Last season, the Chicago Cubs benefited from having two starting pitchers in Scott Feldman and Matt Garza that were desirable on the trade market.
The reason why the Cubs benefited from that scenario is because the team was able to trade Feldman nearly a month before the trade deadline and then control the market for Garza until he was traded at the deadline.
In their trade of Feldman, the Cubs acquired a pair of pitching prospects in Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop that figure to be long-term fixtures on the Cubs’ pitching staff. And, the Cubs trade of Garza to the Texas Rangers was perhaps the greatest trade that the Theo Epstein regime has made since taking control of the Cubs’ baseball operations.
Given how well that strategy worked for the Cubs last season, the team is planning on using the same approach this season with starting pitchers Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija.
Buster Olney reports on his Baseball Tonight Podcast that the Cubs plan on trading Hammel soon in order to set up the larger market for Samardzija.
Hammel has been excellent this season with the Cubs. In 13 starts for the Cubs this season, Hammel has posted an ERA of 2.81 to go along with a FIP of 3.02. Hammel signed a one-year contract with the Cubs in the off-season, and given his success, some have argued that the Cubs would be better off keeping the 31-year old pitcher to be an veteran anchor in the starting rotation.
But given the fact that Hammel’s trade value is likely at the highest point it will ever reach, the Cubs likely will not miss out on their opportunity to cash in on Hammel’s value.
Speaking of Hammel’s value, there has been some debate over how much the veteran would net the Cubs in a trade. Peter Gammons believes that the Cubs could see a return for Hammel that mirrors the return that they got from the Rangers last season for Garza. Though, that may be over-selling Hammel. Hammel’s value likely is closer to what Feldman’s value was for the Cubs last season than what Garza’s value was.
That is reason enough for the Cubs to trade Hammel. The Cubs need impact pitching prospects. Hammel, as well as Samardzija, are the two key pieces in the Cubs’ efforts to acquire talented pitching prospects.
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