There may be more smoke to that fire. Sources told Chicago Cubs insider Tox Loxas that the Yankees have expressed interest in Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija. Loxas also tweeted that the Yankees would likely need to incorporate a third team in order to satisfy the Cubs asking price for Samardzija.
When the Yankees completed their 3-year, $45 million contract with the outfielder Carlos Beltran on Friday, speculation ensued that the team could trade Gardner for a starting pitcher. It is entirely possible that Gardner could be traded in a package to the Cubs for Samardzija but the 30-year old outfielder who is a free agent after the 2014 season would not be the centerpiece of the Yankees offer.
The Cubs are intent on receiving a haul of top prospects for the 28-year old starting pitcher. Samardzija started 33 games for the Cubs last season as he posted a record of 8-13 to go along with an ERA of 4.34. Samardzija was significantly better in 2013 than his ERA would indicate as the starting pitcher had a xFIP last season of 3.45.
One of the main reasons why the Cubs are entertaining the idea of trading Samardzija is because of the team’s inability to secure the starting pitcher to a long-term contract. The Cubs front office has the hopes of signing Samardzija to a long-term contract in order to wipe out the final two arbitration-eligible seasons for the starting pitcher. Samardzija is set to become a free agent after the 2015 season. Recent reports have suggested that Samardzija turned down a $55 million offer from the Cubs, but the team still hopes to sign the starting pitcher to a new contract within the next week.
The winter meetings start on Monday and one could bet that Samardzija may be among the most discussed players at those meetings.