Jeff Samardzija is a name that is being bandied around as the Cubs look to retool (or whatever it is they’re doing) prior to Opening Day. Previously, we had looked at the Arizona Diamondbacks as a potential trade partner since Samardzija has been resistant to the Cubs’ extension offers thus far. Earlier today, John Arguello of Cubs Den tweeted:
Teams that are expected to be most aggressive on Samardzija: Pirates, Jays, Nats
— John Arguello (@CubsDen) November 23, 2013
We haven’t really heard many Samardzija rumors but John is usually very well connected and so we take him at his word that these rumors have legs. This is also consistent with what Brett at Bleacher Nation wrote earlier. Tonight, Tom Loxas also tweeted:
Usual suspects? Nats, Pirates, Jays? Or someone else? RT @TomLoxas Hearing Samardzija is possibly gone before winter meetings.
— Rice Cube (@CubicSnarkonia) November 24, 2013
This is not very surprising. If Jeff Samardzija thinks he can get more money in free agency than the Cubs believe he is worth, then Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer’s job is to make sure they end up with the best long-term asset. That long-term asset may not actually be Jeff Samardzija, especially if he pitches like 2013 Samardzija and does not ever reach his potential, which I still think could be that of a #1 or #2 starter. That splitter is one hell of a pitch; every time he gets to two strikes, I can predict the splitter correctly 90% of the time, and yet hitters still swing and miss at it. Samardzija has the potential with that kind of stuff, but can he ever figure it out and become all that he can be? I honestly don’t know. And if his name is being thrown out there, then it’s possible that the Cubs aren’t willing to bet significant bank on him.
The Blue Jays’ farm system has been decimated after their previous offseason moves to get R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson & Friends, but they still have some intriguing prospects. The Nationals also have some interesting names but are probably not going to give up what the Cubs want, like Lucas Giolito (yeah, keep dreaming!). But the Pirates, despite being in division, may have the prospect depth to satisfy the Cubs. This is something that we will definitely keep track of over the Thanksgiving holiday leading up to the Winter Meetings. It seems inevitable that Jeff Samardzija will be a Cub no more; the only questions remaining are where he will end up and what the Cubs will get in return. As a follow-up…how will they replace Samardzija in the rotation? Way too much to think about at this late hour, so off to Breaking Bad and we’ll sleep on it for now.