Chicago Cubs

Breaking Down the Most Likely Trade Partners for the Chicago Cubs

Jacob KornhauserCorrespondent IIIJune 21, 2014

Breaking Down the Most Likely Trade Partners for the Chicago Cubs

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    At the trade deadline, the most important thing a team can have is assets. However, the second most important thing to have at the deadline is a trade partner. The Chicago Cubs have plenty of trade assets they seem willing to move and plenty of teams interested in those assets. 

    With just over a month left until the trade deadline, plenty of moves could be made, and the Cubs seem like prime candidates to distribute talent to a bunch of contending teams.

    There are a few teams in particular that seem like the most likely trade partners for Chicago. Those teams have prospects that are appealing to the Cubs, and if the price is right, they might be able to make a deal.

    Here's a breakdown of which teams are most interested in some of the Cubs' biggest trade chips and what prospects they could send in return.

San Francisco Giants

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Players They Could Target: Jeff Samardzija

    According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (h/t Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicle), the San Francisco Giants are "showing strong interest" in Jeff Samardzija. Fox Sports' Jon Morosi reported Wednesday that the team sent a "high-level scout" to evaluate the 29-year-old against the Miami Marlins.

    While Samardzija seems like the only piece the Giants are seriously interested in, they land on this list because they may be the front-runners to land the Cubs ace. They have the most high-quality pitching prospects of interested teams, and that's likely what the Cubs will look for in return for their key trade chip.

    With the Giants floundering as of late, they may get a little desperate, and that could benefit the Cubs.

     

    Giants' Top Pre-2014 Prospects: RHP Kyle Crick, LHP Edwin Escobar, LHP Adalberto Mejia

    Clearly, the Giants have plenty of pitching prospects. In a trade, the Cubs would likely command either Crick or a combination of Escobar and Mejia, along with some mid-level prospects. That would be fair compensation for one of the league's most dominant pitchers in 2014.

Atlanta Braves

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    Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Players They Could Target: RHP Jeff Samardzija, RHP Jason Hammel

    In a Chicago Sun-Times article by Gordon Wittenmyer, the Braves were listed as one of the teams on a short list interested in both of the Cubs' top pitchers. The report also suggested that two interested teams had already made offers to the Cubs, so the Braves may have already tried to deal for one or both starters.

     

    Braves' Top Pre-2014 Prospects: RHP Lucas Sims, C Christian Bethancourt, RHP Jason Hursh

    The Cubs and Braves have a history of making trades, so they already have connections there, and Atlanta has some intriguing pitching prospects as well. Depending on if they deal Samardzija or Hammel, the Cubs could end up with one of the Braves' top pitching prospects in a trade.

Seattle Mariners

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Players They Could Target: RHP Jeff Samardzija, RHP Jason Hammel

    In the same Chicago Sun-Times article by Wittenmyer, the Seattle Mariners were listed as the favorites to land Hammel. Since he's one of the top second-tier starters on the trade market, the Cubs could still get quite a bit in return for him. The Mariners were also reported to be interested in Samardzija, but they seem like more of a long shot to land the Cubs ace.

     

    Mariners' Top Pre-2014 Prospects: RHP Taijuan Walker, 3B D.J. Peterson, LHP James Paxton

    It's unlikely the Cubs will land any of Seattle's top prospects, especially if they end up shipping Hammel to the team, but the Mariners do have interesting mid-level prospects. Pitchers like Victor Sanchez, Chris Taylor and Tyler Pike are all within the Cubs' reach in a potential deal.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Players They Could Target: RHP Jeff Samardzija, RHP Jason Hammel, OF Nate Schierholtz

    The Tornoto Blue Jays have been connected to Jeff Samardzija for a while now, and this trade deadline could finally be when they pull the trigger. While they seem more likely to target Samardzija, they could also target Hammel if they decide the price for Samardzija is too high. Meanwhile, even though they have one of the better outfields in baseball, they could surely use some depth and likely wouldn't have to trade much to land Schierholtz. 

     

    Blue Jays' Top Pre-2014 Prospects: RHP Aaron Sanchez, RHP Marcus Stroman, RHP Roberto Osuna

    Over the offseason, the Cubs tried to make a deal with Toronto, but the Blue Jays thought the Cubs' asking price of Drew Hutchinson and either Sanchez or Stroman was too high. Now that they're contenders in the American League, they could change their mind and decide that the price is right in order to compete for a World Series title in 2014.

New York Yankees

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    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Players They Could Target: RHP Jeff Samardzija, RHP Jason Hammel

    Jon Heyman of CBS Sports listed the New York Yankees as the top destination for Samardzija to end up this trade deadline. Since they clearly need someone to complement ace Masahiro Tanaka, the Bronx Bombers will be inclined to make a deal, and they have some trade pieces the Cubs should certainly be interested in.

     

    Yankees' Top Pre-2014 Prospects: C Gary Sanchez, OF Mason Williams, OF Slade Heathcott

    While the Cubs may want one of the Yankees' catching prospects as well, Heyman lists pitchers like Luis Severino, Manny Banuelos, Abi Avelino and Ian Clarkin as trade pieces in a potential deal. Like other teams, if they decide the price is too high for Samardzija, the Yankees may try to get Hammel for a lower price.

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