As an employee for the company that holds a 5 percent stake in the Chicago National League Ball Club, I need to know how stupid the Cubs are becoming with pitching contracts.
Isn’t the Edwin Jackson disaster enough? I mean, $52 million makes Jackson the Carlos Boozer of the mound.
Samardzija will be 30 next season, when the Cubs will continue to stink. Why would you spend that kind of money on a player, even a pitcher, when you’re going to stink?
Why would you offer any kind of cash that he might accept and still would be collecting when he’s 34 and when maybe the Cubs are good? Maybe.
Samardzija ought to ask for as much as he can get. That’s his job. That’s what pro sports is all about. We’d all do it, and the Cubs are lucky Samardzija isn’t all about hometown discounts.
For a team that acts like it’s broke and can’t afford to buy a bison dog without revenue from a video screen, Epstein’s latest offer could’ve made a mess of things because Samardzija is worth more in prospects for 2018 and 2019 than hard-luck losses like last night in the next three seasons.
But I’m not sure how easy Samardzija will be to trade for what the Cubs view as max value. The Cubs could flip him for anything, but that’s not what Theo Epstein envisions. The Cubs aren’t dangling Samardzija as a rental because the return isn’t enough to continue stacking the farm system.
Finding a trade partner that needs Samardzija now and plans to sign him long-term is the key. That allows the Cubs to pick through a team’s farm system the way they did in dealing Matt Garza to Texas last year, and that’s the tricky part.
You don’t want to pick through just anybody’s farm system, either. You want a buffet of top organizations with major league teams that are competing, a concept with which the Cubs remain unfamiliar.
The Tigers, then, are a team that Epstein needs to drag into the Samardzija yard sale, especially after the Royals chased them down before falling back. The Royals are still stalking, and there’s a play to be made.
Here’s the thing about dealing with the Tigers: They’ll pay up when it comes to a chance to win.
At the trade deadline last year, Rick Hahn wedged his silly White Sox into a discussion between playoff aspirants Boston and Detroit and came away with Avisail Garcia, a legitimate major-leaguer whom the Sox never would’ve acquired had the Tigers not had the urgency of an aging owner.
But the Tigers have a bad farm system. They’ve dealt a lot of their prospects in pursuit of a championship for Mike Ilitch. But here’s the other thing about dealing with the Tigers: That gets the Royals’ attention, and they had one of the top farm systems to start the season, according to Baseball Prospectus.
The Royals don’t have the aging owner thing, but they have a manager and general manager under a lot of pressure to win something now, to put a postseason in that gorgeous new park. The Royals seem ripe for overpayment.
And then there’s the AL East, where everybody except Tampa is in playoff contention. When the fourth-place team is the defending World Series champion, you’ve picked the right block for prospect trick-or-treating.
And all of that is great for the Cubs. Those are teams that need to win now and have good-to-great farm systems, save for the Yankees. Baseball Prospectus had the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles ranked in the top 13.
Maybe the deal will come down next week when the Cubs go to Boston and Epstein gets a homecoming. Or maybe talk just gets stoked, which is fine, too. Just stop offering Samardzija money, Theo.