Force Trade On! What if the Cubs trade Jeff Samardzija...and then flip the prospects?

Force Trade On! What if the Cubs trade Jeff Samardzija...and then flip the prospects?

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The Cubs news that has dominated November thus far is the likelihood of a Jeff Samardzija trade.  We talked about this earlier thanks to multiple sources, including some items from Tom Loxas.  The latest random news suggests that the top bidder for Samardzija's services is the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are attempting to involve a third team in order to facilitate the trade.  This in turn suggests that the Diamondbacks either cannot or will not give up a sufficient prospect package on their own to acquire Samardzija.

Packle, from our Facebook community, suggested that the Cubs need to act quickly in order to get maximum return for Samardzija before David Price hits the market.  Price has quietly lurked as the big tuna in this winter's trade rumors and will logically cost a lot to acquire.  Mauricio and I blogged about what a David Price trade would cost earlier and the Cliffs Notes version is that it would decimate just about any team's impact prospect depth.  From this standpoint, it makes sense to move Samardzija quickly, and it makes sense for teams to pony up a smaller prospect package to get Samardzija rather than having to shoot the moon for Price, especially if they cannot afford to pay for Matt Garza or Masahiro Tanaka (if he's ever posted).

Another idea that hit me was that the Cubs may be able to kill two birds with one stone.

Picture a scenario where the Cubs consider their rotation options.  They can continue to work with what they have in-house, or they can use their improved farm system to acquire a pitcher from outside.  There are a few ways to think about the rotation, and the question is--which one would be best, and which one could actually happen?

  1. Rotation with Jeff Samardzija at the top.
  2. Rotation with David Price at the top.
  3. Rotation that includes both David Price and Jeff Samardzija.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Door #3 does not happen.  To torch the farm for David Price seems counter to what the Cubs have been trying to build towards, which is a farm system that funnels impact talent into the majors.  Trading for Price straight up would be like sending humanity back to the Stone Age.

As for #1 and #2, let's all agree for now that #2 is the better option.  David Price is a former Cy Young Award winner with an incredible track record and despite his hiccup last season is still considered an elite pitcher.  Jeff Samardzija has the potential to maaaaaaaaaaaaaybe get there, but he's not quite there yet.  Both gentlemen have two years of control left, but Price is going to be more expensive for obvious reasons.  The question now turns to how the Cubs can get David Price without completely nuking the farm which is what #3 would entail.

This is a big if, but if the Cubs had the idea to upgrade at the top while lessening the price (pun intended) of acquisition, the third team scenario may help quite a bit.  Arizona would be able to send the Cubs various prospects (possibly Tyler Skaggs, and most likely not Archie Bradley since Tom Loxas says they're involving the third team), the third team would also send the Cubs various prospects, and then the Cubs could send a modified prospect package to Tampa Bay to get Price.  This would work better anyway because a straight up Samardzija-for-Price trade makes little sense to the Rays; they're looking to get younger talent that has more club control attached to them, whereas Samardzija is slightly older than Price and has the same amount of club control left (plus the whole he-isn't-quite-as-good thing).

Dabynsky thinks that any prospect package to get Price from the Cubs would include Javier Baez, third team or not.  Being that Tampa Bay has a reputation for making shrewd trades (as they showed by ripping Wil Myers away from the Royals for James Shields), this may not be palatable to Cubs fans or officials.  However, we're left with the following:

  1. With Prince Fielder having been traded to Texas and allowing Detroit to save money, Max Scherzer may no longer be available as the Tigers will have the flexibility to extend Scherzer.
  2. The Cubs have shown a reluctance to spend heavily in free agency, which means that an option like Matt Garza is out (even though Garza is solid, he's not that big of a game changer).
  3. Despite Dabynsky's optimism, the chances that the Cubs can land Tanaka are very slim; also see point #2.

Trading Jeff Samardzija to build for the future is admirable and I'm on board with a long-term plan.  While I'm not suggesting that this insane idea will actually happen, I offer this as an alternative method of increasing the odds of contention while mitigating the hit the Cubs' farm system will take.  I'm sure smarter people than I are thinking about this in the Cubs' offices in advance of the Winter Meetings.  I think some of them will think I'm completely nuts.  I also think at least a few will see the reasoning behind all this.  I don't expect David Price to be a Cub in the near future, but again, this may be the best way to satisfy concurrent goals with the least amount of damage.

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  • I can't get with that concept. Priice would only make sense IF you were in win now mode. He may be younger than Samardzija, but his arm isn't. My concerns with his list velocity alone would make me steer clear of him If I'm the Cubs. I like stockpiling the system with young stuff laden athletic pitching for thus club better. Trade Samardzija for the prospects and keep and develop them. That's the way I'd go. Also draft them and bring em along.

  • In reply to jackhammerebm:

    Thank you for the comment. Sorry about the edit thing, that's on ChicagoNow's end and we can't do anything about it but I understood what you meant. I fully admit this is a crazy idea but if they chose to go this route I can definitely see a rationale for it, and it's a long shot anyway. I just like to think out loud, and I also think David Price is a smart enough pitcher (plus united with his college pitching coordinator and Chris Bosio) to figure out what to do with his lost velocity.

  • In reply to jackhammerebm:

    If it doesn't involve the Cubs getting Archie Bradley and/or Matt Davidson, I wouldn't do a deal with Arizona. As far as Price goes, that would be a waste. They're not ready to contend, so why bring in a high dollar ace pitcher who will be on the wrong side of 30 by the time they're in a position to succeed?

  • In reply to bmoss1019:

    Part of the point (from our previous Price blog) is that if the Cubs do acquire Price, they would have to make a push for contention sooner rather than later. This blog was simply to set up a scenario in which the Cubs could acquire Price without sending away all their impact talent right away; that is, some of the impact talent would come from elsewhere.

  • Wish you had an edit button list is lost, and thus is this.

  • Here's where I have to laugh about this whole "waiting to contend" thing before trading for the Prices & signing the Ellsburys, for examples. Wouldn't signing one & trading for the other help them to "contend"? (Laugh out Loud). I mean, isn't the goal all along to get the team to contend? Not saying to sell off the entire farm in order to contend. But it's not realistic to believe that all of the players on a contending team are the product of that team's farm system only. Look at Holiday & Beltran. Neither were Card farm hands.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    That's sort of the point of this exercise. IF the Cubs intend to contend sooner rather than later, they have to take a risk. And it can't be just a singular risk (acquiring Price), they'd also have to try to get other pieces to supplement Price. And that's the reason why this acquisition is unlikely. It's not because it's unfeasible per se, it just may not gel with the rebuild plan, and if you're getting impatient as a Cubs fan then you're probably annoyed with that. I set up this exercise as a way to think of how to upgrade while reducing the amount of damage to the farm system.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Ok and other then holliday and beltran the entire Cardinals roster was drafted by them or developed in their system.Molina, Wainwright, Adams, Craig, Wacca, Jay, Miller, Rosenthal, Garcia, Caprenter x2, and the rest of their pitching staff almost all developed by them

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