Aug 30, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Earlier this morning on MLB Network Radio‘s ‘First Pitch,’ hosts Jim Memolo and former Cubs outfielder Todd Hollandsworth took a call from a listener on Chicago right-hander Jeff Samardzija and the likelihood of him wearing another uniform by Opening Day 2014.
"“You’re trading a guy who is not that old – especially his arm that’s younger than his chronological age,” said Memolo. “What you’re trying to trade for is younger arms.”"
Hollandsworth followed by pointing out that Chicago isn’t just seeking pitching prospects, but wants arms that are controllable, and close to reaching the big league level.
"“This isn’t ‘Trade us your best A-ball prospect, your flamethrowers, your high-upside guys who still have two years left in the minor leagues,” said 12-year big league veteran said. “This is trading for guys who are near or knocking-on-the-door ready either this year or next year.”"
Samardzija, who Hollandsworth admits has “ace” stuff, has been oft-connected with several organizations this offseason, including the Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays and Arizona Diamondbacks. However, with the addition of Gavin Floyd, it appears Atlanta is out of the running, according to rumors. That being said, the Braves still lack a true ace on the staff, and Samardzija could provide a shot in the arm to the staff.
Toronto still seeks pitching, but appears reluctant on parting with its two top pitching prospects, Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, in any deal for the Cubs’ right-hander. Hollandsworth did, however, point to the fact that Chicago continues to seek an extension with the former Notre Dame football star, while also realizing his inherent value on the open market.
"He can make sense here in Chicago,” said Hollandsworth, who recently lost out on a Cubs’ radio vacancy. “But Jeff wants to get paid like an ace, and I don’t blame him. He is what they have. Where the Cubs sit today is – he’s kind of it. Jeff Samardzija is the last man standing when it comes to the last few seasons of ‘take what we’ve got and use it to rebuild out system.'”"
Chicago has been incredibly quiet this offseason, despite several major needs on the roster. The team has added several minor outfield bats, while adding no significant pieces by most standards.
"“Find me an organization that’s going to trade me two prospects,” said Memolo. “I just don’t see a lot of teams trading two pitching prospects for the same deal.”"