With the prospect of playing in the postseason on the line, often, a team will do anything to land a big starting pitcher to bolster their chances. Teams, like the Chicago Cubs, who possess many desirable, tradable players will utilise and take advantage of the desperate teams, and trade away top players in order to receive some prospects, or a missing piece to their puzzle.
Here are who I think will be the main three starters that will be shopped.
The Chicago Cubs are starting to make a habit of signing veteran starters on a one-year-deal, having them excel at Wrigley, then flipping them before trade deadline for some prospects. Like Paul Maholm and Scott Feldman in the past two years, Jason Hammel looks set to go down the same road.
The concept isn’t very hard to fathom either. With or without Hammel, the Cubs will not be challenging this season. So, trade him for some prospects and continue to build for the future. Hammel will be very desirable if the Cubs do decide to shop him.
Thus far, in five starts, he has compiled terrific numbers: a 2.08 ERA, a 0.69 WHIP, a mere 5.6% walk percentage and a stunning 94% left on base percentage. Given his sheer dominance, despite having a dreadful offense behind him, it wouldn’t be hard to find a new home for him.
Once the trade deadline begins to loom, many teams with playoff credentials would love to add a veteran arm who is dealing. Watch for the Cubs to move Hammel in the near future.
The Tampa Bay Rays ace, David Price, was subject to much trade speculation during the offseason. As the Rays didn’t receive a package they deemed acceptable, Price began the year at the top of their rotation. Whilst he could be viewed as pivotal if the Rays are to push for October ball, the Rays should and may well be shopping Price.
The key factor: The Rays have been winning without Price at the top of his game. They currently sit just two and a half games behind the Baltimore Orioles whom lead the American League East so far. Add that the Rays early success has nothing to do with Price.
Over seven starts, Price has a poor – for his standards – 4.44 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and a 3-2 record. He is striking out more and walking less, but Price has given up on average 1.48 home runs per nine innings, a massive raise from the 0.77 it sat at last year. His velocity has diminished a little too, all of his pitches are clocking in around one or two miles per hour slower.
Regardless of the stats, any competitive franchise in July would happily give away a top prospect to receive Price, because he’s David Price. Irrational in the long term, potentially World Series winning in the short term, watch for Price to be shopped.
In the case of Jeff Samardzija, his franchise, the Chicago Cubs may not be the only ones wanting to move Samardzija. The other? Samardzija himself. After all, what pitcher wouldn’t be begging for a move given the run support he has received.
Through six starts, Samardzija is still winless and owns a poor 0-3 record. He is also the owner of a 1.98 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and a 83% left on base percentage. Samardzija has put up numbers worthy of being labelled a bona fide ace, but due to his abysmal run support, is yet to boast a win.
Given his talent, a suitor wouldn’t be hard to come upon. The Cubs aren’t strangers to trading big names, and would love some more top quality prospects to add to their already crowded farm system. With a number one calibre pitcher potentially being shopped, the Cubs could collect a rather healthy return for Samardzija.
(All information courtesy of fangraphs.com)