Trade Rumors: Cubs Demanding a Hefty Return for Shark, Hammel

Trade Rumors: Cubs Demanding a Hefty Return for Shark, Hammel

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The just completed 10-game home stand was must-see for many of the game's top scouts.  Bruce Levine of CBS quotes one of them on why the Cubs are so popular at the moment:

“As you look at pitchers before the trade deadline, you only consider guys you project who can pitch in the first three games of the playoffs.  I look at the Cubs, [Jason] Hammel could start the third game, [Jeff] Samardzija the first game for any contending club. You have to believe these guys are better than your 4th and 5th starters or you have no business making a deal. You can find four’s and five’s in your own system.”

Jeff's ability to be the ace of the staff for any contender is the reason the Cubs are driving such a hard bargain for him.  As previously reported, the Cubs are asking for four players for Jeff with an emphasis on high end pitching.  Hammel is not as expensive (as he isn't quite as good) but Levine reports that he will still cost an acquiring team a top 3 organizational prospect.

The quote from the scout may seem surprising in that it implies that Samardzija would be a better choice to start a playoff game than rookie phenom Masahiro Tanaka.  However, Tanaka lost last night when he chose to go after Mike Napoli with a fastball instead of his splitter on a 1-2 count.  Napoli blasted Tanaka verbally and with the bat for the decision.  It would be easy to shrug this off as one bad game.  However, it has to concern the Yankees a little that his xFIP has climbed every month, from 2.05 in April, to 2.53 in May, to 2.78 in June.

In terms of who is interested, Levine has the Yankees with two scouts at both Hammel's and Samardzija's starts.  The Blue Jays had a scout at each game and the Mariners had top evaluator Ted Simmons watching both starts.  Notably absent from this list are the Royals.  There are several different interpretations here:

  • Levine simply didn't see or mention the Royals scouts.
  • They've seen all they need to see and felt their scouts were better used at other games.
  • Dayton Moore doesn't feel like paying Theo's price.

Barney to the Blue Jays?

Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun has been all over the Samardzija story of late, and has up to 10 different scouts watching Samardzija since last year, including former Cubs GM Ed Lynch.  Intriguingly, he has the Jays scouting Carlos Villanueva and Darwin Barney in addition to Shark.  Both fill needs for the Blue Jays who need help in the infield and in the bullpen.

It's difficult to impossible seeing either guy getting more than a token return by themselves.  However, it is very possible that the Blue Jays are asking for some "sweeteners" if they are going to part with the package the Cubs are demanding for Samardzija.  I have to believe, with the near constant chatter regarding a Cubs-Blue Jays deal, that they are the front runners at the moment.

One guy who is surprising by his absence from the rumors is Luis Valbuena.  Perhaps, with one of the game's top offenses, the Blue Jays would like Barney to improve on defense.  It's also possible that the the value the Cubs put on Luis is higher than the Blue Jays are willing to pay.

Angels Looking for Bullpen Help

We heard the Angels name last week as a possible suitor for Jason Hammel.  However, Anthony Castrovince of, proposes what I see as a much more likely outcome.  The Angels biggest need is the bullpen, and they could use their so-so minor league system to add a guy like James Russell or even Pedro Strop for a serious push.  Strop, who Castrovince doesn't specifically mention, would be the more expensive of the two, possibly requiring the Halos to part with prized arm Hunter Green.

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  • How likely do you think a Strop trade would be? This seems like one of those "we're not looking to deal so you'll have to wow us" type things, no?

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    In reply to cubbie steve:

    Len Kasper mentioned it as a possibility the other day. Think it would take a really good return. But with guys like Vizcaino and Rivero on the verge of the majors they might be willing to take a long term return on Strop to open room for the guys in the minors.

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    In reply to cubbie steve:

    I think trading Strop makes alot of sense to increase our return. Normally a rebuilding club wouldn't trade a guy with 3 more years of control, but that makes him more valuable than a rental. And we are rich in RH power relievers; we can replace him easily from within our system.

    If it takes a young power arm to get us the return we want, I would pony up Strop no problem

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Plus, Strop hasn't shown he will definitely be consistent. Now might be the best time, as it will give someone like Rivero a chance to get a shot while giving us some return.

    Indeed if we were to trade Arrieta and Strop and get a pretty good prospect for Strong and a TOR for Arrieta (can't trade him for less), what an amazing return we would have gotten for Scott Feldman!

  • In reply to springs:

    We have already gotten an amazing return for Scott Feldman. Either Strop or Arrieta alone is an amazing return for three months of a little more than decent starter.

    It makes sense to move Strop for a good return, since the system seems to have a couple that could replace him immediately. But the same does not apply to Arrieta. He has the potential to be a TOR starter with three years of control. There is no one in the organization to replace him for quite a while. Doesn't mean we shouldn't trade him, but it does mean that we would have to get a killer return for him, which isn't likely to happen.

  • Trade Jeff, Hammel, Barney and Nate in any combination ASP

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    If we make a trade, we need to get good value back. No need to rush. I trust Theo's trading ability.

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    With a $5 mil salary, and an OPS of .551, I think Nate Schierholtz has exactly zero trade value......

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Agreed... it's looking like his stats last year were more of an outlier than things to come. He is what he is. He needs to get red hot for July and we'd still have to eat most of his salary to get anything for him...

  • I would think that any of the following players are available...
    Jeff Samardzija
    Jason Hammel
    Edwin Jackson
    James Russell
    Wesley Wright
    Carlos Villanueva
    Brian Schlitter

    Hitters (and I use that term loosely):
    Darwin Barney
    Justin Ruggiano
    Chris Coghlan
    Ryan Sweeney
    Nate Schierholtz
    Luis Valbuena

    ... and for the right price/trade possibly younger guys like:
    Mike Olt
    Justin Grimm
    Pedro Strop

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    "For the right price", you should add Rizzo, Castro, and every other player in any level of the system.

  • When they were traded by the Cubs:

    Maholm (Age: 30 - 2012) 120 IP - 109 ERA+ {Vizcaino}
    Feldman (Age: 30 - 2013) 91 IP - 114 ERA+ {Arrieta, Strop}
    Garza (Age: 29 - 2013) 71 IP - 125 ERA+ {Edwards, Grimm, Ramirez, Olt}

    Hammel (Age: 31 - 2014) 102 IP - 130 ERA+ {???}
    Samardzija (Age: 29 - 2014) 108 IP - 137 ERA+ {???}

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Not to mention that extra year of control with Shark.

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    What type of return do you think they would get for their international slot $$$? What type of value does it really have?

  • In reply to Joseph Winner:

    Ronald Torreyes got a us slot from Houston last year. A minimal prospect by itself, but could be a sweetener in a bigger deal.

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    In reply to springs:

    Traditionally how active are Seattle, KC, or Toronto in the international signing period? Active enough that they would be interested?

  • In reply to Joseph Winner:

    Because of the penalty the Cubs incurred going over budget in the International Draft last year, I believe the maximum $$ they can sign a guy for this year is $250k. They still have a huge budget because of how poorly their record was last year, but with a max of $250k per signee, there's no point in trading for cap dollars that they can't use to land any of the big fish this year.

  • In reply to jmoultz:

    I think what hes asking is with the Cubs budget and inability to spend could they trade a couple of slots and get a decent prospect back. I was thinking the Cubs would make a move on July 2 involving some of that space as a sweetner but now it may just be on its own

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    If the Cubs can pull off these trades, I see really good things for this team starting next year. 2016 could be truly amazing.

  • It would be interesting to see what the price for players like Brandon Beachy or Ivan Nova are like. I would target them in a Hammell centered deal.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I would demand Ian Clarkin from the Yankees for Hammel

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I would love to get Clarkin as well, I'm just thinking along the Arrieta/Vizcaino lines of trading our second most valuable trade chip for players who are ready to contribute to the big leagues next season and using the bigger trading chip to get a higher volume of prospects like the Garza deal.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I am not sure that would be the risk of overvaluing Hammel, he is a good pitcher in 2014 and it is the trade deadline, so a headliner who is in low A ball with good but not great stuff isn't enough for me.

  • This offense is going to be downright frightening REAL soon..... If they get these SP trades right , we could be in the thick of things, as soon as next yr.

    I think the most important thing happening in this org is that Castro is back on superstar trajectory....

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    In reply to Carl9730:

    I would argue that the offense is pretty frightening right now. :)

  • When its all said and done Shark will go to TOR and AA will have to give up Sanchez and Norris , too much chatter and smoke and scouts for too long . AA will budge but he has done what He can to try to minimize the price thru the press .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I think you hit that nail on the head.

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    I would be thrilled if teams actually WANTED to take spare parts off of our roster as pot sweeteners.

    Jays want Barney and Villanueva? Sure! You want Schierholtz & Jackson too?

    I'd be willing to pay their remaining salaries (this year only) to clear some waste off the roster AND increase our chance for a great return.

    I will personally pack Barney and Villa's bags if it is more likely we get back Sanchez + Norris + CF dude + a couple flyers.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Problem with a single big 'unload' of some of the spare parts is that the absorbing team would likely have to clear their own roster space to take those spare parts on.

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    Oh, I know. You're absolutely right about that but based on the report that there is interest in Barney and Villa, I'm just saying I'd be happy to see nonessential players with little-to-no trade value by themselves get thrown into bigger deal, IF the receiving team is interested.

  • I do think they really want to move barney to make room for AA. Barney would be a good fit for a heavy offensive playoff type team.

  • The Tampa Bay Times has a story today indicating that David
    Price will be traded shortly , possibly to St. Louis. It will be interesting to see where he goes and what players the Rays receive in return. It would behoove the Cubs to move Jeff S. ASAP before his stats revert to the mean.

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    In reply to ELAN:

    Could you link it? It wouldn't surprise me if it happened. As I've said before, I think that would be a best case scenario for the Cubs.

  • If "Shark" keeps throwing like he has been, the Cubs will be lucky to get "a player to be named later."

  • In reply to Hey Hey:

    Troll Troll go go away away.

  • Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN 1m
    Filed to ESPN: Red Sox have re-engaged Jon Lester in contract talks -- but may face a tough choice, this close to his free agency.

    Have to wonder if they'd think about trading Lester if they don't come to terms on a new contract. Would be bad for the Samardzija market but Lester without the QO would be an interesting FA after the season.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Even if the Red Sox can't come to an agreement with Lester, why wouldn't they still offer an QO?

  • In reply to John57:

    The no QO thing is only if the Red Sox traded him. I don't expect that they will trade him, but they're seven games under .500 and sitting 9th in the WC standings, so I was just wondering if they would /should consider moving him if they can't sign him now.

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    In reply to North Side Irish:

    At the moment it doesn't seem real likely. However, hearing the return on Hammel could be huge and that might change their minds.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    1. The Red Sox are not trading Lester
    2. It's 100% certain that Lester will get a qualifying offer

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I believe NSI is referring to the fact that there couldn't be a QO extended to Lester should he be traded. As in, if Lester was to be traded it it would be bad for Shark, but a positive would be that there then couldn't be a QO attached to Lester.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    QO doesn't matter to cubs anyway top 10 picks are protected so they won't lose there top pic and can sign anyone. It will be a good year to sign big name pitchers if we can because once Bryant and Baez come up might get out of that top 10.

  • In reply to jboy86:

    Actually, they would then lose their 2nd round pick and the pool money associated with it. And if they signed another, they'd lose their 3rd round pick and the pool money that goes with it.

    I do think they'd be willing to do that for a pitcher like Lester, but not so sure about a player like Masterson or Colby Rasmus.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I think if they really expect to sign a player with a QO I wouldn't be shocked if they get a comp pick back in a trade

  • Jon Heyman reports:

    Recent pro scout sightings at Wrigley Field attributed to recent re-release of smokey links and $8 Goose Island brew. Heyman claims lack of pitching demand in trade market, sites recent commentary out of Toronto front office as proof......

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    Anybody know why the Cubs didn't play on a Sunday for the first time in over 40 years?

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    In reply to Ray:

    Deal with the city to keep down traffic on the day of the Pride parade.

  • Mike, good catch on the Levine info. I heard him on Hit &,Run this morning. He said that every scout he talked during the homestand had Shark as TOR for their team. Kinda shows all the smoke blown last week.

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    In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    Thanks. Add to that, Nick Cafardo has a piece I saw tonight where he says that Hammel might be the most in-demand player in the game right now. I think we're gonna be real happy with the returns.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Love it. And Hammel can come back to the North Side next April too.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Castro has rebounded bigtime, Rizzo is a stud, our system will be bearing good & great fruits, and Shark & Hams are being sought!!! That light at the end of tunnel is getting bigger & better to me.

    I enjoy what you bring, Moody. (I have a buddy with the same name...that's what he's called)

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    I'm getting very depressed at what in my mind the Cubs are likely to get back for Samardzija. At this point, to me, it's looking like the Garza return would be a win.

    I believe Samardzija will become a solid No. 2 on a contender and have been all for overpaying to keep him. But the reality is that he has been inconsistent and has never shown he can put together a full season as a starter. He's a career 10 or more games under .500 with an ERA around 4 and the prevailing thought may be that for how many ever starts you are likely to get from him the rest of the way that you aren't losing much, if anything, by targeting Hammel instead. Especially since Samardzija seems unlikely to sign an extension no matter who he goes to.

    The question is, if the Cubs don't get an offer with at least one high ceiling player, do they hold onto him? I lean toward yes, but it seems like a Catch 22.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I firmly expect if they don't get what they want they hold to shark and move him in the ofseason or deadline next year. That said I think someone meets cubs price this year

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