The Chicago Cubs and ace right hander Jeff Samardzija have revived extension negotiations recently, with the potential total rising from the $60 million to $65 million range, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. However, the renewed dialogue has not prevented the Cubs from making Samardzija available on the trade market.
As the deadline nears, the list of suitors will shrink, but at the moment, the market for Shark seems to be burgeoning.
Currently, the Giants and Royals lead their respective divisions, but both clubs have a full rotation in place. Adding Samardzija would require either club to move an established starter into the bullpen. The Giants have employed the tactic before with Tim Lincecum, whose ERA is pushing 5.00. Most notably during their 2012 World Series run. The Cubs would likely begin negotiations with San Francisco by asking for the club's top prospect, right hander Kyle Crick.
The Royals could opt to move Danny Duffy or Jeremy Guthrie to the bullpen, but both pitchers have been effective of late. Samardzija would make the Royals rotation better, but they will not consider trading righty Yordano Ventura for Samardzija and their other top prospects are either injured -- like Kyle Zimmer -- or play a position that the Cubs have covered -- Raul Mondesi.
Samardzija is doing his part to increase his value. So far this season, he's put up a 2.78 ERA in 97 innings with a 90 to 29 strikeout-to-walk ratio.