The Nationals, in early rumors, have been after a pitcher that would join Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmermann to complete one of the best rotations in baseball. Masahiro Tanaka‘s name has came up in rumors, as I wrote earlier. Also, Matt Garza or another free agent pitcher could make the move to Washington. But, what if the Nationals went through the trade route?
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post tweeted out his article yesterday on the possibility of the Nationals acquiring 29 year old right hander Jeff Samardzija from the Chicago Cubs. Samardzija went 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA with the Cubs in 2013, but don’t let the win-loss record shy you away. He logged a career high 213.2 innings and struck out 214 in his second season as a full time starter. His strikeout total was good for fourth in the National League and his innings pitched total was fifth among all senior circuit pitchers. Jeff began his career with the Cubs in 2008 as a reliever and was in that role, bouncing back and forth between AAA and the bigs till 2011.
Realistically, Samardzija would be the better option rather than going for a David Price or a Max Scherzer in a trade. Price and Scherzer would both cause the Nationals to give up at least three or four top prospects in the trade and Samardzija would be easier to retain after his arbitration years are up. Granted, the Cubs are going to want prospects, but the Nationals would have to give up more to Detroit or Tampa Bay. And back to the retaining, Samardzija has two years of arbitration left and he would be easier to extend, where as Price or Scherzer might want to test the market of free agency, trying to get a pay day.
I believe Samardzija would be a perfect fit in the Nationals’ rotation. New manager Matt Williams can slide him right in the four slot and let him throw. Samardzija doesn’t have the wear or tear on his arm, like a David Price, because he hasn’t been a full time starter outside of these two years and in the minors occasionally. If Mike Rizzo can’t get Price or Tanaka, look for there to be some more rumors towards Samardzija heading to the nation’s capital.