So I left the Cards off the Samardzija sweepstakes series because I felt trades within the division are pretty dicey and unlikely especially when impact players like Shark are involved but that was before 2 Cardinal pitchers went down with injury and the Shark chatter increased. Then you start seeing the Cards scouting Jeff Samardzija starts and then multiple media members labeling St. Louis as a suitor for Jeff. So after going over this several times I have come to unique conclusion. The Cardinals are a perfect landing spot for Jeff Samardzija.
First off lets address something. I am not and will never be a Jeff Samardzija fan. Ever since his comments about wanting to be on a "winner", throwing ownership and the front office under the bus, not understanding the direction of the front office, turning down 2 reasonable extensions, and then trashing those players who signed team friendly extensions (although he did not name them but it was implied he was talking about the likes of Rizzo, Castro, Longoria, etc.). I respect the competitor and the talent Shark is but I do not care for his antics and constant venting/communicating through the media. So having Jeff Samardzija dress in that Cards red would be an easy transition for me because I just do not like the guy.
The 2nd reason I think this trade works is both clubs have to take a great leap of faith when it comes to this deal. The Cards are going to have to give up more than one quality prospect; prospects that could torment them for years to come. While the Cubs have to deal with the idea of Shark (who is developing into an Ace) pitching against them for at least the next year and a half; possibly more. It is a give and take where both have the opportunity to win or lose the trade which is why the appeal to get over on your division rival makes this trade possible.
The 3rd reason is both have the resources to get this done. The Cardinals want a top on the rotation pitcher to help them this year and next which is why they are targeting David Price and Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs want impact prospects either ready or near ready. The Cards can deal multiple impact prospects and still not deplete their farm system which puts them in the front when talking about other suitors for Shark.
Players that could be dealt
The Cubs Side: Well obviously you are talking about Jeff Samardzija but the Cards need bullpen help which the Cubs can help. Schlitter, Wright, Russell, and Carlos Villanueva all could be dealt at the deadline and all could help the pitch hungry Cardinals. The Cardinals are ranked 17th in bullpen ERA while the Cubs are ranked 7th so obviously the need is there. Plus the Cubs will also be targeting pitching so they may need to give more pitching to get pitching back in the deal.
The Cardinals Side: I would start off by saying Oscar Taveras is off-limits but now I am not so sure especially after reading this article from Mike at Cubs Den. Obviously he would be the main target giving he is let-handed, only 22, MLB ready, hits for power and average, good OBP, and plays the corner spots in the OF (see his stats here). Honestly an Oscar Taveras for Jeff Samardzija might be realistic from both sides. It might come down to if the FO values pitching more or if it just comes down to quality. Taveras=Quality. If Theo and Co. do want pitching then the first guy on their list would be Carlos Martinez. The Cards are using Martinez currently in the rotation but he has done most of his work in the bullpen this year. If the Cubs did get him in a deal for Shark then they will likely have to include a reliever (like I stated above). Martinez is going to be a #1 starter in the ML, He gets the nickname baby Pedro after Pedro Martinez and the profile is so similar it is scary. You can see his stats here or his impressive minor league stats here. Of course the Cards could get Shark even without including those two but they will have to give up more in the terms of quantity. Guys like Stephen Piscotty, Marco Gonzales, Rob Kaminsky, Tim Cooney, Zach Petrick, etc. The fact is the Cards system is stacked with quality talent and they have the goods to get the deal done.
In the end I think the Cardinals as a destination for Jeff Samardzija is a legit one. When laying everything out above I honestly believe a deal could happen. I think the chances dramatically increase if the Rays end up pulling back David Price or their asking price increases to something like Taveras plus some or Martinez plus some which I believe it will get that high. There is no doubt in my mind a deal can be hammered out by the Cubs and Cardinals especially if the Cards get desperate enough and include Oscar Taveras or Carlos Martinez.
Until Next Time...