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Report: Cubs already talking potential trades involving Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel

Jun 14, 2014, 12:55 PM EDT

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With 25 teams within five games of a playoff spot, the number of sellers before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline will likely be limited. The Cubs are one of the obvious ones and they are already talking about potential trades.

Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Cubs have had trade talks with multiple teams regarding Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. Offers have already been made by two teams, with the Braves, Mariners, and Blue Jays among those who are the most interested. One major league source told Wittenmyer that he expects Hammel to end up in Seattle.

Samardzija has a 2.77 ERA over 14 starts this season and figures to be one of the top names available this summer. The 29-year-old right-hander is due to become a free agent after the 2015 season. Hammel won’t cost as much as Samardzija, but he should generate more interest since he won’t cost as much in a trade. Coming off a disappointing 2013, the 31-year-old owns a 2.81 ERA and 76/18 K/BB ratio in 83 1/3 innings over 13 starts this season. He’s owed a little over $3 million for the rest of the season and will be a free agent this winter.

  1. cowboysoldiertx - Jun 14, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    Cubs are not really going to see a run at winning before 2015 so trading them both makes sense.

    • stevequinn - Jun 15, 2014 at 9:11 AM

      You meant 215 did you not??

  2. luz56 - Jun 14, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    Cubs are not going to see ANY CHANCE of winning period!!

  3. proudlycanadian - Jun 14, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    The Jays will not pay a lot for a rental.

    • lazyhorse420 - Jun 14, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      Glad you cleared that up.

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:03 PM

        Now you know. Nolin probably, but not Sanchez or Norris.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jun 14, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      Well, a lot of contenders will want pitching, and in exchange for losing the QO draft choice next year if the Cubs kept him and tendered him the QO, they’re going to want something non-cheap back. If the Jays won’t pay, somebody will.

      • paint771 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:40 PM

        I have a strong suspicion that were are in the midst of a significant shift in how franchises perceive the free agent and trade markets, and the values of veteran win-now rentals vs. young controllable talent. Compare teams like the As to the Angels, or the Braves to the Phillies, or the Rays (except this year) to the Yankees, or the Cardinals to the Dodgers, or whatever. Ask Stephen Drew, Kendrys Morales, Kyle Lohse, or whoever how valued “Good but not Franchise-Changing” veteran free agents do when valued against even rolling the dice on youth and controllability.

        Ten years ago, clubs would have been lining up to shove farm systems at teams like the Cubs for players like Samardzija (and, a lot of the franchises who did just that are paying for it now). But I just don’t think we live in that world anymore. Of course, all it takes is one, as you say, but teams (and players) also run the risk of overvaluing their leverage and getting left holding the bag, either with contracts worse than what they would have gotten otherwise (for free agents) or with players they can’t use who will only drop in value the longer they shop. There’s also the grass is greener problem. You know with Samardzija you’re either going to get the pitcher he is now, or worse. But that hot prospect is a blank slate or projections, so the GM that holds him is always going to value him, at least on some level, for his highest possible upside*.

        Point being, if I were the Cubs, I’d take the best package available, rather than holding out for the best package they can imagine.

        *It’s the same reason why, in politics, when you poll, say, Current Incumbent vs. “Generic Opponent X”, X always wins, even though you know nothing about him. Because the imagination of X is always better than the reality of the incumbent. But when the election comes and you have to choose between two known quantities, the incumbent almost always wins. Sorry, political polling sidebar. I had to make it a footnote to not run too far afield.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:49 AM

        Paint, good point on not holding out for too much.

        And, some teams have better farm systems, and can afford to pay more in terms of prospects and/or future draft choices.

        If Boston inches back into the AL East, they’ll pony up, I’m sure. The Angels might well do that, gambling on resigning him, and knowing that pitching is their biggest weakness for sure. A Sabean move for insurance with the Giants wouldn’t surprise me. Other than Toronto, off the top of my head, those are prime trade candidates.

    • lukedunphysscienceproject - Jun 14, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      Makes sense. Why would a perennial contender like the Blue Jays take a chance on a move that could help put them over the top?

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:01 PM

        The Cubs would want Toronto’s top prospect who was just promoted to Triple A. He will be in the Jays system for a long time. The two pitchers available from the Cubs would probably be gone after the season. No reason to trade Sanchez given his upside and controllability, for a short term rental of dubious merit.

      • paint771 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:13 PM

        Because trading young talent for veteran rentals when teams that have been in the wilderness for a long time suddenly sniff possibility usually doesn’t work out well.

        Remember Esteban Loaiza.

      • lukedunphysscienceproject - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:40 PM

        First of all, Samardzija is signed through next season, so he’s not technically a rental. And just because you point out an example of when it didn’t work, that doesn’t mean it “usually” doesn’t work. If it never worked, no one would do it.

      • southernmaster - Jun 14, 2014 at 3:57 PM

        Since when are the Blue Jays perennial contenders??????????

      • mikhelb - Jun 14, 2014 at 4:56 PM

        “perennial contender like the Blue Jays”
        o_O

      • lukedunphysscienceproject - Jun 14, 2014 at 7:12 PM

        WOW. Two people in a row who need their sarcasm receptors adjusted.

    • 18thstreet - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      JS comes back next year. I think teams ought to be willing to give a lot to get him.

    • paint771 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      I have a sneaking suspicion the Jays won’t make the sort of move that baseball writers are all saying they should (i.e. a big trade for a front-of-the-rotation starter). Instead, I think they’ll maybe add a depth veteran type who would see most of his time in AAA but be there in a pinch (an Eric Bedard type), and try to juggle internal options (Morrow back, Sanchez August callup, maybe some dumpster diving pickups they hope a change of scenery works on, etc).

      Knowing how the Jays think, I just have a hard time thinking of them stomaching a trade where they’re giving up young controllable talent – especially given the reported asking prices of rentals lately, with the dearth of sellers and talent out there – to roll the dice on squeezing five more wins by getting half a season out of a guy having a good year. There’s just too many variables – maybe the Jays crater, maybe the starter doesn’t translate or starts regressing to his mean, maybe a Jays option starts establishing himself or pushing his way in, maybe you’re giving up chips that could land some much bigger fish (Sanchez and two B+s for Samardzija might seem good now, but Sanchez two B+s plus Adam Lind and Colby Rasmus could get you a farm system or a major league roster ala the Marlins).

      I mean, maybe AA would do it because it’s his ass on the line or because everybody is hollering that he should, but it seems to go against every fiber of his being, from what I’ve seen of him and his philosophy. I bet they come close, but I would not be surprised if they just couldn’t pull themselves to pull the trigger.

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        Well said.

      • lukedunphysscienceproject - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:42 PM

        Another poster who doesn’t realize that Samardzija is signed through next season.

      • mikhelb - Jun 14, 2014 at 5:00 PM

        “Knowing how the Jays think” & “to roll the dice on squeezing five more wins by getting half a season out of a guy having a good year.”

        I see you do know how the BJays think, ’cause Samardzija is signed for 2014 and 2015, not just 2014 as you… errr.. the BJays think.

  4. sportsfan18 - Jun 14, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Smaradzija isn’t all that good. Wouldn’t give up a lot of solid prospects for him.

  5. musketmaniac - Jun 14, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    Although he didn’t impress me Thursday against the buccos, Pittsburgh would love to have him, and we got plenty of prospects. But my money says he’s getting the Yankee Clippers, literally that hair needs to go.

  6. The Cub Den - Jun 14, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    I’m torn between this potential deal. I like the Shark but if it means for the Cubs to get a quality starter then I’m all for it.

    http://mlblogscubden.wordpress.com/

  7. Old Gator - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    I bet you Samar…Samar…yeah, him – is already halfway packed and trembling with anticipation. I’ve seen my light come shining / from the west down to the east / any day now, any day now…..

  8. notsofast10 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    The Cubs are just a sad organization period. Just not run well at all. Can’t really put my finger on it but they just never operate like they can ever contend. Therefore…..they never contend.

    • dan1111 - Jun 14, 2014 at 4:56 PM

      Yeah, they never contend. Except for 2009, 2008, 2007, 2003, 2001, 1998…

  9. insidefastball - Jun 14, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    The Cubs keep trading relatively affordable quality (younger) arms for prospects. Both of these guys have many years ahead as pitchers in the bigs. Why give up good pitching for prospects that might not pan out? I remember when guys like Gary Scott and Kevin Orie had the “future all-star” label thrown on them. The fact is that the current ownership is just cheap b/c they can’t afford the team. They dump anyone who is set to earn a modest salary. It isn’t like the Lee, Zambrano, Ramirez (etc.) contracts are holding the club back from spending anymore.

    • kstrejc99 - Jun 14, 2014 at 7:04 PM

      Noone worth a damn! Garza,Feldman,Maholm,Dempster,Lilly.

  10. swimmer2010 - Jun 14, 2014 at 7:26 PM

    The Braves would like to trade Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton for a bucket of warm spit and a little “Santorum”.

  11. musketmaniac - Jun 14, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    Will give you Josh Harrison and two minor leaguers nobody’s ever heard of.

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