It’s Saturday, and I don’t particularly want to do this right now, but there seems to be more than enough chatter out there at the moment to justify at least a quick post on… well… this:
Teams have inquired about StarterJeff Samardzija. Source: Toronto putting together package of young players.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) November 23, 2013
There is a lot to like about the Shark, but a lot to be concerned about here, too.
In terms of the player, on one hand, Samardzija has only thrown 200 innings once, has put up less than three wins over the last two years per Baseball Reference, and only has two years left before free agency. On the other hand, those innings have been limited by the fact that he had pitched largely as a reliever from 2008 to 2011. He is well liked by FanGraphs’ FIP-based version of WAR, having been worth nearly six wins over the last two seasons by that metric. He’s a hard thrower with a K% consistently above 20%, and has basically held his average velocity over the past three seasons, despite working exclusively out of the ‘pen in the first of those years, and he’s relatively cheap, with MLBTR projecting him at $4.9-million in arbitration this year.
In terms of cost? It’s slightly terrifying. I wrote last month about some spitballin’ that Cubs fans and writers were doing in this regard, which had them come up with Kyle Drabek and Daniel Norris as the keys guys to build a package around– in which case, giddy up!– but obviously you’d have to think that Chicago would be pressing hard for someone like Aaron Sanchez or Marcus Stroman.
Maybe not. Maybe “package” implies quantity over quality, to an extent. And, I mean, exactly how much bigger would a package have to be than six years of one of those guys for two of the Shark??
I’d like to think that a deal without them can actually be done.
The Cubs no longer have two of the three primary outfielders they used in 2013, having moved Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus. Another outfielder of thiers, Nate Schierholtz, has been drawing trade interest. The remaining Junior Lake, Ryan Sweeney, and Brian Bogusevic can seem to handle centre (though nobody knew that about Lake until he got to the big leagues last year, where he played the position for the first time), but maybe there’s interest in something like several years of Anthony Gose.
However, looking at the Cubs top 10 just released by Baseball America, you’d have to think they’d be very interested in adding pitching to the top end of their list, to go along with C.J. Edwards, who was acquired in the Matt Garza trade.
Would it have to be Sanchez or Stroman, though? One of the ways that the Cubs and Jays might line up is in the fact that Chicago is truly building for the long-term and has a tonne of talent in the low minors. In the BA piece we’re also given a list of the organizations best players at age 25 or younger, and seven of the first eleven names on the list have yet to hit Double-A yet. Some of the Jays’ wealth of talent at those levels would fit very nicely with what the Cubs are doing, and would certainly be easier to part with if you’re the Jays.
But that doesn’t mean that Alex Anthopoulos isn’t in an unenviable spot– or, at the very least, a spot that should make us scared about what he might do. He’s seemingly faced with the need to carefully watch his budget, yet also needing to strengthen his big league roster demonstrably in the here and now. Given the rising likelihood that he may not be here for the long-term if things don’t work out well in 2014, the GM is probably not as worried as us fans about the long-term implications moves he’ll need to pull just to keep his head above water.
I’d like to think he’s more mindful of organizational well-being than the most ominous implications of his situation might suggest, but the more any of that creeps into his cost-benefit analysis, the more likely we are to see a deal we’re not very pleased with. I mean, I like Samardzija quite a lot, frankly, and I think he would certainly be more helpful to the 2014 Blue Jays than either Sanchez or Stroman, but… y’know… we are going to be here to watch the 2016, ’17, and ’18 versions of this club and beyond, even if Alex may not.
Shit, I could take a wait-and-see approach for 2014 with much of the current roster and not even be too upset about it, frankly. I can’t say I expect that will be the course the GM takes, though. Hard decisions are headed our way. Get ready. Maybe even try to get excited for what they mean for next year, even if your gut is screaming at you that they portend doom.