Jeff Samardjiza, along with every other Chicago Cub, is on the trading block. (Photo credit: Gene J. Puskar/AP)
The Chicago Cubs already dealt their two biggest trade commodities, Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano, last week. So who could still be on the trading block for the Cubs in these waning days before Wednesday’s trade deadline?
According to comments made recently by President Theo Epstein regarding outfielder David DeJesus’ trade value, “no one is untouchable.”
Soon after, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported on Saturday that the team was listening to offers for RHP Jeff Samardjiza. This appears to confirm Epstein’s earlier comments, but do not jump to conclusions on what it means for the club to be merely listening to offers for Samardjiza.
The Cubs would want top-notch prospects in any deal involving a player considered key to the franchise’s future. Epstein would want not just one, but multiple prospects in a deal for a guy like Samardjiza, who is signed through the 2015 season. The Diamondbacks have already supposedly been turned off by the high demands the Cubs have set for a deal involving the 28-year-old righty.
Samardjiza seems like the player the organization would be least likely to part with considering he seems to have finally turned the corner in his role as a starter. Epstein and the front office expect him to be the centerpiece of a pitching staff that could contend for the postseason as soon as 2015, ideally. The Cubs have justifiably set their demands high for any team looking to snag Samardjiza, which is exactly why I highly doubt he will be moved by the trade deadline.
The mindset of declaring every player tradable is the right approach to have with this team right now. The Cubs have made it obvious they are ready to rebuild, so why not try to flip players with expiring or close-to-expiring contracts for prospects that can help down the road?
Outfielder Nate Schierholtz signed a one-year contract with the Cubs before this season so it is reasonable to guess he would be the player most likely to be traded before Wednesday. Schierholtz is batting .274 with 14 homers and 43 RBIs this season and hit the game-winning home run for the Cubs in a 1-0 Saturday in San Francisco. The Rangers are among the teams interested in him according to ESPNChicago.com’s Jesse Rogers.
As mentioned earlier, David DeJesus is another outfielder that could be on the move, but he seems less likely to be shipped out than Schierholtz. However, his contract does expire at the end of the year, meaning a trade would not be surprising. DeJesus recently returned from a month-long stint on the DL and is batting .260 with six homers and 21 RBIs.
Closer Kevin Gregg will likely be moved by the deadline due to the high demand for relievers. Gregg has recorded 22 saves this season with a 2.68 ERA. The Tigers were in the market for Gregg but that now seems unlikely after they traded for Astros reliever Jose Veras on Monday. The Pirates could be looking for another arm in their bullpen after losing closer Jason Grilli for four-to-eight weeks with a strained right forearm.