Starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija was linked to trade rumors during the Cubs disappointing 2013 season. The team reportedly opted to try and work out an extension for the right-hander, but a Wednesday report might indicate those negotiations aren't going well.
ESPN listed Samardzija as a likely trade chip for the Cubs on Tuesday, but David Kaplan of CSN Chicago reported Wednesday that major league sources confirmed that the Cubs are shopping Samardzija -- with one source making it a 99-percent probability.
"I don't see him throwing another pitch in a Cubs uniform. I think it's 99 percent that he gets moved. They're not ready to win and he brings you the young pitching you need for the future," said a major league source.
Samardzija, 28, shifted to full-time starter two seasons ago and has amassed a 17-26 record with a 4.10 ERA (97 ERA+) and 1.29 WHIP. He's not eligible for free agency until after the 2014 season, but is also intriguing to teams for his strikeouts per inning (9.1 K/9) and the 213 2/3 innings he worked last season.
Sources reportedly confirmed the front runners for Samardzija as the Blue Jays, Orioles and Diamondbacks -- at an extremely significant cost. On Tuesday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports mentioned the Diamondbacks as a possible trade partner for Samardzija. MLB.com looks at Toronto's non-denial denial regarding the former Notre Dame wide receiver.
"Samardzija is a really good trade candidate if you believe you are close to winning for several reasons. One, he is under your control for two more seasons. Two, he is extremely durable with no hint of an injury history. Plus, because of his football career he does not have as much mileage in his arm that most pitchers his age have. Three, he is a great clubhouse guy and he shows leadership which should make his transition to a new clubhouse an easy one. Add in the fact that the guy is a big time competitor and I would have no hesitation in acquiring him," he told me.