A new era in Chicago: “Untouchable.”
By Jake Misener
Jul 19, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcherJeff Samardzija
(29) delivers a pitch in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Over the past three days, rumors have been flying that the Cubs are listening to offers on right-hander Jeff Samardzija.
Don’t be fooled.
The initial report, which came from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, says that the Cubs were entertaining offers for their ace, but the asking price was “high, as expected.” What this shows, to me personally, is not that the Cubs are actively shopping the 28-year old, but that a drastic shift in mindset is taking place in the front office.
Under Jim Hendry, Chicago became notorious for saying players were “untouchable.” At one point, as one of our followers on Twitter pointed out, he went so far as to call Jeff Baker untouchable. This shows a mindset that pillaged the farm system in Chicago, and cost Cubs fans a legitimate shot at a World Series Championship.
There is one difference that must be identified in this whole situation.
Listening to offers is something altogether different than placing a player on the trade block. Listening to offers means that the organization is willing to admit that although the idea is not on the top of their list, if the right combination of prospects were offered, the trade would be broken down by the baseball minds in the front office.
Once a player is placed on the trading block, it means that he is being actively shopped. Let’s be clear. There is absolutely no evidence to support the claim that Jeff Samardzija is being actively shopped by the Cubs.
Teams that would likely be interested include namely the Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Arizona Diamondbacks, who also are rumored to have a high level of interest in Milwaukee Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo.
There is no doubt that Boston has the depth of prospects in the farm system to pull off such a deal, but the real question is whether or not Theo Epstein’s former club would be willing to make such a deal with their former general manager. Things between the two didn’t end on the highest of notes, but nonetheless, some potential still exists.
Prospects that would likely draw the attention of the Cubs include Jackie Bradley Jr., Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo and Henry Owens. It appears unlikely, however, that Bradley would be moved due to the fact that he is near- Major League ready, and the future for the Red Sox in center field remains unclear with Jacoby Ellsbury entering free agency after this season.
Arizona remains in pursuit of the Dodgers in a tight race out west, but to be frank, unless this team adds a few pieces, it’s unlikely they compete with the quality of baseball being played in Los Angeles.
Jake Peavy is an arm that could end up with the Diamondbacks, but what it all comes down to is whether or not any of these teams are ready to pull the trigger. With Biogenesis suspensions expected early this week, many teams will likely wait to see the impact on any potential deals.
Again, folks. Let’s remember the difference between the trading block and entertaining offers. In the meantime, don’t expect Jeff Samardzija to leave Chicago unless Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are completely overwhelmed by an offer- starting with a future ace pitching prospect.