Why He's Available
The 28-year-old right-hander hasn't hidden the fact that he's tired of playing on a rebuilding club, something that has certainly factored into his decision to not sign an extension with the Chicago Cubs up to this point.
If the Cubs were to land Masahiro Tanaka as a free agent, Samardzija would be more inclined to work out a new deal with the club, as he intimated to the Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales, but the Cubs are considered long shots to land the Japanese phenom.
With two years of team control left and minimal wear and tear on his arm, Samardzija's value may never be higher than it is now.
Top Potential Landing Spots
The D-Backs are in the running to land Tanaka, but if that fails, the team could turn its attention back to Samardzija, for whom they believe the Cubs are asking too much, sources tell CSNChicago.com's Patrick Mooney.
Should Arizona fail to reach the playoffs again in 2014, both manager Kirk Gibson and GM Kevin Towers could be looking for new jobs after the season. Adding an established starter to pair with Patrick Corbin atop the rotation is an absolute necessity for the team this winter.
While including top prospect Archie Bradley in a deal is unlikely, the likes of 25-year-old Trevor Cahill and 23-year-old Randall Delgado, young arms with major league experience, could be used as part of a package to pry Samardzija away from the Cubs.
Atlanta won't include top pitching prospects Mauricio Cabrera or Lucas Sims in any deal, but the Braves have a number of young pitchers the Cubs could have interest in at both the major league level and throughout the minor leagues.
Mooney reports that, like the Diamondbacks, the Braves think Chicago's asking price is too high. But after losing Tim Hudson to the San Francisco Giants via free agency, the Braves rotation is high on talent but short on experience—and a surefire innings eater.
Adding Samardzija to the mix would improve the team's chances of defending its NL East division title against an improved Washington Nationals squad, which, after trading for Doug Fister, boasts one of the best rotations in baseball.
Seattle won't include top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker in a deal for Tampa Bay's David Price, so there's no chance Walker would be included in a deal for Samardzija.
That said, the Mariners could use another established arm to go along with Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma at the front of their rotation, which would take pressure off of youngsters such as Walker and Erasmo Ramirez.
Seattle has a number of young pitchers the Cubs could target in a deal, from the likes of Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Brandon Maurer—all close to being ready for prime time—to youngsters who are still a few years away from making an impact, such as Victor Sanchez and Edwin Diaz.