St. Louis Cardinals Get: RHP Jeff Samardzija
Chicago Cubs Get: RHP Alexander Reyes, OF James Ramsey
While Jeff Samardzija’s name has previously been associated with the St. Louis Cardinals, the rumor gained a bit of steam over the weekend when CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman mentioned them among eight teams as a possible destination for the right-hander.
Now trading a young pitcher with one more season of control to a division rival may not be the best play for the Chicago Cubs, but there are a couple of things that lead some to believe that it wouldn’t be a bad idea.
First off, Heyman noted that one general manager said “no one’s going to extend him,” and that he will become a free agent. In other words, the chances that Samardzija signs with the Cardinals after next season are as great as they would be if he was traded elsewhere. Secondly, the Cubs aren’t going to be competitive before that time anyway, so where he lands now is less important than what Jed Hoyer gets in return.
Do the Cardinals need to add an arm like Samardzija’s, though? It wouldn’t seem so. Not now, anyway.
Yes, Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha are both on the disabled list, but it’s probable that general manager John Mozeliak gets an accurate assessment of their health before deciding how aggressive to be on the trade market.
That won’t stop us from building a trade out for Samardzija comprised of right-hander Alexander Reyes and outfielder James Ramsey.
Ranked as the Cardinals' No. 5 prospect, Reyes (5-5, 4.57 ERA, 69 K, 61.0 IP) is a talented right-hander who projects very well. Per MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo:
With two future plus pitches, a promising third offering and an athletic, projectable frame, Reyes has the highest ceiling among St. Louis' starting pitching prospects. He already sits at 93-94 mph and hits 97 with his fastball, and he could push it to greater heights as he adds strength.
Reyes also can make hitters look bad with his hard curveball. He has better feel than most teenagers for a changeup, which makes it even harder for opponents to try to sit on his fastball. He does a nice job of using his size to deliver his pitches on a steep downward plane.
Reyes will need to work on his control, but he should be a fine pitcher in two or three years, which also happens to be when the Cubs should have a large number of their prospects ready for The Show.
Ramsey is lighting up Double-A to the tune of a .307/.389/.550 slash line. The organization’s No. 6 prospect also has 12 home runs and 31 RBI in 189 at-bats. And considering that the Cubs could use another top-flight prospect in the outfield, Ramsey’s addition more than fits an organizational need.
Again, a move as aggressive as this may not be necessary. The Cardinals have fallen to third place in the NL Central as of game time on Monday, however. If Mozeliak chooses to go big and add a front-line starter like Samardzija, Ramsey and Reyes should be enough to get the job done.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are accurate as of game time on Monday, June 30. Transaction, injury, scouting reports, prospect rankings and game information are courtesy of MLB.com. Contract information was pulled from Cot’s Contracts.