Jeff Samardzija could find himself with the D’backs in 2014. Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The Arizona Diamondbacks finally got involved in the craziness of this offseason by trading Heath Bell and David Holmberg for Single A pitcher Justin Choate and a player to be named later. However, a bigger deal could take place in the near future. The D’backs are supposedly one of three teams in the lead (along with the Orioles and Blue Jays) to land Jeff Samardzija from the Chicago Cubs according to CSNChicago’s Dave Kaplan. In fact, here is what one source told Kaplan:
"“I don’t see him throwing another pitch in a Cubs uniform. I think it’s 99 percent that he gets moved. They’re not ready to win and he brings you the young pitching you need for the future”."
As we know, the D’backs have the goods to get a deal done. The question is, how much are they willing to give up? The Cubs will obviously want one of the organization’s top pitching prospects and are said to be asking a nice haul. If Chicago insists on Archie Bradley, Kevin Towers should not negotiate any further. Bradley might be ready to contribute as early as 2014 and is projected to be a staff ace. While Samardzija has been good for the Cubs and is durable, Bradley is too big a haul for a guy only two years from free agency. Holberg was the organization’s #5 prospect according to mlb.com and could have been used as one of the arms to help facilitate the transaction. Braden Shipley, at #4 on the depth chart is still two years away from the Majors and not likely to be the centerpiece of a deal. It is conceivable that either Jake Barrett or Matt Stites could be thrown into the mix but as relievers, they would not be the focal point.
That would leave us with Tyler Skaggs as the guy most likely to be dealt. When the Samardzija to the D’back rumors started after the All Star Break, the name most often mentioned as going to Chicago was the 22 year old Skaggs. I wasn’t a fan of trading Skaggs then and I am not a fan of it now. With his age and vast potential which has already been on display at the Major League level, I think Skaggs could be a number two or even a number one starter. However, I am resigned to the fact that he will never throw another pitch for the D’backs. The GM did not acquire him and the fact Skaggs spent so much time on the Phoenix to Reno shuttle where his performance deteriorated as the season progressed makes me believe the organization has lost confidence in him. A change of scenery might be what gets his career back on track.
Kevin Towers and Theo Epstein, the ball is in your court.