Another pitcher goes down, another Jeff Samardzija rumor pops up. I suppose that will continue to happen until the situation resolves itself one way or the other.
While the Braves didn't show any interest in re-engaging the Cubs on Samardzija, the Diamondbacks might. According to Bruce Levine, they will be scouting him once again. Kevin Towers has shown interest in him during the last trade deadline and then again this offseason. They ultimately chose to sign veteran Bronson Arroyo rather than pay the high price, but with Patrick Corbin becoming the latest in an outbreak of elbow injuries, they may once again make a run.
The thing is that Towers already knows what the Cubs want. He's gone back and the price did not change. He has to know that it will remain constant at the very least -- and it may even go up. Is he prepared to meet that price now?
The pitcher of interest from the Cubs point of view has been Archie Bradley, but to most outside observers, that price seems excessive. You can make an argument that Bradley could be every bit as productive as Samardzija in the near future -- only he's younger and has 6 years of cost control left. The argument from the D'Backs side is that they are a win now team, so maybe they overpay for a pitcher who can almost certainly help them the next two years. The emergence of prospect Braden Shipley ensures that the cupboard won't be completely bare if they trade Bradley. Still, it's difficult to fathom Arizona relenting.
Another scenario is a 3-way deal. Towers is a creative GM and right now his chief asset (other than Bradley) is a surplus at SS, where the D'Backs have Didi Gregorius and the MLB ready Chris Owings waiting in the wings. The Cubs, however, do not need a SS. They have two of their own -- but there are teams that do have that need, most notably the Detroit Tigers and the New York Mets. As we noted in our previous article on Darwin Barney, however, the Tigers don't exactly have a lot of assets to move and may have to settle for a lesser option.
As for whom the Cubs might be able to acquire from the Mets, one option could be pitching prospect Noah Syndegaard. He's not as highly regarded as Archie Bradley -- but he's close. Syndegaard is rated the 11th best prospect by Jason Parks of BP whereas Bradley is #9, but it remains to be seen whether the Mets would be any more likely to overpay than the D'Backs would. Sandy Alderson is anything but a pushover when it comes to trades. It's hard for me to imagine giving up one of the top SP prospects in the game for either Gregorius or Owings -- though Owings is the games' 28th best prospect. Perhaps the deal can be expanded and evened out, but it still seems like a long shot.
In the end, I think this will wind up being more smoke than anything, but with top starters dropping like flies, a durable guy like Jeff Samardzija could begin to look more and more appealing.
Filed under: Uncategorized