With a month and a half to go before the trade deadline, the Chicago Cubs are in prime position to be sellers once again. While names like Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel have been frequently mentioned in trade rumors over the last couple of weeks, a report from Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com states that the team is willing to listen to offers on four of their five starting pitchers over the next six weeks.
Sources: Cubs telling teams they are willing to listen to offers for starting pitchers Samardzija, Hammel, E. Jackson and Arrieta. (more)— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 16, 2014
Cubs not planning to *trade* all 4, but they want to see what market values are for each and then decide on course. Due diligence.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 16, 2014
Sitting 11.5 games back in the NL Central at the moment, it makes sense that the Cubs would want to continue their rebuild by moving rotation arms this summer. They have received many prospects in deals for Ryan Dempster, Scott Feldman and Matt Garza over the past two summers, and hope that they will be able to gain a few more by shipping starters to contenders looking for rotation help.
As Buster Olney of ESPN.com noted last week, it is likely that the Cubs approach this trade deadline like they did last year: by trading a lesser starter at the beginning of July and waiting until closer to the deadline to move their key trading chip. That means Hammel could be on the move within the next couple of weeks, with Samardzija waiting until the end of the month like Dempster and Garza did over the past couple of seasons.
The Cubs are likely in preliminary talks with multiple teams about their starters at the moment, and will only see those talks intensify as we move closer to July 31. A report over the weekend from Bob Nightengale of USA Today indicated that the Giants are showing strong interest in Samardzija at the moment, with the Yankees, Orioles, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Angels, Mariners and Braves also being mentioned as potential fits. Toronto and Baltimore have also been mentioned as potential fits for Hammel, along with the Athletics and Pirates.
Any team that calls on Samardzija or Hammel will probably also discuss Jackson or Arrieta at some point, meaning talks will be fluid and rapidly changing. With so many teams looking for starting pitching help, the Cubs are in a position of power with four arms that will definitely draw interest over the next six weeks.