Add a new AL East team to the mix.
The Baltimore Orioles are the “leading team” in the Samardzija sweepstakes, according to CBS Chicago. The Orioles believe they can bolster their position in the division standings by adding the right-handed prior the the July 31 MLB trading deadline.
The Baltimore Orioles appear to be the leading team of interest in the sweepstakes for Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija, as sources confirmed the two teams are mutually interested.
With the American League East up for grabs, the Orioles could separate themselves from the pack with a pre-emptive move before the trading deadline on July 31.
Per the report, the Cubs have an interest in some of the Orioles’ young pitching talent. Pitchers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Hunter Harvey, and Eduardo Rodriguez are among the arms the Cubs covet. Bundy, the fourth overall pick by the Orioles back in 2011, is a year removed from Tommy John surgery, but is among the top-rated pitching prospects.
Samardzija, 29, is coming off his first win of the season. The right-handed boasts a 1-4 mark with a 1.68 ERA, which is good for the second in the Majors. He has one year remaining on his contract before becoming a free agent in 2015.
Other reports name the Yankees, Blue Jays, and San Francisco Giants as potential landing spots for Samardzija.
The Giants have right-hander Kyle Crick to offer to the Cubs, according to ESPN Chicago. San Fran is in the midst of a pennant race, and AT&T Park could be even more beneficial for Samardzija as a pitcher’s park.
The Jays are “among those watching” Samardzija, according to the Boston Globe, with the confidence they can make a run for the division crowd if they can add another arm. However, the organization does not want to part with up-and-coming Drew Hutchison, who may be needed in the package with Chicago.
New York is dealing with injuries to CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova, and could use help in the rotation. CBS Sports considered the Yanks as the favorite to land Samardzija, and could include pitcher Dellin Betances. However, of the the teams interested in making a deal, the Yankees have the least enticing prospects to offer.