White Sox reportedly will trade for Jeff Samardzija

We're in a tenuous place as far as confirmation for this Jeff Samardzija here.

That's something.

That's a little more; getting some particulars here.

That sounds...really close to confirmation, but also seems to be getting off-topic.

Now we're talking about David Robertson.

It sounds like the White Sox are very close to making a trade for Jeff Samardzija after weeks of rumors, but trades have fallen apart this close to the finish before. Trades can even fallen apart after SportsCenter ran with a fake Ken Rosenthal tweet for a bit.

Yet assume things proceed as envisioned: Jeff Samardzija, 29, coming off a career year in 2014, offers promise of being the actually good and actually right-handed starter the White Sox have been looking for to place between Chris Sale and Jose Quintana at the top of the rotation. Last year's breakout performance of a 2.99 ERA and 202 strikeouts over 219.2 innings optimistically was the culmination of three years of Samardzija looking transformed from an erratic reliever to someone who can strikeout a batter-per-inning, multiple times through the rotation.

The White Sox have to definitely be hoping 2014 is the new normal, since immediate impact is all The Shark is contracted for. There are the safety valves of a deadline deal--if everything goes right to hell--or a qualifying offer that Samardzija will almost assuredly reject next off-season, but the purpose of the this deal is slapping a big patch on the 2015 rotation and competing next season. The rebuild would seem to be over. It was unfun while it lasted.

Is it possible to be excited and mildly disapprove at the same time? It must be, since I feel that way most of the time while awake. The organization is not strong enough yet to compete without substantial outside additions, which they are rumored to be prepared to do. It's an expensive and risky way to make up the difference, but the potentially wasted primes of Chris Sale and Jose Abreu are forcing their hand. 

The return for Samardzija is really hard to speculate at this point. The mention of Marcus Semien indicates the Sox could complete the deal without including Tim Anderson, which would be a small coup, but it makes the question of what else is going to Oakland even more open-ended. It could still be Alexei Ramirez, which would be bad and counter-productive, but it still  could be that, since 'Samardzija to Chicago, probably' is the most solid information available. They could also just trade Anderson, who posted a 9/1 K/BB ratio in the minors last year, and probably still be fine.

Not having a stud-filled farm to waste always protects the Sox from getting burned too badly in deals for MLB talent, and in this case protects them from getting burned if Samardzija reverts to being someone who delivers league-average performance with tons of flash and latent potential. The Sox don't have A-level prospects to swap, so settling for a rental is likely the only path to getting significant help, and if they're going to do stuff like give a closer $46 million, maybe they need to use something other than cash to fill all these holes after all.

It's 2:00am on the East Coast, and the initial reports still have the return being too light to worry at all.

If that third player is anything like the other two, the Sox are making out well enough that all qualifiers to positive reviews can be ignored.

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