acquire Price and the money to extend him at this point in time. It just doesn’t fit in with what they’re doing. The much more likely scenario is that they trade Shark, replace him with a mid-level rotation guy off of the free agent market and punt the 2014 season like they already intend on.
As attractive an idea as it may be for some Cub fans, Rosenthal’s strategy for the Cubs to speed up their path to relevance is still far fetched. It makes sense on some level, but at the same time, it remains extremely unlikely that the Cubs would pull the trigger on such a series of moves.