- Doug Mittler, ESPN Insider
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The non-waiver trade deadline is less than a month away, but recent history tells us that blockbusters could come sooner than later. A year ago, the Cubs and Athletics kick-started the trade season by sending Jeff Samardzija to Oakland in a six-player deal.
Samardzija was traded back to Chicago in December, this time with the White Sox, but could the right-hander be on the move again? While Samardzija has endured an up-and-down season with a 4.33 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, he remains “one of the more discussed and desirable pitchers on the trade market,” writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
Samardzija's value may have ticked upward after a solid performance against the Orioles on Saturday in which he allowed one run and three hits over 7 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts. The free-agent-to-be also would come at a far cheaper price than Cole Hamels, who is being aggressively shopped by the Phillies.
Cafardo says Samardzija could the first pitcher moved ahead of the deadline and lists the Royals, Astros and Tigers as among the clubs that have him on their radar. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says Samardzija would be a “pefect fit” for the Yankees, adding the clubs have not had any talks.
Here are more rumors making the rounds following the long holiday weekend:
Chicago Cubs: In an effort to build rotation depth, the Cubs’ trade conversations have been focused more on starting pitchers than position players, says Jon Morosi of Fox Sports. They reportedly prefer to add a pitcher they could control beyond this year, suggesting they could make a serious play for Hamels, who has a long-term deal.
San Francisco Giants: The Giants are looking for outfielders and have discussed Milwaukee’s Gerardo Parra and Atlanta’s Cameron Maybin, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. The Giants and Phillies each have 12 homers from outfielders, the fewest in the majors.
Stephen Drew: The New York Yankees would love to add a second base upgrade over Drew, who is hitting a paltry .178/.251/.364. But given the lack of alternatives on the trade market, they are more likely to add from within, reports Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com. The Yankees have tried Jose Pirela, who is hitting just .203. Triple-A second baseman Rob Refsnyder could be in the mix at some point.
Aaron Nola: The Phillies’ prized right-hander could be in the big leagues before the end of the month, predicts MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. Nola was recently promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and is a combined 10-3 with a 1.97 ERA at two minor league levels. Kevin Correia allowed 10 hits and nine runs in just 3 1/3 innings Saturday against the Braves and could be on thin ice. A trade of Hamels around the All-Star break could move up Nola’s timetable.
Mat Latos: With Jose Fernandez back in the rotation, the Marlins could look to move Latos and recoup some of the talent they lost in dealing for the right-hander last winter, says former GM Dan O'Dowd. The Blue Jays, Tigers, Twins, Cubs and Dodgers are listed as possible suitors.
Milwaukee Brewers: General manager Doug Melvin has quietly been negotiating his departure with owner Mark Attanasio and could move into an advisory role after next season, writes Bill Madden of the New York Daily News. Milwaukee is mentioned as a possible landing spot for Jerry Dipoto, who lost a power struggle in Anaheim and recently stepped down as Angels' GM.