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The Orioles are in the lead in the “Jeff Samardzija sweepstakes”

May 28, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT

jeff samardzija getty Getty Images

When trade talks or free agent talks start people always act like it’s a race or a contest in which everyone is competing on some open and level field. One team is gaining, one is behind, another is coming up from the outside. Bah, save it for the Belmont Stakes. Real trade and free agent discussions have as much to do with opportunity and timing than anything else. Most big moves come together rather swiftly. It’s less horse racing and more UFC, in which one solid punch can knock the other guys out.

Which leads us to Jeff Samardzija, who is no doubt the biggest name on the trading block this season. Teams always want pitching, even in this pitcher-friendly era, and¬†Samardzija is a surer bet than a lot of guys to put in some good service time as a rent-an-ace. To that end,¬†Bruce Levine of reports that the Orioles “appear to be the leading team of interest in the Jeff Samardzija sweepstakes.”

Which makes sense, as the O’s could use big league ready pitching and happen to have a handful of pitching prospects the Cubs might like, such as Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Hunter Harvey and Eduardo Rodriguez.

So a trade could happen. But when it happens, it won’t feature a mad dash from the quarter pole to the finish. It’ll just happen.

  1. barrywhererufrom - May 28, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    Here comes the Smardzija watch..rumors rumors non rumors and plain old made up stories..but we all love it. Looking forward to thearing about the team that is definetly out of the sweepstakes suddenly landing Jeff!!!

  2. thetoolsofignorance - May 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    there is no such thing as a pitching prospect so I expect the Dodger’s to round up a couple and make a move for Samardzija

    What a staggering rotation that would be. Kershaw, Ryu, Greinke, Samardzija, (who cares if its Haren or Beckett?) but I appreciate that with Beckett and his no-no it would likely be Haren even though I like Haren better. The whole deal is not likely I grant but I would sure be happy about it.

    He’s going to be a Yankee if history is any judge.

  3. scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    Don’t. Do. IT!

    • Alex K - May 28, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      If Jed asks really nicely do you think they would trade Bundy? He’ll say pretty please and everything.

    • 18thstreet - May 28, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      Really? Are you worried that JS isn’t very good, or do you value your prospects too highly, or do you think that the Orioles aren’t good enough for JS to make a difference?

      It seems to me that JS could make a big difference for Baltimore in 2014.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 28, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        I’m not a fan of trading away quality, young, pitching for a 6 month to 1 year rental. Seems to me it’s like trading in my 2011 Civic that’s run perfectly with low miles in for a lease on a 2014 Dodge Gassguzzler ™. Sure, it’s nice and new and shiny, but at the end of the day am I giving up more than I’m getting?

        I’d love to have Jeff on the team, but the cost for these guys is too high, and often history has looked back on these sorts of trades as giant mistakes. Rentals almost NEVER work out.

      • sophiethegreatdane - May 28, 2014 at 3:04 PM


        The price may not actually be that high. Look at the price the Nats paid for Fister. IIRC (and I’m lazy so I won’t look it up) it wasn’t all that much they have up.

      • djpostl - May 28, 2014 at 3:38 PM

        Fister was an off-season deal and doesn’t have the upside of JS (and no matter how much I think consistency is undervalued it is just that).

    • Eutaw's Finest - May 28, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      Here’s my take on this- IF the O’s managed a trade for him now as opposed to July? They’d be getting a good portion of 2014 AND all of 2015 from him. So you’d get nearly 2 full seasons of JS in the trade. I have zero problem with this. Especially the way things have been going recently for pretty much everybody in this rotation. They just can’t get it together. NONE of them.

      • masher1965 - May 28, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        The one thing to that is WHY should the Cubs pull the trigger now ? The only thing that can hurt his value is an injury, so the longer they hold him , the more teams that can be involved. Unless the O’s are willing to really pay up ( or overpay ) there isn’t much reason for the Cubs to pull the trigger now

  4. thebirdsareback - May 28, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    Would they take Ubaldo and Eduardo lol

  5. hoopmatch - May 28, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    If I were an American League general manager interested in acquiring pitching in a mid-season trade I’d be hesitant to bet the farm on a National League hurler, especially one who has never pitched in the AL.

    • everon63 - May 28, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      Agreed, even if he did pan out, the orioles are still an 86 win team, it would take a lot more then 1 starter to even put them in a playoff discussion.

      • southpaw2k - May 28, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        The Orioles are currently only a half game out of the Wild Card right now. That’s well within the realm of a “playoff discussion.”

        (I know, I know – it’s not even June yet)

        Why wouldn’t adding a front of the line starter be enough to put them over the top?

        *For the record, I wouldn’t want to give up what the Cubs would want in exchange for Jeff, since he’s due to be a free agent after 2015.

  6. emdash01 - May 28, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    Samardzija had a major home run problem before this year, right? Seems like he’d be a bad fit in the AL East.

    Also, trading for a Cubs pitcher as a short-term rental hasn’t gotten great results for them in the past…

    • boogerhill - May 28, 2014 at 10:22 PM

      Major problem in “Ralph Kramden” yards!

  7. southpaw2k - May 28, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    While Samardjz…Samardz….Samar….JEFF would make an awesome addition to dem O’s rotation hon, I wouldn’t want Duke to give up one or more big pitching prospects to rent him through the end of next season. Plus, that would make three huge names hitting free agency after 2015 (Davis, Wieters, and…umm…Jeff). Dem O’s are clearly in “win now” mode, but I have a feeling the price would be too high to add him to the rotation.

  8. jeffbbf - May 28, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    If you read the story, there is no indication that the Orioles have any interest in Smardzija. Just Levine trying to draw eyes to his column with random speculation. Yes, Orioles have a couple of good, young arms. But no, there’s nothing to the story.

  9. thepittsburghkid - May 28, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    Pittsburgh will be in on this. They have liked him for awhile and have the prospects to acquire him.

    • ejheim62 - May 28, 2014 at 12:10 PM

      I hope not, unless the Cubs would take someone like Lambo. I would hate to see us give up pitching prospects, especially with Taillon out for about a year.

  10. Eutaw's Finest - May 28, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    DEEP BREATH… and relax…

    Here’s the thing- the O’s have 4 potential/future/prospect big arms in Gausman, Bundy, Harvey and Rodriguez. BUT. They are speculating that the Cubs would be interested in Schoop. Whether this means Schoop and one of these 4 I don’t know, but based on past Cubs demands I wouldn’t be shocked. Hell, I wouldn’t be shocked if they wanted Bundy, Harvey, Schoop and a bag of money.

    If they wanted Gausman and a few prospects and a player? Sure. Or Schoop and a few prospects? Why not. But if they wanted Gausman AND Schoop AND prospects? Not gonna fly.

    Regardless of whether or not JS ends up in Baltimore, I do believe 100% that 1 of the 4 pitching prospects will be traded by the deadline in order to help the immediate cause of the team.

    • southpaw2k - May 28, 2014 at 2:32 PM

      Theo Epstein is competent enough as a GM to ask for top dollar up front, so I think it’s safe to assume he’d ask for something like Gausman, Schoop, Harvey, and Rodriguez in exchange for Jeff. Whether Duke could talk him down from grand theft larceny like that is anyone’s guess. I still don’t like the idea of giving up any combination of Gausman, Schoop, and pitching prospect(s) for a guy who will almost certainly walk along with Wieters and Davis after 2015.

      • Eutaw's Finest - May 28, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        I don’t think all 3 would walk after 2015 but surely 2 of 3. Not to mention Cruz walking after this season too.

      • mazblast - May 28, 2014 at 4:18 PM

        Theo isn’t the GM. His sock puppet Hoyer is the titular general manager. Theo is the front man, and the guy who’ll take all the credit if things go well, while Hoyer is the back-office guy who’ll get thrown under the bus if things go as they usually do for the Cubs.

      • boogerhill - May 28, 2014 at 10:25 PM

        Little Theo can dream on!

  11. 18thstreet - May 28, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    From what I understand, Theo Epstein (and others with the Red Sox at the time) believe that the A-Rod/Manny+Lester deal fell apart because of media leaks. So there’s reason to believe that any leaks about Jeff Samardzija are not coming from the Cubs. At least, that’s how I’ll read the story. Absent a quote from “sources close to the Cubs” (or something similar), I’m just not going to believe any of the rumors until the trade is complete.

    • mazblast - May 28, 2014 at 4:20 PM

      “sources close to the Cubs” means Theo himself, leaking the “information” he wants released. He plays too many games besides the one he’s supposed to be playing. Not nearly as smart and clever as he thinks he is–but who could be?

  12. 18thstreet - May 28, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    It’s hard for me to understand what “being in the lead” means in this context.

    Let’s accept that the Orioles have put together the most appealing offer thus far. As of this moment, it’s still not good enough to close the deal (or the deal would have been made). So there’s a team out there that might improve its offer while the Orioles sit back and say, “Go on — see if you can beat what we’re offering. We’ll be here.” And if that other team offers a deal that’s good enough to complete, then the fact the Orioles were previous “in the lead” is utterly irrelevant.

  13. stinkfist5 - May 28, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    I would be in favor to just wait it out, keep all four possible mid-top of the rotation guys, and have a plethora of starters. If they all pan out, then trade one or more to get some great pieces that can contribute daily. If Duque gets the Shark, then we’ll have no shot of keeping Shark, Wiet, JJ, and Crush Davis. I’d rather keep the young kids and sign the current studs.

  14. djpostl - May 28, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    I have zero doubt that the O’s are leading in the interest category but I bet if Texas, KC or another team with a better farm system got involved they’d be nowhere near in the running unless they gave up Bundy, Gausmann and some other pieces.

  15. jfk69 - May 28, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    The only thing that Epstein would want from the Orioles in a trade would be Buck Showalter.

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