Trading Jeff Samardzija

We're going through the basic machinations of a hot stove rumor with the Jeff Samardzija trade talks. The Blue Jays and Diamondbacks are the two most talked about suitors and it would appear that the Cubs would like to either extend or trade Shark before the Winter Meetings.

While the process itself is a bit predictable (rebuilding team puts best pitcher on open market to see who bites) the substance of the story fascinates me.

There are a lot of varied opinions on what Samardzija is exactly. I've talked to writers who believe he's a #1 pitcher, I've talked to others who think he's a middle of the rotation guy whose stuff occasional plays up to frontline starter. Now that he's on the market it's been interesting to read what the Cubs community thinks he will command in a trade.

I think to fully understand what type of haul a trade can bring back we have to first understand what kind of pitcher Jeff Samardzija is.

Ace or not?

Over the past two seasons Samardzija has pitched 388.1 innings carrying a 4.10 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP and a 2.94 K-BB ratio. He's had stretches that tease a greater future for him. The issue is that those stretches tend to remain just teases. We're operating with only two years of starter data but to date Samardzija has had difficulty pulling together his stuff with consistency.

In 2013 Samardzija was two pitchers. From April until his CGSO against the White Sox on May 27 Shark pitched 72.2 innings and posted a 2.85 ERA. He struck out 80 over that stretch while walking 24. Opponents put up a meager .196/.268/.313 slash line against Samardzija over that stretch.

From June on, however, Samardzija had a 5.11 ERA in 141 innings of work. Opponents hit .284/.352/.458 against him over that span. Samardzija had a few meltdown starts (or disaster starts) in there which balanced out the few dominant starts he did have down the stretch.

That's Samardzija in a nutshell, up until this point. He's a pitcher who can do this just as easily as he can do this. I don't think that's an ace.

As it stands, Shark is the best pitcher on the Cubs (yes, even including Travis Wood). But that doesn't make him an Ace in the sense that he isn't an elite pitcher. Jeff Samardzija is probably best slated as a middle of the rotation guy. He's someone that can shove when he's on and it won't hurt you too bad if your #3 starter has a few rocky outings here and there. Shark is weird in that he'll be 29 when Opening Day rolls around but there's still some room for some projection with his arm.

I don't think this is as good as Samardzija can be, but it's pretty close, in my estimation. While there are low miles on his arm there's also missing development time that's unlikely to be recouped as he gets older.

While I don't have insight into the extension negotiations involving the Cubs and Samardzija I do have past experience to draw on when it comes to this front office extending core pieces. Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro got inked to brand new extensions with almost zero trade speculation attached to their names. This makes me wonder if the Cubs and Samardzija are far apart in contract negotiations and if Shark thinks of himself a bit more highly than I do.

Don't get me wrong, you want a pitcher who thinks he's one of the best out there. Players need confidence to survive the 162 game grind and Samardzija appears to have it. But, if it were my money I wouldn't be falling over myself to back up the Brinks truck for him for the reasons I've expressed.

So, what do you trade for a middle of the rotation starter with good enough stuff to play like a frontline guy for stretches?

Trading Shark

First, read this article from Draysbay, an SB Nation site that covers the Tampa Rays.

If you're lazy and want the TL;DR version here's the most important quote from the link:

What does this tell us? It shows that teams who need to add more quality starting pitching are willing to give up a significant amount of value in prospects and young players in order to tack on a few extra wins.

There's a team out there that's on the cusp of competing or needs to shore up it's pitching staff and will be more than willing to aggressively pursue Samardzija. The Baltimore Orioles immediately come to mind and while a trade for Matt Wieters seems odd on the surface it's important to note that he is unlikely to be the only piece in a trade for Shark.

We've all heard the rumors involving the Toronto Blue Jays putting together a potential package. While they haven't made a publicly official offer I think the Jays are a team that will also aggressively pursue Samardzija ahead of the Winter Meetings. Arizona is also said to be in the mix and they have a collection of arms that would be intriguing to a Cubs system that lacks true impact starting pitcher prospects.

Should the Cubs decide to trade Samardzija there will be teams willing to give up young players and prospects in return. I believe that the Cubs will need a serious injection of young pitching talent in the coming years if the self sustaining model of constant competition is to be realized. While trading Samardzija would be a step backwards in the short term I think it has the potential to be an extremely beneficial move for the Cubs in the long term if the right pieces are sent back Chicago's way.

Given what this front office has done in terms of prospect talent acquisition I have no reason to doubt them when it comes to any trade involving Jeff Samardzija.

Filed under: Analysis

Tags: Baseball, Cubs, Jeff Samardzija, mlb

Comments

Leave a comment
  • I have been in the camp of NOT trading Shark. Apparently he won't sign a "value" contract this winter and is willing to take a chance that he'll have a TOR 2014 to earn the big bucks he thinks he's worth. I'd love to see that happen and have be the Game 1 starter in three consecutive playoff series in 2016. : )

    But if we're gonna move him, I just hope we get high-end quality, not not high-floor quantity. In other words, anything less than a future ace means we're treading water.

  • Mauricio, way to start off with a bang! Great article and well written. I love this site and all of the dedication that's brought out by John, Felzz, and formally Tom, and now you. Congrats sir.

  • fb_avatar

    John, would you be surprised if Samardzija wasn't signed to an extension or traded before the Winter Meetings begin?

  • In reply to Ray:

    I think one of those two things will happen, yes.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks, John. I'm ready for some moves on the 25 man roster.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Me too!

  • Shark is one of the only Cubs who's fun to watch, so it would really sting to lose him. But since it appears a winning team is at least three season away, I think they need to trade him for future potential.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to baseballet:

    "at least three season away" Wow! You must really have your doubts about the progress of the rebuild.

  • In the overall scheme of things, it doesn't matter what Jeff Samardzija really is. What matters is what Theo and Jed think he is (it is obvious they like him, but don't think he is a #1 or they would lock him up for sure), and what other teams think he is. This is really the most important thing. Obviously, some teams are going to like him more than others. The teams that evaluate him as at his peak, probably won't be trading for him. The teams that believe he has upside is the team that you trade with.

    I agree that for the best interest of a club that is probably 2 years away from true contention, you trade him for 3 arms.

  • fb_avatar

    Welcome. Great article. But I've commented for weeks and my thought process hasn't changed. The market dictates that right now you will get more return value for Jeff Samardzjia than you will at any other time.

    I don't see 5 or 6 12+ win seasons out of Samardzjia going forward. Better put, I don't see a cumulative 26.3 WAR (Ted Lilly) when all is said and done for Jeff Samardzjia. If the return is equal or close to what you'd get for someone who projects to outperform that then trade him. If someone will offer you compensation equal to a #1 or #2 starter it is actually a no-brainer, given his alleged contract demands.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Michael-- I agree with this overview. I also feel the market overvalues pure power arms -- a dynamic that can be taken advantage of by Theo/Jed (if no extension can be worked out). It's interesting that the only team that has been able to truly take advantage of the power-arm approach to drafting has been the Cardinals, but it appears their secret extra ingredient has been a development approach no one else can match. While the Cardinals have this revolving door of major-league-ready power arms, everyone else is just rolling the dice hoping that from all of their drafted power arms, one or two can avoid injury and somehow stay in a major league rotation for five years. Consider the best power arms drafted/signed under Hendry: Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano and Dontrelle Willis. The four averaged 78 career major league wins each. Wood was the best argument for the power-arm approach in that he also had a second career as a closer after multiple arm surgeries. Because the Cubs had three on the same team in 2003, it almost worked in that one season, but was not a sustainable approach as the power-arm injuries naturally mounted.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    You seem to be making a case that finesse pitchers are therefore undervalued, less prone to injury, and just as good. No, no and no. Power, hi-K pitchers are better in general. In terms of injury risk, every pitcher needs to be evaluated on an individual basis. K Wood had all sorts of red flags, and D Willis had several. Prior and Z did not. Which also goes to the point that all pitchers are injury-risky.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Agreed Michael. I'm a big fan of Shark, and what he brings to a staff intangibly. If the contract negotiations are where I suspect they are, then dealing him is indeed a no-brainer.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    What are his alleged contract demands?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Well they're alleged so I don't know. I am basing that comment on the fact that the Cubs and Samardzjia are not close in agreement in regards to his contractual worth. So does the actual dollar amount really matter? Point A is far enough from Point B that the player in question warrants finding a return value in trade. That is all that really matters, right?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    It was a serious question, I'm honestly very curious about his demands, and thought you may have seen something. I'm a big Shark supporter, not totally against a trade but admittedly hope he remains a Cub, but if his demands are truly for ace-type money then I admit he's way off base. So, if point A is far enough from point B, then the numbers only matter in that they determine which side I would throw my incredibly weighted opinion behind!

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    I have heard he is asking for ace money and a NTC.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to KGallo:

    Heard where? And, what is ace money? $20+m/yr?

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    I know a lot of people in the industry because of what I do with the draft. So I hear things an what I am hearing is mid to high teens.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    If you go back through and read Sharks public comments, he said he was fine with waiting until he proved himself as a viable ACE. He even acknowledged that he has not yet done so. Neither side (at least publicly) has said any specific numbers.

    From his perspective, you can't blame him for not wanting to sign a deal now that he perceives is a lot less than what he could fetch in FA in 2 years if he proves his worth. Whatever those actual numbers are, who knows.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I remember him saying that (before this season?). My point is, we really don't know how far apart they are. Even the reports that have said they ARE far apart have been pretty vague.

    I certainly don't think he is worth $20m/yr, but there is a chance he could be in 2 years when he hits FA (though who knows what length he would get being 31). And, if he is willing to take less money to stay home, I can see why he would want a NTC. If I were going to accept less money to stay in a favorable situation (close to home, believe in the company, etc.), I wouldn't do so knowing the people paying me could then remove me from my favorable situation if I outperformed my contract. On the other hand, granting a NTC sets a precedent which this FO does not want to set.

    I don't know, I like Shark a lot. I think he'd be a great big-game pitcher (look how he pitched in the first half, when the Cubs were still playing semi-meaningful games). If he gets moved, I'm sure this FO will get the most out of it. But, I'm very curious about what's really going on in the negotiations, not people's speculation.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    We'll never know what the numbers are unless one side makes a public statement about that. Which neither is going to do.

    You do bring up an interesting point about his performance early on while we were competitive. Then when we slid and the rumors started about trading assets, etc.. his performance slipped. While those should be separate factors, one can't help but wonder if they're somehow related.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    I also agree. I will go a step further and say that Samardzjia isn't anywhere close to a number 3 starter on a good team. He's a 5, or a 4 at the very best. He's not even an average major-league starting pitcher, and at 29 he's not going to suddenly develop. The Cubs should trade him while there's a market and get the most they can for him. Then his ever-growing ego can become someone else's problem.

  • In reply to Curtis James:

    Not close to a #3? His stuff is that of a 1 or 2 for sure. LT whip of 1.29 and he is in his prime. IMHO he is a 1 or 2 and certainly close to a 3..

  • In reply to Curtis James:

    If you look at this results, then he does look like an average guy but there are metrics which suggest he is much better than those results would imply. I think #3 is a fair assessment for what he is right now. There are metrics that suggest he can be more. It doesn't mean he will make that leap, but there is reason to believe he can get better.

    And when I refer to #3 pitchers, I'm using that as a specific type of pitcher that is not relative to what team he is on.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    This might be a huge if but I was thinking that what if Jeff comes out this year and becomes a #1? How big of a hit would the front office have to take. I would expect it to be devestating. Lets hold on to him and see if he can turn things around.

  • In reply to RClax3:

    That risk does exist and it's something the Cubs are certainly weighing. We do know their preference, at least initially, was to keep him, so they do see the possibility that he becomes a very good pitcher. I'm not sure about ace potential, but at least the raw stuff is of that quality.

    The question becomes whether they can come to an agreement on a deal. If they cannot, then what you're talking about is 2 years of Samardzija, which may not hold as much value to a team in the Cubs current position. It's a tough call, how much should the Cubs be willing to gamble that Samardzija can be that front line guy?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Id agee, right now Spellcheck is a mid-rotation starter. His stuff says otherwise, but theres always guys with great stuff who never reach there potential(Tommy Hansen comes to mind).

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Curtis James:

    There is not one staff in baseball he would be a #5 on.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Of course, there are staffs he'd be a #5. I agree his innings pitched last year suggests putting the floor at #3, but on a contender, his 2013 stats would make him a #4 or #5. For example on the 2003 Cubs, he'd definitely be their No. 5. On the 2013 Cardinals, No. 4. On the 2013 Red Sox, he'd be a No. 4. on the 2013 Tigers, their No. 5 or possibly even bumped to the pen.

    Keep in mind, Shark had a WAR of just 1.0 in 2013, which was the 3rd lowest of the 36 pitchers who threw more than 200 innings. Only Sabatha and SD's Stults had lower WARs. By comparison, two-thirds had WARs of 3.0 or higher. And of pitchers to throw at least 180 innings, 54 had higher WARs than Shark -- including 4 on the Tigers staff. Their 5th starter was Porcello who threw 177 innings and posted a rotation low WAR of 2.4.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Fangraphs, which I prefer because it bases more on pitcher specific stats (rather than the "luck" stats), gave him a 2.8 WAR. 23rd out of 43 qualifying starters in the NL. Pretty middle of the pack.
    Detroit's a good example, though, I stand corrected. Hadn't looked at their peripherals...that's a STRONG staff top to bottom!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Curtis James:

    I do agree that he is on the bad side of the development curve because of his age, but I do think he is a solid #3 or #4 on most good staffs and a #2 on most others. On the teams that are interested in Samardzjia:

    WAS - he's a #4 behind Strasburg, Zimmerman and Gonzalez - add Samardzjia to that team and I think you are looking at an NL Championship in 2014 on paper.
    PIT - probably a #1 or a #2 and could be a #3 depending on if they re-sign Burnett and how much you like Gerrit Cole
    ARZ - He's probably a #1 there, at least in 2014.
    TOR - He's probably a #1 or a #2 depending on how much you like RA Dickey

  • In reply to Curtis James:

    Those that want to trade Samardzija seem to be those who believe he will not improve in the future.

    Those that want to keep him seem to be those who believe he WILL improve in the future.

    I haven't heard very many people that have said that he is a #1 starter now, but this is the first time I remember anyone saying that he is not even an average major-league starting pitcher.

    I wonder if you have access to information that is not available to the half dozen or so GMs that seem to believe differently?

  • In reply to Curtis James:

    I have no problem with Smarj's big ego. That's very common with pro athletes, and usually serves as a self-motivator. I have a problem with his inconsistent and flawed mechanics, and his inability to fix those. He's no newbie, and it's not just one mechanical shortcoming.

  • Great piece. Here's another comparison on Shark: He's basically a less accomplished Matt Garza without as long of a resume and a higher WHIP/ERA: a guy who shows ace-stuff at times, but seldom sustains it, high pitch counts, and lets his emotions distract him (albeit Garza more often). I don't see him commanding the kind of trade package that James Shields brought the Rays last year, and think we'd be lucky to get a Garza package in terms of quantity. But I think your idea on Wieters and a high-minor pitching prospect for Shark and another player could be spot on value wise.

    The one point in your piece I differ was that Shark is a better pitcher than Travis Wood. If you mean potential/ceiling, yes. But Travis Wood had the far better 2013. Far better WAR (4.1 to 1.0), WHIP, ERA, homers allowed. And to this point in their careers, Wood is the more accomplished starting pitcher. It's true Wood is pitching pretty much close to his ceiling, whereas Shark tantalizes with how every story includes the qualifier "if he can put it all together and sustain..."

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Agreed. Travis Wood is the Cubs best pitcher.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Every time I hear the Shark vs Wood comments, I interpret that to mean "stuff" or "potential". Travis Wood is everything Shark is not and vice-versa.

    The reality is if we had a true ace and a #2, these guys would slot right into where they belong and their individual shortcomings wouldn't be so magnified.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    I think Travis Wood had the better 2013 and Samardzija had the better 2012. Moving forward I have more faith in Shark improving than Wood repeating, but your points on "to this point in their careers" is valid.

    Just trying to project moving forward.

  • In reply to Mauricio Rubio Jr.:

    I agree with that breakdown.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Wood had a worse FIP, xFIP, lower k/9, more innings pitched, and equal WAR according to Fangraphs, 2.8 (and a 3.0 for Shark, .7 for Wood, in 2012).

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Sorry, meant to say: Wood had fewer innings pitched.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    According to Baseball-reference.com and ESPN.com, Shark had a 1.0 WAR in 2013, and Wood a 4.4. According to Fangraphs they were the same. So as usual, these sabermetric debates are only as good as the stats one chooses to believe. The devil is most certainly in the equations.

    Personally, I find it odd that an innings-eater like Shark (even with a 4.34 ERA) can only rate a 1.0 WAR in 2013. That seems too low to me. The idea that Shark provided equal or less value to the Cubs in 2013 as Donnie Murphy or Carlos Villaneuva seems off to me. But likewise, a calculation that says Wood and Shark pitched equally well in 2013 also seems off.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    The Garza/Samardj comparison is a good one, in my opinion. I also agree that Wood has been the better pitcher. Wood had the better WHIP, the better ERA, knows how to pitch better and maintains his composure better.

  • Samardzjia truly is a Dr. Jekyl - Mr Hyde proposition. whenever he pitches, you're not exactly sure who showed up, and that can occur even within the same ballgame. Is it mental? Is it physical? I say listen to the offers. At least two top line pitching prospects and a little more have got to come back to us, and if there's an offer like that, then take it. If not, see what is offered at the July trading deadline. If he stays healthy, and he should, he'll pull back a hotter offer then.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    I agree with the Jekyl and Hyde comparison. In a way, and please don't jump all over me because I have no data to back this up, he reminds me a bit of Carlos Zambrano. Great on Monday, sucks on Friday. It always seems to be an adventure. I know their numbers are different, just purely based on watching games on tv.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BobMiller146:

    That's what scares me about signing a contract with him.

  • In reply to BobMiller146:

    There is that maddening inconsistency. I know what you mean. It's easy to feel like Zambrano (especially the younger version) and Samardzija should dominate every single time out because of their stuff.

  • Just gives many innings and strickout not a #1-3 pitcher

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to emartinezjr:

    Which staff would he be a #4 on? Maybe LA, who's just ridiculous at the top...

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Detroit?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    You're right, I overlooked them.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Washington. Tampa. Detroit. He'd be a #3 on a lot of teams as well.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Okay, going by the stats, I have to concede Detroit, I totally overlooked them. Washington, also by the numbers, would make him a #4. Tampa only had 2 qualified starters. Price, obviously ahead of Shark. Moore walks like 5 guys/9, no way. Helickson's been one of the luckiest pitchers in baseball, caught up with him this year. Cobb and Archer look promising, but I would say Samardzija has done more and projects just as well, even if he is older. Am I missing anyone?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    I can concede Tampa. Was going on Moore's reputation rather than actual stats. That's what I get for being lazy.

  • Mauricio, your analysis of Samardzija' s value makes good sense. Do you think the shark for Wieters+ has legs? This could allow the Cubs to balance the future lineup as they could trade Castillo for an additional lefty/switch hitter or TOR pitching. It also could open spots for three of the big right handed middle infielders(Castro,Baez,Bryan,Olt).

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I think it has legs but it's gonna be a tough sell to the Cubs without including an arm.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 44slug:

    Getting Wieters puts the Cubs into a similar situation with Samardzjia; a guy who only has two controllable years. Plus Castillo seems to be on the rise while Wieters has declined the last couple seasons. The best value in return for Shark will be a couple young pitchers and a young catching prospect - it's why I think the Diamondbacks set up as the best partner with the Cubs.

  • In reply to JimL:

    I think that type of return would be ideal for them. And AZ may be that team if the Cubs believe Trahan can stick at catcher. They won't get Bradley in such a deal, but Skaggs, Holmberg are likely in play.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Skaggs, yikes! Red flag there. Rather have the Nats poss packages.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Yeah, there's a good amount of risk there. You'd have to be confident you can fix it.

  • In reply to JimL:

    Totally, 100% agree, Jim. Why Wieters, when W Castillo kept getting better last season, and merits a chance to show he can be our regular catcher, and on the cheap, for years to come?

  • Welcome! Can I call you Moe?

    Great article, great writing chops.

    You are right to wonder what Samardzija is, because nobody knows. But I actually tend to agree with your assessment, that he's probably a MOR guy at best.

    HOWEVER... You'll read of inflated value and optimistic projections for plenty of reasons. What we currently see us something like a Garza, so why expect more?

    1. He's a great athlete
    2. Not only was he rather inexperienced when drafted out of a football career, but he was also rushed, undeveloped, by Hendry into bullpen duty at a young age.
    3. Low mileage on his arm
    4. Most of his issues are mental - experience may help.
    5. And unrelated to his talent, the market for pitching is very tight, not many TOR arms around, so if the best you can do is find a projectable arm...

    This is why he has googobs of value, either in trade, or in his inflated ego talking to his agent.

    As Cubs fans, we recognize that if he ever does put it together, the timing and the price do not align with the rough schedule of the Rebuild.

    So we want and expect a maximum return within the next 8 months, hopefully sooner - like this week, because we are sick of talking about it.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Moe works haha.

    I think it's fine to expect a large return, I'm just wondering if the book is out on Samardzija, so to speak.

  • In reply to Mauricio Rubio Jr.:

    What I have been told about Samardzija is that on a contending he is a #3/4 and would be a power arm that can handle multiple innings out of the pen in the playoff.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I know that when I call a pitcher a #3, #4 or whatever, I'm generally referring to a standard that isn't relative to which team he is on. He may be the 4th pitcher on a team because that team has a #1, and 2 #s, or maybe they have 3 #2 type pitches, etc. Where they pitch is relative to the strength of the rotation. We can call Samardzija the opening day starter and thus the #1 pitcher on the Cubs -- but that doesn't make him a #1. He happens to be on a team that doesnt have anything better than a #3 starter.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That's why I said on a contender.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Oh, I wasn't disagreeing with you. I'm just saying that is a matter of circumstance but I think on an a hypothetical, neatly laid out staff with a true #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5...he'd be a #3 at this point. But some teams have more than one #2 or #3, so that could push him back in that particular rotation.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Which is what I think a team like the Nationals would do.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I remember you wrote an article on the definitions of a #1, #2 etc. about a year back. Very informative, as I had always wondered what it exactly meant. Among the many excellent articles that would be great to have tabbed for easy access at the top of your home page.

  • Great article and it's refreshing to see a blogger's take on Shark's position without calling him overrated, greedy, etc. Whats weird is I remember hearing last year when all this sign to an extension talk was beginning was that it was the "no trade" clause holding everything up.

    Cant blame the Shark for wanting as much money and security as he can get. Cant blame him for wanting to be on a winning team as well. He has the arm to be a solid #2 imho.

  • fb_avatar

    Way to go Mauricio! But it seems you may be a bit at odds with the Boss. John has stated a few times how he wants Shark to stay a Cub. I've been on the trade Shark camp for a while now. But not because I think Shark just stinks up the place. He very well may become that Ace that he believes he is.

    But his age is working against him with respects to when the Cubs seem to be preparing for their "waves" of talent to take hold on the big league club. I've been hoping for 2 years now that 2015 would be the year that we make a run at the playoffs. But reality has me looking at the 2016 season.

    If 2016 is indeed going to be our first competitive year (playoffs push), Shark's time here is just being wasted. He doesn't hurt us but he sure doesn't help us. Trading for more pieces that fit into the 2016 season seems to be the safer way to go.

  • By trading Shark means we haven't hit rock bottom yet. If we trade away Shark, will others go? Is anyone in the rotation a person they want to keep for the long term? I am afraid if shark goes it will be another 100 plus lost season. Are the guys we trading for a legit TOR guy or are we getting a Jeff Samardzija type but alot younger?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    So what if we lose 100 games in '14? We're still rebuilding, and not a contender. We'll still sacrifice current talent for future talent if we feel that move will enhance our future. We will take a possible future ace for Smarj, a No. 3 and a lot more expensive now and moving forward. As for who our guys feel is a long-term rotation keeper, that's T Wood, a No. 3. We'd like to have and develop a 1 and/or 2, rather than have to pay a fortune. And you have to have several of those highest-end arms because few reach their ceiling. The silliest part of the article (no offense to John, just the messenger) was that several writers said Smarj can be a 1. I'd like to be a GM, and those guys as opposing GM's!

  • If Jeff was 23 or even 25 I would say he definitely could be an ace but hes going to be 29 in 2 months and he is still trying to figure himself out during an age that should be his prime years. He has great stuff but just can't seem to consistently perform to his potential. He had quite a few games where he looked ace like but he also had quite a few games where he looked as awful as possible.

  • fb_avatar

    Mauricio, welcome! Good start! The one point that irks me is the comparison to Castro and Rizzo...the similarities pretty much end with the uniform. Different age, much different career earnings, and (I believe) different amounts of remaining control.

    Signing a team-friendly extension that is up around the time you turn 30 is a very different decision than one that carries you to your mid-30's. Also, Jeff signed a $10 million extension earlier in his career, so he's not hurting. Lastly, Rizzo and Castro both signed very early on in the process, so of course there was no trade speculation.

  • Just curious. Is a deal with the Diamondbacks centered around Skaggs enough, or does it check off enough boxes?

    For me, if Skaggs isn't enough and Bradley is off the table, there's not enough left in the the way of pitching in the minors in that organization to make this deal work. Maybe Delgado could come back, but would the Diamondbacks really want to move him in a package for Shark?

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    It's a good question. Skaggs is a big question mark. There is some mixed opinion on him. He's a bigger risk with a lower ceiling than Bradley. I think it's a significant downgrade but there is upside there, you just have to find a way to add to the deal in a way that helps mitigate some of that risk.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    No Skaggs, please. I hate his command, and don't see it ever getting much better.

  • fb_avatar

    Welcome aboard Mauricio, awesome first article !! Look forward to reading your analysis once Samardz is moved

  • A year ago, everyone was on my back when I said the Cubs should trade Samardzija for prospects to speed up this rebuilding of the pitching staff.

    Now all these critics are now on the Bandwagon to trade Samardzija.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I think there is a difference because there is less optimism about signing him and there is less time remaining before he becomes a free agent. The Cubs have to be more open to the idea. Some want to trade him because he had a poor season, but I think that's different from what the Cubs are thinking. I believe if they could have signed him to a deal that they considered friendly, they would have already done so.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I was with you.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubsTalk:

    I was in agreement with you CubsTalk. I have wanted Samardzjia traded since day one. I actually thought he would be a far more successful closer than a starter. I think he would be a far better WR for the Bears than a SP for the Cubs for that matter.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    In hindsight, maybe you guys are right if the Cubs don't sign him. Maybe they could have gotten more because of the years of control, but that would have been a real tough call given Samardzija's front line stuff and success in his first year as a starter. And I'm not as discouraged by this past season as some are. I think there are some numbers that are still encouraging.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Smarj was groomed to be a starter, in part because he is a special athlete with well-above-average stamina and endurance. He's very close to establishing himself as a 200-IP guy year after year. That's rare, and has value. And let's always remember that starters are far more valuable than relievers. I want him traded BECAUSE he has a lot of value, as a starter, and should bring a young stud or two in return. If other teams viewed him as a reliever, he'd fetch considerably less. They won't view him that way.

  • Lets hope that having Jeff under contract for 2 years at a fair salary
    will give us want we really want in return. FA pitchers will want 3-5
    yr contracts at over 12 million per yr.

  • Nice read Mauricio and I look forward to more of your work. You're spot on about your analysis of JS, but I'd still argue that his peripherals indicate he's closer to a TOR pitcher than a #3... guess it depends on which team he pitches for. He's definitely better than Travis Wood, whose xFIP for last season portends a certain amount of regression this coming year and has been duly noted by Bill James and other services that have forecast his 2014 season.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    I tend to think Twood will out perform his peripherals. He induced a lot of weak pop ups and jammed batters. Leading to low babips and hr to flyball rates. I dont expect him to have a low 3 era but around a 3.8 era. A solid 3rd starter.

  • I tend to agree with those on the side that says that the lack of development and age bode poorly for Jeff to progress far enough to reach that tantalizing potential.

    I can't help but think of Cliff Lee. He really did not blossom until 29 years old and then just got better. Granted he did have four full seasons as a starter prior to his age 29 season. It really emphasizes the unfortunate lack of development that Shark had for his first 4 years as a professional. He was bounced from starter to bullpen and yanked between Tennessee and Chicago and Iowa through his 25 year old season. Just pathetic.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    C Lee was working from a platform of extremely solid mechanics. The comparison doesn't work because of that. You have to evaluate each pitcher on an individual basis.

  • I think he needs to adjust his approach. And as I like to do, I'm going to use an analogy..

    I'm not an avid golfer but I play it for fun once in awhile and despite not being a big guy, I had more of a power game than a finesse one. One of my friends compared me to a young Phil Mickelson, not because I'm good (I'm not), but because I went all out no matter what the situation. In the deep rough or directly behind a tree? Who cares? I'm going to blast my way out and go for the green anyway. Sometimes it worked, but more often than not i got myself into more trouble.

    That's kind of how I think about Samardzija. I think he needs to tone down the approach a little and use the power with more discretion and he'll be a better all around pitcher. I'm not saying become a finesse guy, just tone it back sometimes. The power will be there, just use it a bit more wisely.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm reading George Will's Men at Work right now. Great baseball book (though already pretty dated, strategy wise, even though it's only about 20 years old), There is a chapter on pitching featuring Hershiser. He says even though he could throw up to 94-95 MPH, he only did maybe 12-15 times a game. He stresses the importance of keeping hitters off balance by changing speeds constantly.

    So I think you are right - a lot of these guys today just throw as hard as they can when it would be much more effective to take some speed off.

  • In reply to brober34:

    Exactly; some guys are pitchers and some guys are throwers. I'll take the guys who know how to pitch. They'll get more people out, in the long run.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to brober34:

    I love that book.great call.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    In my opinion, it's a bit of the football mentality versus the baseball mentality. Saw the same thing down here with Jeff Francouer when he was a Brave. His solution to struggling was the football way, play harder. That doesn't work so well in baseball, as Francouer proved. Took him bouncing around a bit to figure it out.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Off topic but it's on my mind lately, that analogy fits Derrick Rose too. He needs to slow it down sometimes too. Keep the power/speed thing as part of your game, but same as Jeff, don't always go full blast. Study some film of Chris Paul. Would help his performance & just maybe his health too.

  • #trader...

    Can't disagree with the assessment of Shark. I was always higher on him than you. I am looking forward to resolution on the issue one way or the other here in the next couple of months.

  • In reply to dabynsky:

    I don't know why but the #trader thing makes me laugh every time.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It is because of my awesome delivery...

  • In reply to dabynsky:

    /like

  • Nice article, great topic.

    I was wondering if we have 2 strong issues at hand, rather than just 1.

    Issue 1---Do we want to trade or keep JS? Which do the Cubs really prefer? (It has been written that JS wants to remain a Cub..,or is it a Cub at an Ace Salary only..,not at a #2 salary and certainly NOT at a #3 salary)

    Issue 2--What level pitcher are the Cubs willing to pay him? #1,#2, #3????

    My take--

    1--trust Theo to make the right decision on Issue 1.

    2--IF, Theo wants JS, why not agree to triple tier his contract with incentives. Example, if innings 180-200 and ERA is 3 to 3.4, pay him say $18 million that year. If innings are 170-190 and ERA is 3.4 to 4 pay him $16 million. If innings are 160-180 and ERA is 4-4.5, pay him $13 million. (Maybe add a 4th tier as well).

    Am I off -base here??? Suggestions/Comments????

  • In reply to rakmessiah:

    I have a sub-question to your #2 regarding contract incentives.

    Im under the impression, that contract incentives cannot be performance based (such as ERA, HRs, Hits...) & only can be based on levels such as games played, PA, IP, games finished, etc. Am I wrong on this?

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    Performance-incentive bonuses are permitted in Major League contracts, but a bonus cannot be based on batting or pitching skill, or where the club finishes in the standings. A performance-incentive bonus can, however, be tied to days spent on an MLB Active List during the MLB regular season, and/or Games Played, Games Started, Games Finished, and/or Innings Pitched for pitchers, or Games Played, Games Started, and/or Plate Appearances for position players. Awards such as MVP, Cy Young, Silver Slugger, and/or Gold Glove, and/or being named to an All-Star team, can also be tied to an incentive bonus.

  • Nice article..,great topic.

    2 issues here.,really!

    Issue 1--Do Cubs want to sign or trade him?

    Issue 2--If sign him..,what do we pay him??

    My take,

    If Theo wants to sign him, then maybe triple tier his contract with incentives.

    year 1

    Innings 180-over and Era 3 to 3.4, $18 million.

    Innings 160-180 and Era 3.4 to 4, $16 million.

    Innings 150-180 and Era 4 to 4.5, $13 million

    (Maybe add a 4th tier)

    Here you have a starting framework, add automatic 5% raise each year, and tweak a little bit. 4 year deal with options.

    Am I off base here?

    Questions/Comments????

    I

  • Sorry for repetition.

  • From what ive read on here, the best return for a shark trade is something like this:

    Bradley
    Giolito
    Sanchez
    Taillon
    Stroman
    Skaggs
    Cole

  • That's not enough, man :)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Haha I mean one of the guys from that list. Is that about the order of preference tho?

  • I'd say that's about right. You might get a few quibbles depending on who you ask but that's generally the order of preference (and also the inverse order of likelihood).

  • Suggest you permanentaly kiss off the writer who said Pirates will part w/G Cole.

  • fb_avatar

    Jesse Rogers has an interesting article up. In it, he claims scouts want to see Samardzija pitch for a winner. Mauricio's numbers above support this. After the White Sox game, he got frustrated with the losing and gave up.

    Interestingly, Rogers suggests that wanting to play for a winner is the big difference between the two sides in contract negotiations. If that's true, it may help us. He could be willing to extend with the Nationals because he knows they are going to win. Just speculating.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Contending teams lessen the need for an NTC because the assumption is that if you pitch well, they will keep you because you will help them win. Obviously the Rays are an exception, but I would think contending teams with at least a decent sized budget would want to keep guys who provide good short term value -- and Samardzija may provide more than that.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Thought that was interesting, too. In 9 of his 33 starts the Cubs didn't score a run while he was in the game. Have to wonder how that affects performance.

  • In reply to ccia:

    You just pitch as well as you can pitch, regardless of number of runs your team is scoring in a game. I'm not trying to be a smart a... here. Really. That's what a starting pitcher must do. Every start. Control only what you can control.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I don't think Samardzjia "gave up." That's a bit of a stretch and if that were the case, nobody would want to trade for him. It certainly looked like he was out there competing every day. In fact, most of Samardzjia's troubles came as a result of a bad inning or two or from falling behind in the count too early. He doesn't sustain DOM in his outings (inning-to-inning) and I think that is more of a reflection of him being more "thrower" than "pitcher" and I hate the quote marks.

    His peripherals are all well above league average. The problem isn't giving up as much as it is inconsistency. He has too many starts where for an inning or two there is a dramatic decrease in his K% combined with a dramatic increase in his BB% and AVG. Some of that AVG, as indicated by BABIP and FIP is bad luck. But it would also help if he kept more batted balls in the park.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Read Rogers article. He strongly implies that scouts believe playing on a losing team is hurting Samardzija's overall performance. I was largely just interpreting his article.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I read the article. I disagree with your interpretation. I do agree it sucks to have 9/33 starts where your offense doesn't score a run. I also agree that that stat largely contributes to his won/loss record which for the most part is not indicative of the way Samardzija pitched.

    But to say he gave up belies his stats, which when analyzed closely indicate that there is some inconsistencies that were likely compounded by a little bad luck and maybe actually trying too hard at times. Samardzija is most effective when his cutter/split-finger is on and a true out pitch. But at times, and specifically in those innings where he got pummeled, he becomes over-dependent on his fastball and throws too hard to command his other pitches. Then batters feats on the guy and frustration clearly gets the best of him.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    If I said the sky is blue you'd disagree with me. No mas.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Not true. But how do you say he gave up? How do you even quantify that? You're saying he simply gave up? Knowing that he is playing for his one shot at a career defining contract and the guy just gave up at times? It is hard for me to conceptualize that and harder to fathom. Sorry.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I don't think he gave up at all. I do think the lack of run support affects performance. Your mindset and approach are different if you are accustomed to having a strong offense and a good deal of run support. You aren't concerned that one mistake and one run could cost you the game.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    And it's not personal. Most times you provide amazing insight and I've complimented you on these boards for some amazing contributions, But then there are other times where you throw things out like this. I actually think it is a form of written instigation to stir debate and I just happen to bite.

    I think one person said you "pull things out of your ass" and I disagree with that. I think you have an opinion and at times you go with your gut feeling on an emotional chip, like in this instance.

    I mean I can't prove that he didn't give up. I just don't think you can prove that he did either.

    The other disagreements are simply valuation-related and your definition of elite vs. mine. I try to avoid superlatives with minor league players because I cannot discount risk factors and historical tendencies. I still say there is only one truly elite minor league player right now and that is Byron Buxton.

    If Dylan Bundy and Lucas Giolito come back from their surgeries to their pre-surgical forms, add them. If Javier Baez cuts down on his strike outs and walks a little more, I'll give you that. I actually believe in the hit tool for Kris Bryant but I need a larger sample size and I am happy to agree that he is elite as well, though I saw some scary fielding in the AFL. I think as a 3B he makes a fine RF.

    Other than those topics, I think we agree more often than not.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    I don't think it suggests he "gave up", but his numbers suggest he pitched a whole lot better in the first half, when the Cubs were flirting with the possibility of .500.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Well he said "at times he got frustrated with the losing and gave up." I don't agree with that. It's okay if others do. It doesn't make anybody wrong and I certainly cannot prove that is not the case. I am not even saying I am right, I am just stating what I saw and what his numbers indicate and that giving up as a theory is difficult for me to embrace.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    I was agreeing with you on that point, while raising another. I do think a lot of the inconsistency COULD be tied to frustration with the team losing. And, the lack of run support COULD tie into trying to overthrow and giving up the dreaded "big inning".

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Again, conceded. No way to quantify "giving up" so it is a valid point. My bad. Apologies to Mike Moody as well.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    I really hate weak guessing about players' performances being affected by how their team goes. One could also say W Castillo, vastly improved in the second half, is a loser because he didn't play well while the team was, and then stepped up when the team fell out of it and the games were meaningless. I think all that stuff is rubbish. Pro athletes want to have successful careers, and make a pile of money. They have plenty of motivation to do well every day, regardless of how the team is performing.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm beginning to come around on Rogers a bit. He was awful when he began covering the Cubs, and his chats still drive me bonkers, but he's definitely improved his feel for the club over the last year. This is like 3 or 4 articles he's impressed me with.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Ah, Jesse Rogers. Ooh, boy. I'll just cut to the chase. Smarj needs to find consistent mechanics to get consistent results. It's about whether another org believes he can do that, and has specific fixes in mind. All the focus on whether Smarj has a "winning mentality" is stupid and off the mark. "After the White Sox game, he got frustrated with the losing and gave up." That's lame speculation at best, and an outright indictment of the athlete's fundamental character at worst.. It's also why pro athletes privately disdain the media and fans.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to michaelc:

    You have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  • fb_avatar

    The other thing that plays into this is the market for David Price. On the surface, it doesn't make much sense for the Blue Jays to move Sanchez or Stroman for Samardzija if an offer of Perez/Alfaro/Sardinas is going to take Price. Ditto the Nats and Giolito.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Rays are desperate to move Price.

  • fb_avatar

    Excellent write-up, Mauricio. Way to make an entrance!

  • fb_avatar

    This is intriguing:
    @JoeStrauss: There are more than a few in Cards organization advocating Mo' attempt to get value for Oscar Taveras. That is all for now.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    More likely, L Lynn is the significant trade chip in play for anything more the Cards want to do. As for O Taveras, he could become the Cards' regular RF by June, and then for the next decade. With A Craig moving back to 1B, and M Adams being traded to an AL team.

  • I think what the issue really is here boils down to one thing -- the Cubs want to sign their players at below value, but Jeff knows that if he was on the free agent market today, he'd likely make above value. Jeff is not wrong, from a market standpoint, for wanting a silly contract.

    In some senses, the negotiations must be about more than money at this point. If it was just that, I feel like Jeff would have just waved the white flag and assumed he'd be traded.

  • Welcome Mauricio! Great stuff, excellent level headed control - looks like Cubs Den just got another frontline TOR writer! Look forward to reading you more.

  • On a good team Samardjiza is a #3 starter. Cubs aren't a good team . If Jackson is your #4 starter then you do not have a really good rotation. So he maybe more valuable to the Cubs. Pitching prospects are notoriously difficult to predict. Injuries , players not developing . So you have a risk that what you get in a trade may not pan out. We keep hearing from Cubs management that they will be competitive next year or the year after. If they trade Samardjiza then that will have to be pushed back.

  • Hello John,

    I am a first time poster, long time reader. I'd like to add my two cents on the Shark situation:

    I think stats are very useful in determining how successful a player is ( or can be ). Having said that, I think all of us who have watched Shark pitch know that he has grade A stuff but has underachieved based on his ability. However, one cannot question that he would undoubtedly have more success ( certainly more wins ) on a better team, regardless if he lives up to his potential or performs at the same level in the future.

    But I don't think any of this really matters. I think the real question is, "Are the Cubs better off keeping Shark or trading him, regardless of whether he becomes a "number 1" or stays a "number 3-4?"

    Let's say they keep Shark and he becomes an ace pitcher. Will this get the Cubs to the playoffs? I think not, based on their current roster. Now, maybe if he does become a true ace, it accelerates their rebuild. But is this wise?

    My opinion is, regardless of whether he becomes a number 1 or not, the Cubs should trade him but only if they receive very good, young talent, preferably pitching. I think his value may never be higher and he will only be getting older by the time our young studs are ready. Yes, he would become more valuable to trade if he starts pitching like an ace but you lose value because he becomes less and less cost controlled.

    Long story short, trade him now while he still has potential and bring back more young talent that will be ready in 2-3 years from now. That's my opinion.

    P.S. I really enjoy your blog and the honest assessments you make about the Cubs John.

  • In reply to JV36:

    Thanks JV. Great post. I agree with much of what you say here and I appreciate the kind words.

  • fb_avatar

    Congratulations to Greg Maddux on making the ballot for the Hall of Fame voting. He's a sure thing to be inducted with the first vote.

  • George Kottaras? Who the hell is that? He's a new Cubs catcher that's who.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Holy Cattle:

    I called that the second he was released. Excellent signing. He'll backup Castillo. A lefty with great OBP and decent slugging. I'm very happy with this.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Apparently it was a DFA and trade. My bad.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Good call, Mike!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Just saw his slash line for 13, .180/.349/.370, don't think I've ever seen on quite like that!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Yeah, and 2011: .211/.351/.415. He's a great role player. Very much a Theo pickup.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    He has a career split vs RH pitchers of .220/.319/.430 - since he will be the short side of the catching platoon

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I don't think it will be a platoon, Castillo's has to be the starter, IMO. Kottaras might get a bulk of his starts against righties, but it won't be a platoon.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Correct re Castillo, but Kottaras is more like third-string quality.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Last year he K'd in 33.3% of his plate appearances and is at nearly 23% lifetime, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

  • fb_avatar

    Cubs sign Killer Kottaras!

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    To me, that's a very good indication that the Cubs have decided to keep Wellington Castillo for the med-long term.

  • Welcome, Mauricio. Nice article.

    I think the thing that would make Samardzija an ace is if he stops throwing pitches down the middle of the plate and starts hitting corners. Every pitcher has to balance hitting his spots with "challenging the hitter." I think Samardzija errs too much on the challenging side, though that may just be because he simply doesn't have the command to hit his spots consistently. If he ever develops that, he'd be an ace imo.

    I don't think not hearing trade rumors with Castro and Rizzo tell us much though. We had them under control for longer, so even if extension talks weren't going well, a trade wasn't likely. We probably would have kept them and pursued it later if we were still high on them.

    What I don't get is why the FO is trying to hammer this out before the winter meetings, which it seems like they are. Wouldn't that be the perfect time to get teams to try to outbid each other? Maybe it's a message to Samardzija's camp, or maybe they think they can create that kind of competitive environment before the meetings start so they can spend their efforts on the offense at the meetings.

  • fb_avatar

    Cubs just acquired Kottaras from Royals

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Kenny Dangerous:

    who did we trade to get him?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ryan Kalasz:

    Johnny Cash

  • fb_avatar

    Cash

  • fb_avatar

    Welcome to the dark side of the force Mauricio, and what a way to start out! Great article!

  • I like Jeff Samardzija and am apprehensive to trade him. Even though he is turning 29, he only has three full seasons in the majors with only two as a starter. So, despite his advanced age, we should expect incremental improvement in his numbers with more experience. Yet, what's troubling about him is that his 2012 season was an anomaly and in 2013 he actually returned to his norm with a +4 ERA, etc.

    The only exception in 2013, and what gives me further pause in trading him, was that he pitched the most innings in a single season of his career, improving by 39 innings over his previous high mark from 2012. So, despite the tendency to overthrow and post a mixed bag of numbers, he is emerging as a workhorse at least and displaying the type of warrior mentality that all great pitchers have. He also is likely to improve with a second straight season under the tutelage of the same pitching coach in Chris Bosio.

    It's a tough call for the Cubs. I can certainly accept the arguments for trading him now, especially for some the wish list packages other commenters are posting. Yet, it wouldn't surprise me if this situation drags past the winter meetings, nor would it surprise me if he goes to spring training w/o an extension.

  • Two words why the Cubs won't sign Shark... Ryan Dempster. The NTC that he used to hold up a deal with the Braves will always be a sore spot for Theo and w/o the no-trade there's little chance that Samardzija will resign.

    And another two words why the Cubs want to deal Shark now rather than later... Matt Garza. With all the delays due to Garza's injuries, the risk associated with keeping JS and not being able to maximize the value of trading him has to be weighing on management. If teams are willing to put four good prospects on the table- even guys in AA or below- I think Samardzija is as good as gone.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Not even close. GM's are guided by all situations. Never by one isolated occurrence. And, for Demp, we were going to get R Delgado, who's no more than pretty good.

  • fb_avatar

    Jeff has never won even 10 games. He is a number 4 for a World Series Champ, a number 3 for a playoff team, a number 2 for a crappy team and a number 1 for the Astros. The Cubs should trade him now before he gets exposed even further for what he really is.AVERAGE.

  • In reply to Ironman McGinnity:

    You're making the mistake of judging a pitcher by individual wins. That's way too much of a team-dependent stat. Smarj's shortcomings are reflected far more accurately in the stat categories over which he has control. Even the mainstream baseball writers have come a long way in stressing better measurements. As shown by their correctly giving King Felix AL CY a few years ago despite barely over .500 record. Never wouda happened 20, or even 10, years earlier.

  • Personally I am for resigning Feldman and Baker, trading Shark for a couple nice contenders for the rotation, adding some other inexpensive FA's, giving Hendricks and Rusin a shot at rotation...then moving Edwin Jackson to the stopper role with his resilient arm where he could thrive as a two inning guy. I know that is an expensive stopper, but we would have an inexpensive rotation that can get us to Strop and Russell. If Olt or someone from our system would step up now at 3B, If Vitters could prove to be the extra right handed bat in the outfield with Lake, and Castro and Rizzo bounce back and have great seasons...I see a winning formula. 2B needs to be resolved, but Barney(who needs to quit swinging for the fences and just put the ball in play) does have the glove and if our other everyday players produce, we could be solid team with top prospects coming soon...

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    Strop is our closer. And E-Jax will remain a starter because we still hope to get 4/52 value out of him, and can't possibly get that by making him a reliever.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    Worked very well for Dennis Eckersly. EJ has not proven to be a consistent starter, similar to Eckersly.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    What if Strop falters miserably and EJ has same season as starter as this past one, then what?

Leave a comment