Samardzija, Masterson rumors and roundtable speculation

Apparently we need to strike while Matt Adams is hot, and respond to these Samardzija-to-Chicago, Justin Masterson-FA-signing rumors

James: So the White Sox are “talking with the A’s about Jeff Samardzija.” Stuff like “He sure is ugly” and the like, I’m sure.

Matt: I guess a big part of the rumor is putting stock into an alleged deleted tweet from Tim Anderson declaring that he was being traded to Oakland. Might make sense for us not to decide that’s absolutely accurate.

Collin: Maybe it’s Tim Anderson for John Jaso?

James: Joooohhn Jaso Jingleheimer Schmidt….that’s all I got on that.

Collin: I don’t know how strong of an opinion I have on Samardzija. I think Nick said he thinks he’s overrated. But I don’t hate this strategy. The point of building a solid farm system isn’t always necessarily to rely on those guys to become solid pros. Getting young talent and trading them for pieces that can help you win now makes sense, so long as you don’t do it as recklessly as Kenny Williams used to.

Matt: I’m not much of a Samardzija believer, but I see where it makes sense for 2015. It doesn’t match up with the stated 2016 window, obviously as he’s a free agent by then. But yes, I definitely agree with the farm system strategy. It’s arguably more about flipping guys for MLB players than promoting when you’ve got a fairly light track record on the latter.

James: The Shark put it all together last year to look like at least a solidly above-average guy going forward for a while. He always flashed a lot of raw ability, as much as I liked to diss him in 2012 and 2013. If they pre-extended him, that wouldn’t be bad, though I don’t love that practice in general. Also, he was asking basically to be paid like God, so that might not be fun either. I’d want to wait to see what they did, but I’m not screaming “NO NO NO NO” already, which is nice. Tim Anderson hurts and does make me wonder whether Alexei is just going  to play until he’s dead. Any chance Alexei has been secretly younger than he reported the whole time? Like he’s really 26? I did just see him hop around the locker room like a goofball in nothing but a leotard a couple months ago.

Collin: How much does God make? I’m still getting over my hatred of Samardzija from his days as a Notre Dame WR, so this is very difficult for me.

James: God is currently in the third year of a 7/185 deal.

Matt: “Samardzija only has to be a number 3” is at odds with “Samardzija wants to be paid like an ace.” I believe that makes him a rental or else those Rick Hahn negotiation skills have to kick into high gear.

Collin: I’m certainly not a fan of trading Tim Anderson for one year of Jeff Samardzija (unless they win the World Series or something, in which case, sure!). I would assume if the White Sox make that trade that they’re incredibly confident in being able to re-sign him, just as I’ve assumed that about the Cardinals-Heyward trade (although quotes from Mozeliak after it was done make me less certain of this).

Matt: Does trading for an assumed 1 year of Samardzija become more palatable if the outgoing piece changes? What else would fill a need for Oakland (though what the hell they’re looking to do at this point is anybody’s guess) that would be less dream damaging to give up?

James: They’re looking for...a whole new team? Dayan Viciedo is ready to lead a team.

Matt: Well Billy Butler was a great start.

Collin: The outgoing player does make a difference. If they traded, oh, say, Carlos Sanchez, for Samardzija I’d care less because I think Carlos Sanchez has less of a chance of becoming a good everyday player than Tim Anderson. Maybe it’s silly for me to care about such things when Samardzija obviously makes the White Sox better in 2015 than any of these prospects, but I still care.

James: They traded Addison Russell for this dude. Surely they want more than White Sox pocket change.

Collin: I wasn’t ACTUALLY suggesting Sanchez makes sense. I know Oakland wants a lot. And it makes sense to want a lot. I just worry about trading legit prospects for a guy who could bolt in a year. I’m not saying I’d be totally against it.

Matt: So if the White Sox trade Tim Anderson for Jeff Samardzija, that will be 3 of 3 “large” offseason moves that The Catbird Seat collectively just says, “oh, ok.” Do we even care, guys? About anything?

James: I ain’t gettin hot under the collar to watch these crusty buttlingers play.

Wait, what was the other move besides LaRoche? I can’t remember.

Collin: The kick-ass Duke!

James: That was a reliever! I didn’t even count that as a major move. The Astros signed relievers last year.

Matt: I guess I meant moves higher on the scale than waving bye to Belisario. Which actually is little more than a shoulder shrug anyway.

Collin: Relievers matter, James. Remember the Royals? DO YOU REMEMBER WADE DAVIS?

James: He was definitely, clearly the best reliever in the world coming in to 2014 and will definitely repeat it in 2015.

Collin: Hey, maybe all these rumors are just a ploy to bring down the price on Justin Masterson!

Matt: Is he looking for anything more than a one-year contract to prove himself? Why not do both? Send Noesi and Danks on a treasure hunt together.

James: Definitely wants a one-year make-good.

Collin: Sale-Quintana-Samardzija-Masterson is a Top 4 to get excited about. It also is a lot of letters.

James: Too many letters. Far too many. Contract the White Sox, IMO.

Collin: How many teams can say their rotation includes both the letter “Q” and “Z”? This is record-breaking stuff.

Nick: The advantage of Samardzija - and similarly the downside - is that he’s only a commitment for 2015. If he doesn’t work out you haven’t made one of these multi-year obligations like Shields/Lester/Scherzer.

James: This looks like an oddly 2015-focused squad. Which I guess I’m fine with. Would be nice to kill Sale in meaningful games for a change. There’s also that chance that Masterson is crap and dead and his shoulder is cold cuts.

Matt: The fact that it goes against the whole window Hahn was describing before makes me question it. But as Nick said to me earlier, the whole Sale and Abreu are as good as they’re gonna be thing is pretty persuasive right now.

Collin: The idea of the White Sox going into 2015 with a team we legitimately believe can contend is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. I don’t know if my heart is ready for this.

Nick: A lot of depends both on what you think of Anderson. Both his on the field value and trade value.

James: I think his trade value is about as high as it’s going to get. Unless he’s awesome, of course.

Nick: Scouts love him, but I’m not convinced it will translate to baseball skill. The things he’s really bad at are the things that don’t always develop.

Collin: Yeah, when speed and athleticism are too of the main selling points of a prospect, it worries me. I read stuff like “he’s still learning baseball” and I think WHAT IF HE NEVER LEARNS?!

Nick: We’ve seen Dayan Viciedo just...never learn what’s coming out of a pitcher’s hand. From speaking to guys who saw Anderson play, if you ask how he’s doing beyond “ARE HIS HANDS FAST” the response I got was, “The guy just didn’t belong at AA.”

James: Because he was TOO GOOD, right?

Nick: If you flipped his BB and K numbers then yes, James.

Samardzija clearly makes the team better in 2015, and if you don’t think Anderson ever develops then who cares if you trade him, unless you think there are other offers that might be better.

I suppose I would rather just spend cash on McCarthy than part with talent, because the organization has more spare money than talent.

James: If there’s isn’t much control, what makes Samardzija much more appealing than the FA crop? Has to be a Cooper preference, no?

Nick: Because if the team is bad you just flip him at the deadline / it’s a short investment. Then you come into next offseason with tons of money to burn again. It’s less risk than a Scherzer. And again, you get your draft pick #50 or whatever it will be.

Collin: I’d have to look closer at the numbers, but I know Samardzija is a much bigger strikeout guy than the others. Not saying that’s everything, but with Sale and Samardzija they could have two of the top five strikeout pitchers in the league. Sale/Samardzija were 6th/7th in the majors in strikeouts last season.

James: And Quintana. Who is just going to keep steadily improving until he ascends to a higher plane of existence.

Nick: At this point you still need Danks around just to soak up innings, but if you add enough to the rotation maybe you could offer him to like, Philly if you pay ~50-75% of his salary.

Collin: I also was never a big fan of bringing Rodon to the majors so early. If this/these potential acquisitions means he spends a majority of 2015 in the minors, I think that’s a plus.

Nick: I would prefer if the team isn’t saying: We have to compete in 2015 AND Rodon needs to immediately be a good major league starter. That seems like you are creating a scenario where you might severely compromise Rodon’s development. Then again, who knows what sort of handshake deals they made with Rodon/Boras in terms of when he reaches the majors.

Collin: They could very realistically make him a significant bullpen piece in 2015 while still planning on using him as a starter in the future. I know there’s the worry about him not getting a starter’s workload for a full season, but I think it’s at least a possibility. Not for the duration of the year but certainly down the stretch if they’re in contention.

Nick: I think Rodon’s issues are things like fastball command and the development of his third pitch. Not exactly the things that a lefty reliever is working on for a team that’s making a playoff push.

Collin: Well, a lot could change if he gets a starter’s workload for most of the minor league season and comes up to relieve/make spot starts down the stretch if necessary.

Nick: Yeah. I like that plan for him if it works out that way.

I guess a lot of how I feel about a theoretical Samardzija for Anderson swap depends on what else the White Sox send with Anderson. If it’s like, Chris Beck I don’t really care. If it’s Spencer Adams I will be mad. (I know Adams would have to be a PTBNL, but…)

Collin: I could see it being someone lower in their Top 20. Maybe a Trey Michalczewski or something. I’d also be mad if it were Micker Zapata.

James: I know leverage is a factor, but woof to trading Russell for Samardzija and Hammel than flipping him for half-good White Sox options.

Nick: Wouldn’t make it bad process, just bad results. I still am surprised that they had to give up so much to get Samardzija, especially given the cost of David Price, but…

James: Seems just a little strange to completely gut the team, but clinging to the past is the White Sox failing, so maybe I should watch and learn.

Collin: I do legitimately wonder if the A’s would still be doing these things had they won the World Series or even just gone further in the playoffs. Something tells me this isn’t reactionary, but a plan Billy Beane had in place regardless of how well those moves worked out.

Nick: The A’s will probably be just fine.

James: Like, in the future?

Nick: I don’t see why they can’t compete in 2015. Rangers will almost certainly improve, but I could see Seattle and the Angels taking a step back.

James: They just traded their pretty good third baseman for a very average third baseman and prospects.

Nick: I’ve already spent way more time talking about the Donaldson trade than I would care to.

They also still finished with the best run differential in the AL last year despite their entire team going into a slump at the same time, and Brandon Moss playing through a severe hip injury.

James: I don’t think he’s a top-5 in the AL guy but it’s clearly a worse-now move.

Nick: Yeah, it just may not be as much of a worse-now move as you might think. I think there are universes where Lawrie is better than Donaldson next year.

Collin: That truly is the darkest timeline.

James: You guys and your infinite universe theories

Nick: Okay, so, is there anything else the White Sox might be trading Tim Anderson for on Oakland? If they hadn’t just signed LaRoche I might have said Brandon Moss. Because all of this stems from the premise of: Anderson to Oakland.

Collin: Sonny Gray!

Nick: I suppose Oakland has a number of Half Catchers, but Samardzija makes the most sense. I think I would be okay with it, and it would make 2015 much more interesting at least. The White Sox must know Anderson better than any other organization, so you have an advantage in terms of information, and trading a prospect away at the height of his value is a skill and a good thing to do - if you are, in fact, confident that he’s peaking.

Collin: Maybe it’s Tim Anderson for Brett Lawrie and three prospects.

James: HA!

Take him, I’d say. Though he’s probably more likely a regular than Anderson, just lower ceiling by a lot.

Nick: Huh. Well, can’t imagine you’re getting anything super fancy for Semien although he’s a nice enough piece. Could it be something like...Semien for Vogt? I could see how both teams could benefit from that.

Collin: Tim Anderson and Marcus Semien for Jeff Samardzija and John Jaso (or Vogt, sure).

I don’t know a lot about these Oakland half-catchers.

Nick: Change of subject, but apparently there are now rumblings about Scherzer to the Yankees. Hot stove rules / is awful.

(We should probably get this up on the site soon, before all this speculation becomes moot).

James: Fine, we’re done here. Hope you didn’t have embarrassing typos.


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