The Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs are expected to discuss a possible trade involving Cubs' pitching stalwart Jeff Samardzija this winter, according to ESPN's Buster Olney
There is an expectation that the Jeff Samardzija/Arizona trade talks will continue. Cubs reaching point where they need a decision on him.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 4, 2013
With the news that a contract extension between the Cubs and Samardzija appears unlikely, a trade makes sense considering the 28-year-old right-hander is under control for just two more years, and the Cubs are unlikely to contend during that timeframe.
A former Notre Dame football standout, Samardzija spent the first 4 seasons of his big league career pitching primarily in relief, before making the transition to the rotation prior to the 2012 season. As a starter, Samardzija has blossomed into the Cubs' ace, as he has thrown just over 388 innings the past two years (including 213.2 this season) and has struck out over a batter per inning.
Though he has struggled with his command (his 78 walks allowed this past season was the 2nd highest total in the NL), Samardzija has shown that he can pitch at the top of a big league rotation, and he would fit in nicely in a Diamondbacks rotation that features numerous promising young arms, including 2013 All-Star Patrick Corbin, 2012 All-Star and Rookie of the Year runner-up Wade Miley, and former Athletics' rotation-headliner Trevor Cahill.
The Cubs have what many consider to be one of the top farm systems in the game, however, their organization is heavily loaded with offensive talent, and light on potential big league pitching. The Diamondbacks have an abundance of young arms that could enhance the likelihood that a deal gets done between the two clubs. While top prospect Archie Bradley is unlikely to move, Arizona has a trio of promising southpaws to offer up in Tyler Skaggs, David Holmberg, and Andrew Chafin. Skaggs and Holmberg have already reached the majors, but have yet to solidify a spot in the Diamondbacks' future plans. Chafin, a 2011 first round pick, reached Double-A in 2013, and posted a promising 2.85 ERA in the process.