Let’s be honest with ourselves. When you’re a pitcher on the trading block, and you’ve got a 1.68 ERA, a 1.067 WHIP, a strikeout-to-walk ratio of over 3-to-1, and you’re on pace to throw over 215 innings, there are going to be a lot of teams interested in you. Particularly when you’re still under team control for another season and a half.
That’s certainly the case with Jeff Samardzija, and while every team has probably called the Cubs to kick the tires on a Samardzija deal at some point, according to Bruce Levine, one of the latest with serious interest would be the Baltimore Orioles.
From CBS Chicago:
The Baltimore Orioles appear to be the leading team of interest in the sweepstakes for Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija, as sources confirmed the two teams are mutually interested.
With the American League East up for grabs, the Orioles could separate themselves from the pack with a pre-emptive move before the trading deadline on July 31.
The Orioles have premium young pitching that the Cubs will insist on if they are going to move their ace. Right-handed pitchers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Hunter Harvey and left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez top the list of young arms the Cubs are scouting.
It seems the AL East being entirely up for grabs this season is a good thing for the Cubs. As I mentioned when talking about a proposed trade with the Blue Jays, Samardzija is having the kind of season that can decide a division race.
The difference between that proposed trade by Jim Bowden, and the rumored interest of the Orioles is that Levine makes it sound as though Baltimore would be willing to give up its top arms to land Samardzija.
Personally I’m not so sure how sound a strategy that is, though I guess with the rate that young arms are exploding these days — and Dylan Bundy already had Tommy John nearly a year ago — maybe the Orioles aren’t as hesitant to say goodbye to top pitching prospects. And maybe they’re also a little desperate to make a real postseason appearance, after getting nothing more than a wild card game despite winning 178 games the last two seasons.
Winning the division is the only way to ensure you get more than one game in the postseason, after all.
Now, as with all these kinds of reports and rumors, there’s a huge difference between “interested” and “ready to make a deal.” The only real takeaway here is that, as long as Samardzija keeps on keeping on, there’s going to be plenty of interest in him, and the Cubs should be able to get a good package of players in return.
Or they could just sign him to an extension. That would work too.
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