Jeff Samardzija Rumors

Quick Hits: Kasten, Mariners, Prospects

The Dodgers made several additions at the trade deadline yet didn’t move any of their top prospects to do so, a tactic that team president Stan Kasten generally prefers.  “I think I am well known, both by reputation and by my own comments, as having a deep, deep need to develop the farm system as a way of sustaining excellence over the long haul,” Kasten tells Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.  “It takes discipline to avoid the short term for the long term. And I think we have done that. That doesn’t mean we won’t trade anyone. We will. But we are going to keep our focus on retaining the majority of our high-end prospects so that we can be good and don’t have these pressing needs at the deadlines.”

Here’s some more from around the league as the baseball world still settles down from a busy pre-deadline week…

  • It seems like the Mariners are looking ahead to 2016, though GM Jack Zduriencik described his team’s deadline moves as helpful for both the present and future.  “It’s more about the future, yeah, but also the production you are getting at the big-league level and if you can replace that and still be competitive while adding talent to your organization,” Zduriencik told reporters, including The Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish. “I think that’s what we accomplished.”
  • A whopping 44 of the 57 prospects dealt over the last two weeks were pitchers, as several team officials told Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper that there weren’t many quality minor league position players available on the trade market.  Cooper breaks down the 57 traded prospects, which included six members of BA’s list of the top 50 prospects in the sport.
  • Looking ahead to the August waiver period, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick lists several players who could still be on the move this month.  One of the names listed, Martin Prado, probably won’t be dealt as Marlins officials say Prado is in the team’s plans for 2016.  It was reported prior to the July 31st deadline that Miami could move Prado but only for a major return.
  • James Shields, Jeff Samardzija and Starlin Castro are three more players who could be August trade candidates, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi says (Twitter link).
  • All 30 general managers receive grades for their trade deadline performance from ESPN’s Jim Bowden (Insider subscription required).  The Blue Jays‘ Alex Anthopoulos was the only GM to receive an A+, while the Diamondbacks‘ Dave Stewart was the only GM to get an F since Arizona didn’t make any deadline trades.

AL Central Notes: Dombrowski, Tribe, Samardzija

Daniel Norris‘ career as a Tiger got off a fantastic start today as the newly-acquired left-hander held the Orioles to one run in 7 1/3 innings work.  Norris allowed four hits and a walk while striking out five to earn the victory.  Here’s more from around the AL Central…

  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski is confident that last week’s trades have replenished the club’s reserves of young talent, Chris Iott of MLive.com writes.  “We changed the outlook of our organization at the upper levels, which we needed to do,” Dombrowski said of the trades as a whole. “We have traded so many guys in the past. Ideally, you don’t want to be in this position. But based on where we were, we think this gives us an influx of guys who can help us going into next year. It puts us in a good spot going into next year.
  • The Indiansacquisition of pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky from the Cardinals for Brandon Moss was the best trade deadline deal of any team over the last week, Fangraphs’ David Laurila opines.  Jim Callis of MLB.com (on Twitter) is similarly effusive about the deal for the Tribe, calling it “a flat out heist for” Cleveland.
  • Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer addresses some moves that the Indians made and didn’t make at the deadline as part of a reader mailbag.  Of note, Hoynes says the Tribe didn’t plan to pick up David Murphy‘s contract option for 2016 and that the Carlos Carrasco trade talks “were window shopping for future reference” rather than a concerted effort to trade the right-hander.
  • Jeff Samardzija remained focused on pitching while trade rumors swirled around him, so the righty said not much has changed for him in remaining with the White Sox, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin writes.  Samardzija is excited about Chicago’s recent play and hopes they can keep building towards a late-season playoff push.

Dodgers Notes: Money, Olivera, Samardzija

This week’s complicated three-way trade looks like a great move for the Dodgers, a mixed bag for the Braves, and another deal for the Marlins which appears to be financially motivated, Keith Law of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req’d) writes.  The Dodgers badly needed another starter given the injuries in their rotation and lack of organizational depth and Law believes that Mat Latos is probably worth two extra wins to L.A. the rest of the way. Here’s more out of L.A.

  • The Dodgers are paying $85.75MM for eight players no longer with the organization, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Hector Olivera‘s $28MM signing bonus is the biggest expenditure on the list. Matt Kemp ($18MM) and Dan Haren ($10MM) round out of the eight figure commitments.
  • In a second piece, Shaikin wonders whether the Dodgers even have a financial limit. GM Farhan Zaidi says yes, then goes on to elaborate that “nobody has ever mentioned a number to us.” The Dodgers are projected to pay a record $43MM in luxury taxes this season. It’s possible that number could increase in August. Zaidi did allude to a time when the Dodgers will field a more typical payroll with the help of cost controlled talent.
  • Also from Shaikin, the Dodgers are currently paying for 25 percent of the Marlins payroll. The players’ union has taken fresh notice of Miami’s penchant to deal talent for financial relief.
  • The Dodgers looked into White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija “some time ago,” tweets Shaikin. Talks did not progress. After a brutal start to the season, the Pale Hose are just two games below .500 and 3.5 games behind the second Wild Card. Undoubtedly, the surging roster affected their willingness to sell Samardzija.


AL Central Notes: Twins, Polanco, Tigers, White Sox

The Twins announced the call-up of highly-regarded shortstop prospect Jorge Polanco, who will take the roster spot of Trevor Plouffe as he heads to the paternity list. It’s unclear as yet whether Polanco — currently rated the 89th overall prospect in the game by MLB.com — will stick around for a lengthier stretch. He has already seen two brief cameos, and Minnesota probably hopes he’s the future at the position. But the team is struggling to find consistency at shortstop now, as it continues to remain in contention. GM Terry Ryan said yesterday that he isn’t ruling out the possibility of adding a shortstop in the next three days, as MLB.com’s Betsy Helfand reports“If you’ve got a chance to get better, then you look at it,” Ryan said. “If you’ve got a chance to just do something to make a move, that wouldn’t be very smart, either. We’ve got three of them here.” Polanco now joins that group, which also includes Danny Santana, Eduardo Escobar, and Eduardo Nunez. As I noted in breaking down the shortstop trade market, Minnesota figures as a possible participant, and could find some veteran options available at reasonable prices.

Here’s more from the AL Central:

  • As they approach the deadline, the Twins should exercise caution in making deals for their short-term impact, Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN writes. He advocates for a bullpen addition or two, at a relatively low cost, as the best way to balance the team’s solid position in the Wild Card hunt with its long-term interests.
  • Indeed, even with the Royals making big moves to bolster their already high-performing roster, the Twins do not seem inclined to respond to keep up with their division rivals. As MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports on Twitter, Ryan indicated that his moves won’t be dictated by what Kansas City has done: “You still have to do what’s right for your own club,” he said. “You’re not going to be reactionary.”
  • The Twins have steadily enhanced their reliance on analytics, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press writes“It’s probably not at the level the Pirates were at and are at,” says Twins manager of major league administration and baseball research Jack Goin, “but it’s significantly better (than it was). This is just kind of a natural evolution.” You’ll want to give the full piece a read for an interesting look at Minnesota’s changing philosophies.
  • After another rough loss yesterday, the Tigers should be deadline sellers, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press opines. While Detroit is still on the periphery of the Wild Card race, four and a half out, the club has now dipped 13.5 games back of the division-leading Royals. For George Sipple of MLive.com, given the club’s veteran core, there’s a case to be made in either direction — adding pieces or selling off expiring veteran contracts — but no real argument for standing pat.
  • With the White Sox now climbing past the Tigers in the standings, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that he believes there’s a better chance of Detroit moving David Price than there is of Chicago parting with Jeff Samardzija. Both will hit the open market after the year, of course. It’s worth bearing in mind that the latter has far less trade value, making it somewhat easier for the White Sox to keep him and plan to recoup prospect value by extending a qualifying offer after the season (with expectations that it will be declined).

White Sox Waiting To Decide On Dealing Samardzija

9:44pm: Chicago is waiting to see where they stand after their current series to decide whether to move Samardzija, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.

6:28pm: The Blue Jays are showing the strongest interest in Jeff Samardzija of any interested team, reports Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago (Twitter link). The Giants, too, have recently checked in on Samardzija, according to Hayes.

[RELATED: Blue Jays Show Interest In Craig Kimbrel]

Toronto’s focus is said to be on the rotation, and they’ve been connected to Samardzija a number of times over the past week. Of course, the Jays are also said to be casting quite a wide net.

As for San Francisco, it’s still unclear whether the club is more than an opportunistic buyer for starters. Recent reports have indicated that the team would like to add a major arm, but may not be willing to extend itself to do so.

On the White Sox side of things, Hayes reported last week that the team is becoming “increasingly willing” to trade Samardzija, who is earning $9.8MM this season and is a free agent at year’s end. That being said, Chicago has still not given a “definitive signal” to other clubs that it will move Samardzija, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets.

With the Wild Card race still not completely out of reach, it seems that the White Sox may be taking things down to the wire. Then, there’s the fact that other, bigger chips may need to move (or be declared off-limits) before Samardzija can be marketed to his maximum value.


Blue Jays, Brewers Still Discussing Mike Fiers

The Blue Jays and Brewers are still discussing Mike Fiers, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.  Rosenthal reported last week that the two sides were talking about a swap involving the right-hander, though he added that the Brewers weren’t terribly interested in moving him.

Rosenthal adds that the Blue Jays still have numerous irons in the fire as the deadline approaches.  Toronto continues to show interest in frontline starters like Jeff Samardzija, and Johnny Cueto and also David Price, if he becomes available.

Fiers isn’t arbitration eligible until after the 2016 season and he’s earning just $513K in 2015.  Thanks to making his big league debut later on in his career, the 30-year-old can be controlled through 2019 via the arb process. That team control is one of the reasons that he’s probably appealing to the Blue Jays, but it probably also makes the Brewers reluctant to move him.

Upon first glance, Fiers would seem to be an imperfect fit for Toronto’s Rogers Centre. He’s a right-hander that averages just 89 mph on his fastball and is considered an extreme fly-ball pitcher. However, Fiers’ former teammate, Marco Estrada, has been outstanding for the Blue Jays in 2015.

According to Rosenthal’s report from last week, the Brewers would want multiple pieces as a return in any trade of Fiers. He’s an atypical trade candidate due to the four remaining seasons of control he brings, but the more traditional trade pieces in Milwaukee’s rotation don’t currently hold much appeal. Kyle Lohse, a free agent at season’s end, has struggled greatly in 2015. So, too, has the now-injured Matt Garza, who comes with two more years of a $12.5MM salary.


Central Notes: Twins, Benoit, Kelley, Fiers, Cubs, Samardzija

Rumors from MLB’s central divisions:

  • The Twins are in the market for a power reliever, writes Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. Minnesota has long been known for their reliance on command and control pitchers. Their bullpen has a league worst 6.08 K/9. The Tigers are next worst with 7.30 K/9. Twins GM Terry Ryan acknowledged the advantage strikeouts can provide in big situations. If somebody’s got the out pitch to be able to get a strikeout, that’s great. Unfortunately there are pitchers that don’t have that capability as much as others, so it makes those sac flies or putting the ball in play with the infield back … it just gives the other offense that advantage.
  • Minnesota has spoken with the Padres about relievers, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi lists Joaquin Benoit and Shawn Kelley as possible fits. I would add that Brandon Maurer fits the power pitching profile. However, Benoit and Kelley could both hit free agency after this season. Kelley is unsigned beyond this season, and Benoit has a $8MM club option ($500K buyout). Maurer comes with four more seasons of club control. As such, he’s probably more difficult to acquire.
  • The Brewers are drawing plenty of interest in starter Mike Fiers, tweets Tom Haudricourt of MLB.com. However, the club presently plans to keep Fiers. They are more open to trading veterans Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza. Given the performance of both pitchers this season, they’ll have a hard time finding an interested suitor. Garza has a 5.49 ERA in 100 innings while Lohse has scuffled to a 6.29 ERA in 113 innings.
  • Prior to being no-hit by Cole Hamels, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer reiterated a need for pitching and bench depth, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN 1000. Hoyer didn’t elaborate about any specific talks. Rogers opines (via Twitter) that the club could seek to make some smaller moves for veterans to bolster depth and balance a young roster. The offense has struggled recently, but the Cubs are still in the thick of the Wild Card race. They’re just 1.5 games behind the Giants for the second slot.
  • The White Sox are increasingly willing to trade starter Jeff Samardzija, writes Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. Samardzija has performed below expectations this season with a 3.91 ERA, 6.93 K/9, and 1.67 BB/9. However, he’s posted a strong 2.55 ERA over his last eight starts due to a low HR/FB ratio. While teams may no longer view him as an ace, he has failed to last seven innings in just four of his 20 starts this season. This is my speculation: he could prove to be a valuable innings eater for a club on the bubble like the Orioles or Astros. Hayes also notes that the White Sox have lined up Erik Johnson‘s starts with Samardzija. Johnson is in the midst of a breakout season with a 2.59 ERA, 10.05 K/9, and 2.87 BB/9.
  • The big story tonight is that the Royals nearly acquired Johnny Cueto from the Reds; read all about that here.

Heyman On Padres, Tigers, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Sox, Reds, Marlins, Yankees

The real question facing the Padres at present is not whether to buy or sell, but how far to go in moving pieces, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. At least one rival GM expects the club to “sell big,” and Heyman says that San Diego is “offering around” closer Craig Kimbrel and starter James Shields, both of whom are under long-term control. While the former would figure to have a wide market, potentially including the Blue Jays, Nationals, and Dodgers, another GM says that he believes the club would have to chip in cash to move Shields. That may indicate that he could become an August trade piece, Heyman suggests, because he could well clear waivers. San Diego is interested in adding a young shortstop, he goes on to note, and has looked at several of the Brewers options (Jean Segura, Luis Sardinas, and top prospect Orlando Arcia).

Here are more highlights from the column:

  • Heyman hears that the Tigers are still weighing their options, too, and have not decided to sell. The club could even add an arm, he says, and is likely to see how its next two series play out before reaching a final conclusion.
  • While the Cubs are indeed willing to consider including Starlin Castro or Javier Baez in a deal for Cole Hamels of the Phillies, a source tells Heyman that the team would not be interested in moving both to add the lefty. Philadelphia’s plans for Hamels remain something of a mystery, but per the report the club may be backing down from its previous high-end demands from clubs like the Dodgers (Corey Seager or Julio Urias) and Red Sox (Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart).
  • There is now virtually no chance that Phillies lefty Cliff Lee will try to make it back this year, and he appears likely to retire over the winter.
  • As they approach the deadline and look ahead to free agency, the Cubs have some limitations on their spending capacity but will nevertheless try to add David Price (at least once he hits the open market). Meanwhile, the team has at least some interest in Reds starter Mike Leake as a trade piece but are somewhat hesitant to pursue rental options. While the Giants have plenty of rotation options, they too have considered Leake.
  • While we’ve just heard a suggestion that the Orioles could reverse course, Heyman says that they are still weighing outfield additions. The team has considered rental pieces like Marlon Byrd, Gerardo Parra, and Justin Upton. And he suggests that Carl Crawford or Shane Victorino could make sense as well; presumably, Baltimore would only be interested in either if their current clubs paid down a good bit of salary.
  • The Orioles intend to make qualifying offers after the season not only to Matt Wieters and Chris Davis, but also to lefty Wei-Yin Chen. The 30-year-old never seemed like a qualifying offer-level player, but was strong last year and has put up even better results in 2015 (while significantly outperforming his peripherals, it should be noted).
  • The Red Sox have received no trade interest in struggling first baseman Mike Napoli, says Heyman, but has gotten hits on Victorino as well as bullpen arms Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa.
  • The White Sox are looking to add some volume if they deal righty Jeff Samardzija, says Heyman. Chicago would like to pick up four young pieces in any trade.
  • While the Marlins have fielded interest in righty Tom Koehler and super utilityman Martin Prado, the club is not interested in dealing either player at present. Meanwhile, Miami is open to dealing veteran Dan Haren, but has rebuffed at least one club that asked for money to be sent along with him.
  • The Yankees are looking at both second base and top rotation candidates, says Heyman, but don’t feel a pressing need to add in either area. New York has no interest in veteran Diamondbacks infielder Aaron Hill, he adds.
  • Be sure to check out the rest of the piece for more notes on many of the teams around the league.

AL East Notes: Orioles, Samardzija, Soria, Carrasco, Latos

Despite very public statements indicating that the team is all in on 2015, the Orioles are now giving “serious consideration” to selling, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes (Twitter links), Baltimore owner Peter Angelos has previously been disinclined to authorize such a move, but that could change (at least in theory) with several of the team’s better players set to reach free agency. Of course, executive vice president Dan Duquette said on Wednesday that his club will be a buyer. But a sweep at the hands of the division-leading Yankees has certainly impacted the team’s chances of making a run at the AL East.

Here’s more from the division:

  • The Blue Jays remain in “active discussions” with the White Sox about right-hander Jeff Samardzija, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The Jays have been said to have “strong” interest in adding Samardzija, a potential free agent at the end of the season. Upgrading the pitching staff is the Blue Jays’ top priority in the week leading up to the trade deadline, and Samardzija, whose eight-inning gem on Thursday dropped his ERA to 3.91, would certainly do that. Over his past eight outings, Samardzija has a 2.55 ERA, and he’s lasted at least seven innings in each of those contests. As Peter Gammons pointed out earlier today on Twitter, for a team with bullpen woes in addition to rotation troubles, adding a pitcher that is capable of effectively working deep into games should carry even greater appeal.
  • If the Tigers do end up selling, the Blue Jays will have interest in closer Joakim Soria, tweets Anthony Fenech of the Detroit News. Soria would be a pure rental, as he’s a free agent at the end of the year. He’s earning $7MM and has posted an even 3.00 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in his 39 innings this season, though he’s also had an unusually difficult time with home runs, which could make pitching at the Rogers Centre a challenge.
  • The Blue Jays‘ pursuit of Scott Kazmir illustrates that it’s “becoming more clear” that the team is open to a rental acquisition, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. Davidi notes that the Kazmir talks were never going to get off the ground based on the asking price — “think Jeff Hoffman or Daniel Norris,” says Davidi — especially considering Kazmir’s injury scares. Health concerns are another reason to wonder if the Blue Jays will seriously pursue Johnny Cueto or not, he adds. While the Blue Jays may be warming to the idea of a rental arm, they can’t afford to have their acquisition miss any time, and Cueto’s had a pair of minor elbow issues in 2015.
  • While the Blue Jays made a “big push” to land Carlos Carrasco from the Indians, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link), the trade simply “didn’t get done.” Cleveland isn’t necessarily motivated to trade a starter, though they’re also not entirely ruling out the possibility.
  • The Yankees have shown at least some interest in Marlins righty Mat Latos, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports on Twitter. They join a growing list of clubs that have shown some inclination to take a chance on Latos’s resurgence and past success. New York has given public indication that it is not lining up any major moves, but it would be surprising if it does not at least make a few acquisitions at areas of need, and rotation depth could certainly make sense.

Central Notes: Hamels, Price, Samardzija, ChiSox, Royals, Gonzales

The Cubs have been in discussions with the Phillies regarding Cole Hamels and are interested in adding him to their long-term rotation outlook, sources have told CSNChicago.com’s David Kaplan. The Cubs may also add an additional starter as a depth piece, though that acquisition isn’t expected to be significant, he continues. Kaplan also writes that, contrary to previous reports, the Tigers haven’t yet decided to market David Price. A final decision on whether they’ll take a shot at the postseason or sell veteran pieces could come either this weekend or by next Wednesday, Kaplan hears, though I’d imagine that wasting a gem from Price on a 3-2, extra innings loss to the Mariners was a tough pill for the Tigers to swallow as they determine their deadline strategy.

Here’s more from the game’s Central divisions…

  • CSNChicago’s Dan Hayes spoke with Jeff Samardzija following an excellent Thursday start in which he fired eight innings of one-run ball. “It’s been totally silent on my end,” said Samardzija when asked about the possibility that he could be traded. Hayes asked a handful of scouts about Samardzija, with one feeling that he’s overhyped and more of a No. 2/No. 3 starter than a No. 1/No.2 starter. A second said that the White Sox could get a B-level prospect back, to which another replied that if that were the max return, Chicago would be better off holding Samardzija and taking a draft pick for him. Hayes writes that the Sox could potentially keep Samardzija in an attempt to re-sign him in free agency. He’s also since tweeted that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Sox tried to re-sign Samardzija this winter even if they do trade him.
  • The White Sox haven’t yet publicly waved a white flag, but they’re currently active in trade talks, hears ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). The Sox reportedly discussed Samardzija with the Astros prior to Houston’s acquisition of Scott Kazmir earlier this afternoon (also via Crasnick).
  • Despite injuries to Alex Gordon and Jason Vargas, Royals GM Dayton Moore tells MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that he’s not feeling pressure to make a trade. “I don’t know if [losing Vargas] changes our approach,” said Moore. “But it does hurt our depth. He was a big part of our team last year and we expected him to be a big part this year. We haven’t had him much of the year. When we’ve had him, he’s been great.” Moore says adding to the current roster is not a “must,” and any trades would depend on the cost of acquisition.
  • ESPN’s Keith Law reports that Cardinals southpaw Marco Gonzales is now being represented by CAA Sports (Twitter link). Gonzales, a former first-round pick, was previously represented by Rowley Sports Management. The 23-year-old made an appearance in the Majors last season, posting a 4.15 ERA in 34 2/3 innings, but he’s been limited to Triple-A action this season and also missed time due to injury. Gonzales’ change in representation will be reflected in the MLBTR Agency Database. Remember that if you see any errors or notable omissions, you can let us know via email: mlbtrdatabase@gmail.com.