The Giants are showing strong interest in Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). Other clubs in the picture include the Yankees, Orioles, Angels, Red Sox, and Blue Jays.
Yesterday it was reported that the Cubs have already started discussing trades involving Samardzija and Jason Hammel with at least two teams. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times cited the Braves, Blue Jays, and Mariners as clubs that have interest in bolstering their pitching through a deal with Chicago. Seattle is viewed as the most likely landing spot for Hammel at present.
Samardzija, who is eligible for free agency following the 2015 season, currently has a 2.77 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 91 innings. It has been long expected that the Cubs would dangle the 29-year-old and the future-minded club should find a ripe market this summer. The Red Sox could be a suitable trade partner given their strong pitching and catching depth in the minors and Theo Epstein’s familiarity with their system. The Orioles, meanwhile, have top-tier pitching prospects such as Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Hunter Harvey, and Eduardo Rodriguez that they can use to entice Theo & Co.
While some of the Samardzija suitors are playing catchup, the Giants are enjoying a 6.5 game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West and the top record in baseball. Adding the Cubs ace to their rotation would further bolster their already strong pitching. The Giants have a team ERA of 3.22, the third best in the majors.