The latest news from Jerry Crasnick suggests that the Arizona Diamondbacks are still looking to trade for an ace. We’ve all heard Jeff Samardzija‘s name bandied around, along with the Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price, as potential matches. In the wake of the Doug Fister trade, though, we may have had to temper our expectations a bit, though some MLB sources suggest that the Fister trade won’t affect Samardzija. An interesting tweet from one of our Twitter buddies suggested the following trade:
We all know that Randall Delgado could have been a Cub if Ryan Dempster hadn’t nixed the trade (which was within his rights at the time) two seasons ago. Delgado pitched well last season for the D’Backs, if you take away the ridiculous number of home runs he gave up. Tyler Skaggs is the biggest non-Archie Bradley pitching name in the Diamondbacks organization so you can expect the Cubs to try hard for him; they’re unlikely to get Bradley dangling Samardzija and spare parts. The idea to trade Nate Schierholtz along with Samardzija makes sense in that the D’Backs want an impact bat in the outfield. Ryan Sweeney isn’t really an impact bat either, but if the D’Backs are strapped for payroll (they just traded Heath Bell to dump the salary), then the manageable arbitration salary of Schierholtz and Sweeney’s team-friendly deal may fit in. Sweeney also has an extra year of control over Schierholtz, who is in his last year of arbitration. It may be a long shot to try for more, but we’ve explored trying to snag a competitive balance pick from Arizona as well. Maybe there are some mid-to-lower end prospects to trade as well (h/t Tom Loxas). Ken Rosenthal also had this to say about a proposed trade between the A’s and D’Backs:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 4, 2013
Obviously neither Schierholtz nor Sweeney have the raw power of Yoenis Cespedes, but both have demonstrated pop and if Skaggs + A.J. Pollock is not enough for the return, maybe the Cubs can at least get Skaggs in a potential Samardzija-plus deal.
Ultimately we have to consider whether the proposed trades will be worth it to either side. With a guy like David Price, the Rays will ask for the sky, and that includes Archie Bradley. If the D’Backs don’t want to give Bradley up, then Price may be eliminated from the equation for them, depending on whether the Rays want to pony up for Price’s 2014 arbitration raise. With Price out of the picture and the Detroit Tigers unlikely to deal Max Scherzer after they dumped Prince Fielder‘s contract and traded Fister, the best available pitcher on the block is probably Jeff Samardzija. This might be the leverage the Cubs need, but again, we should temper our expectations. One of Skaggs or Delgado could be awesome; snagging both would be absolutely incredible.
UPDATE 12/5 4:37 PM:
Based on Bruce Levine’s information:
Theo Epstein on Samardzija contract talks . ” nothing has changed ” team has offered deal in the 5 year $55 million area . .
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) December 5, 2013
It sounds like a lowball offer and it’s hard to tell from 140 characters on Twitter, but if we attempt to find meaning here, then the Cubs are not budging from their offer to Samardzija and he’s as good as traded. I wouldn’t blame Samardzija for rejecting the offer because he might be able to score a better deal on the open market if he continues to progress (or maybe he won’t and he’ll screw himself out of guaranteed money, who knows). Samardzija will be shopped during the Winter Meetings as we try to figure out what’s going to happen to David Price and Masahiro Tanaka.
Update 6:34 PM:
Oh thanks Bruce, why don’t you give us more vague information?
Let me be clear ,Theo never mentioned any contract figure . Another source has indicted the Cub offer is higher than 5 yrs $55. Mil.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) December 6, 2013
So if that’s the case, at MINIMUM the Cubs are trying to buy out the remaining two arbitration seasons plus three free agent seasons. He SHOULD try to hold out for more, but Obstructed View had done the estimates and the 5 years/$55MM figure being floated right now sounds about right. If the other source is correct and the offer is higher, I hope it’s because of the years (one extra year at around the same average annual value) rather than for a higher average value overall. I still think Samardzija will be traded sometime during or after the Winter Meetings at this point unless he acquiesces.