Chicago Cubs Trade Rumors: Dealing Jeff Samardzija Would Be a Mistake

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistJuly 29, 2013

CHICAGO, IL- JUNE 1:  Starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija #29 of the Chicago Cubs walks off the field after the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field on June 1, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
Brian Kersey/Getty Images

As the 2013 MLB trade deadline approaches, the rumors that the Chicago Cubs would consider dealing starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija are flying, but the organization should not make that deal.

Despite having the talent to be a player the franchise builds around as a No. 2 or No. 3 in a dangerous rotation, the Cubs are still listening to offers, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports:

No matter how high the asking price is, it wouldn’t equal the value that Samardzija holds as a five-year veteran who is truly starting to understand the game of baseball from a pitching perspective.

The talented right-hander has the size (6’5” and 225 pounds) and mental aptitude to withstand playing in the big leagues, and his pitches can be dominant when he is hitting his spots. At just 28 years old, there is still so much potential for development.

Teams can’t teach size and natural power.

Samardzija was expected to have a breakout year in 2013, and after amassing a 6-9 record with a 3.94 ERA and 139 strikeouts thus far, it’s clear that the talented Notre Dame product is rounding into elite form.

The Arizona Diamondbacks were interested earlier in the summer about the starter’s availability, per Rosenthal, but nothing further ever became of those discussions. As the deadline approaches, though, teams will be looking to add talent any way they can.

Unless the deal is a no-brainer, Chicago should stick with Samardzija.

The Cubs continue to improve their roster and financial situation with the help of former Boston Red Sox general manger-turned Chicago baseball czar Theo Epstein, and that means having quality pitching.

With the veteran making only $2.64 million this season and likely heading to arbitration this offseason, per Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, Samardzija is a fair-priced piece of the rotation that Epstein knows must be part of the long-term success of the franchise.

Instead of listening to trade offers, the Cubs should be doing whatever it takes to sign Samardzija to a long-term contract extension.