12:56pm: A baseball source differs from the report referenced below, telling MLBTR there is no truth to the assertion that the Cubs have inquired about receiving a competitive balance draft pick as part of a Samardzija deal.
10:57am: The Cubs have asked about acquiring a competitive balance-round draft pick and the associated bonus slot money as part of their desired return for Jeff Samardzija, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports. This would give Chicago an extra pick either between 35th-41st overall (Round A of the competitive balance picks) or 69th-74th overall (Round B) in this year’s amateur draft, should a trade be completed between now and Thursday.
Here’s a refresher on the order of the competitive balance round, which awards an extra pick to teams that play within the 10 smallest markets and/or teams with the 10 lowest revenues. Unlike other draft selections, competitive balance picks can be traded; just yesterday, the Marlins dealt the 39th overall pick to the Pirates in exchange for reliever Bryan Morris.
Passan cites the Rockies (picking at No. 35) as the best fit for Samardzija among the Round A teams with picks to trade, given Colorado’s long-standing need for starting pitching. The draft pick would just be part of a Samardzija trade package, of course, and I would guess the Cubs would also ask for Rockies pitching prospects Jonathan Gray or Eddie Butler in exchange for their ace. The Rox could possibly upgrade their rotation simply by promoting one of those two young arms, however, rather than deal assets for a veteran.
It seems unlikely that the Cubs would move Samardzija between now and Thursday’s draft, though they could still target a competitive balance pick in the 2015 draft. The competitive balance lottery for next year’s draft will take place in roughly six weeks’ times, and an extra pick could be a valuable trade chip for any contending teams who win those additional selections.