Aug 24, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcherJeff Samardzija
(29) throws during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
According to a report from David O’Brien at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta Braves “could be leading suitors” for the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija, should Chicago decide to trade the right-hander this offseason.
"“We leave here feeling good about where we are,” Braves general manner Frank Wren said. “Now it’s just a matter of, sometimes (general managers) go home and regroup and have different discussions. Sometimes they go home and think about it a little and call you back and say, ‘OK, let’s get it done.’”"
Chicago is said to have an incredibly high asking price for the 29-year-old former Notre Dame standout, and Atlanta, according to O’Brien, is reluctant to part with any of its top prospects.
He goes on to say that despite their reluctance to part with top talent, including top pitching prospect Lucas Sims, Atlanta “might be able to put together a package good enough to land Samardzija without depleting their minor league system.”
Meanwhile, the Cubs’ front office are supposedly still working to sign Samardzija to a long-term extension, despite his turning down a five-year, $55 million offer earlier this year.
Last year, the right-hander went 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA and a career-high 214 SO in 213-plus innings of work for the Cubs – and his ability to handle a heavy workload could be a draw for teams like Atlanta, which is concerned with the health of Brandon Beachy and the loss of Tim Hudson via free agency to San Francisco.
In other news, earlier today Chicago traded outfielder Brian Bogusevic to the Miami Marlins in exchange for outfielder Justin Ruggiano, who is a right-handed bat that first-year skipper Rick Renteria could platoon next season. The team also lost four players and added one in the 2013 Rule 5 draft.