New York Yankees Get: SP Jeff Samardzija
Chicago Cubs Get: C Gary Sanchez, SP Ty Hensley, C/3B Peter O'Brien, RP Danny Burawa
As things stand, Chicago Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija looks like he could be the prize of the trade deadline. But if the right offer comes along before then, the Cubs could very well move him before the month of July rolls around.
If anyone is going to make an aggressive play to acquire Samardzija here in the first half, the New York Yankees seem like a prime candidate. With Ivan Nova lost for the season, Michael Pineda battling a back injury and CC Sabathia struggling, the Yankees rotation is shaky at best.
Samardzija is winless on the year in seven starts, but a bad supporting cast is almost entirely to blame, as he has a 1.62 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 38 strikeouts in 50 innings of work. He also has the added value of an extra year of team control next year, so he's more than just a rental player, and it's looking more and more likely that he'll be moved, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:
Samardzija wants to be paid like an ace -- in the neighborhood of a $100 million deal -- but the Cubs won't budge. While Hoyer indicated recently there are no trade talks currently going on with any players, that's expected to change with Samardzija as he drives up his value.
The asking price will be high—just as it was all offseason when the 29-year-old was on the block—but with the AL East up for grabs and the Yankees in a position to seize it, pulling the trigger on a deal for Samardzija could be the difference maker they need.
Any package would have to start with Gary Sanchez, the No. 2 catching prospect and No. 35 prospect overall, according to Baseball America. The 21-year-old posted a .736 OPS with 27 doubles and 15 home runs between High-A and Double-A last year, and he is off to a great start again this year.
Welington Castillo has established himself as a solid defensive backstop with some offensive skills, but he's also already 27 years old, and acquiring Sanchez would give the Cubs a legitimate catcher of the future with All-Star potential.
Ty Hensley was the No. 30 pick in the 2012 draft out of high school, but he missed last season with hip surgery and is currently still recovering. The Cubs have taken a chance on an injured player with upside before in Arodys Vizcaino, and they could look to buy low on Hensley.
Peter O'Brien had an .893 OPS with 39 doubles and 22 home runs between Single-A and High-A last year, and while he still does not have a defensive position—he has been splitting time between catcher, third base and the outfield—his bat is attractive, nonetheless.
Finally, 25-year-old reliever Danny Burawa, who had a 2.59 ERA and 9.0 K/9 in 66 innings of work at Double-A last year, could potentially help out in the majors by the end of the season.
It would be a steep price for the Yankees to pay, no doubt, but looking back at the Matt Garza deal last year as well as the fact that Samardzija has that extra year of team control, it's likely what it would cost to land the market's top arm.