- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN Insider
The playoff field expanded from eight to 10 teams for the first time, giving more teams more chances at trying to make it to the postseason, making it less likely that clubs would become sellers before the July 31 trade deadline. Generally speaking, the market moved slowly.
But the rebuilding Chicago Cubs distinguished themselves last summer in their willingness to discuss trades. First, they moved Scott Feldman to Baltimore after the right-hander got off to a good start. They then swapped Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers and received what was generally considered to be the best package of the trade season: high-end pitching prospect C.J. Edwards, third baseman Mike Olt and right-handers Justin Grimm and Neil Ramirez.
Edwards was hurt earlier this season in Double-A, but the 20/20 hindsight perception of that trade within the industry is that Chicago did very well -- so well, in fact, that some rival executives believe that this trade helps frame a working model for what the minimum price will be for right-hander Jeff Samardzija.
“So you have an idea of just how expensive it will be,” one evaluator said.
7dJeff Banister, Special to ESPN.com
8dBrayan Pena, Special to ESPN.com
11dMatt Buschmann, Special to ESPN.com
12dA.J. Ellis, Special for ESPN.com
13dRob Manfred, Special to ESPN.com
13dSean Doolittle, Special to ESPN.com