Over the past two days, most, if not all, of the league’s trade talks have been centered around the Oakland Athletics. Yesterday, they traded away superstar third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for third baseman Brett Lawrie and three prospects.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle was originally reporting that the Athletics were nearing a trade involving right-handed pitcher Jeff Samardzija, in return, receiving hitters, which they have been targeting, as of late. Slusser reported a few moments after, once hearing word that Samardzija was not involved in the deal, instead Donaldson, that there were ten teams that were interested in the services of the 29-year-old right-gander, as the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox were both teams that had expressed interest in him.
Then, out of the blue a couple of minutes after midnight on the east coast, Jim Benson of the Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illiniois) reported that the White Sox would acquire Jeff Samardzija before the weekend was over. One might think that Benson isn’t the most reliable source, being a college basketball writer and Top-25 voter in the Associated Press Men’s Basketball Poll, but he has struck gold with trades involving the Athletics and White Sox before. A day before the waiver trade deadline, Benson tweeted out that he was hearing the Athletics were close to acquiring designated hitter Adam Dunn from the White Sox. Sure enough, a day later, Dunn was shipped to the Athletics.
To add more steam to Benson’s report, earlier today, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the White Sox are, indeed, discussing a trade with the A’s involving Samardzija, even citing that one source told him that the talks might be “serious.” He also speculated that the White Sox may have to part with 33-year-old shortstop Alexei Ramirez in order to acquire Samardzija.
However, no matter where Samardzija gets dealt, if he gets dealt, he has no intentions of signing a long-term contract until after he hits the free-agent market. Samardzija is also in his final year of arbitration, projected to make $9.5 million next season, as Van Schouwen speculates.
Along with the White Sox, another team that has been linked to Samardzija as recently as this week is the Atlanta Braves, according to John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group. Hickey reports that the A’s may be using Samardzija as bait to the Braves in order to acquire either outfielder Justin Upton or catcher/outfielder Evan Gattis.
Samardzija went 7-13 during the 2014 campaign, split between the Chicago Cubs and Athletics, while putting together a 2.99 ERA and 1.065 WHIP in 219.2 innings over 33 starts.