(CBS) We already know how unlucky Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija is. Even before yesterday’s seven-inning, no-run gem against the Yankees resulted in another no-decision and left him still sporting an 0-4 record and 1.46 ERA this year, he’d become the first pitcher in MLB history to go winless in his first nine starts of a season while compiling an ERA under 2.00.
What we don’t know yet is what Chicago might be capable of obtaining for Samardzija on the trade market. But as the Cubs head for their fifth straight losing season and the two sides remain millions apart in contract negotiations, moving him appears more likely. He’s under team control through 2015, so whoever trades for Samardzija would get some value.
Here’s the field of possible trade partners, according to CBSSports.com MLB insider Jon Heyman. Read his full article with more analysis here.
1. Yankees: They no doubt have the need, and now they are said to have the ammunition. Dellin Betances, who’s dominating as a set-up man, isn’t one the Yankees would presumably want to deal, but Manny Banuelos is back healthy and a nice new stash of hopefuls includes Luis Severino, Abi Avelino plus the usual strong catching selections and three No. 1s from last year with potential — pitcher Ian Clarkin, slugger Aaron Judge and third baseman Eric Jagielo.
2. Blue Jays: Toronto has been linked before to Samardzija, and it has strong young arms in Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman and others. The AL East looks winnable at the moment, too.
3. Red Sox: Boston obviously has terrific pitching prospects, including Henry Owens, Allen Webster, Matt Barnes and Anthony Ranaudo. Pitching isn’t their main big-league issue, but Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront may still be a little tired from last year’s heroics, and in fact Doubront reported experiencing some shoulder fatigue Tuesday night.
4. Dodgers: They obviously have the wherewithal to lock up Samardzija, and it doesn’t hurt that they still have top-tier prospects like Zach Lee, Corey Seager and Joc Pederson. Pitcher Julio Urias, only 16, looks like a distant future star.
5. Rockies: Who knows? Their offense is special, and one veteran pitcher could provide the boost they need. They possess two great pitching prospects – Eddie Butler and Jonathan Gray, but little reasonable expectation they’d part with either.
6. Mariners: There’s a lot of pressure for them to win now, and if they get close perhaps they could be tempted to include top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker, though they wouldn’t deal Walker for David Price, so maybe not. They do have a good number of young position players they’d be more willing to deal.
7. A’s: They aren’t as stocked with prospects as some but seem to be able to find a way. Right now kids Sonny Gray and Jesse Chavez plus Scott Kazmir provide a formidable top three, but their depth was hurt by Tommy John surgeries for Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin.
8. Braves: They’ve been in talks for Samardzija before, but remarkably, they somehow have six starters going very well now. As long as they have an extra starter, they wouldn’t seem to be a logical player.
9. Rangers: They’ve dealt with the Cubs before, and they obviously have had a series of rotation injuries. Of course, in such a seemingly unlucky year they very likely wouldn’t want to trade from their prospect largesse at the moment.
10. Marlins: Don’t laugh. Miami has done a terrific job early this year, they have plenty of young arms and Samardzija certainly would make a nice 2014 replacement for rehabbing starter Jose Fernandez. The obvious drawback: They’d have little to no chance to lock him up.