Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press
The Blue Jays have been repeatedly linked to Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija for the past few months. But the two teams have been unable to come to terms on a deal.
Samardzija’s performance in 2014 shows why Toronto is so enamored with him. The hard-throwing right-hander has posted a 2.53 ERA in 16 starts and has struck out 97 batters in 103 innings pitched. He’s also given up just five home runs during that span.
It’s worth noting, though, that the 29-year-old Samardzija doesn’t have much of a history as a starting pitcher. He pitched out of the bullpen during the first four years of his career and was only inserted into the Cubs rotation in 2012. Since then, his combined ERA as a starting pitcher is 3.56, while his FIP is 3.40. Those are good numbers, but they’re not elite.
Samardzija’s contract status also makes him a risky trade target. He’s already reportedly turned down a five-year, $85 million extension with the Cubs, per Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi (h/t HardballTalk’s Drew Silva), and seems intent on pursuing free agency after the 2015 season. If the Blue Jays do trade for him, they’re only potentially getting him for 1.5 seasons.
Keeping that in mind, let’s talk about what it would take for Toronto to actually acquire Samardzija from Chicago.
According to Morosi, the Cubs want Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey from the Blue Jays in exchange for their ace. Considering Samardzija’s history and uncertain contract status, that seems like an excessive demand.
It will be interesting to see what happens here as the trade deadline draws closer and the negotiations between the two teams continue.