That was the question posed by Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post earlier this month. It stoked conversation and numerous articles about whether or not the Rockies should make that move.
To recap my analysis of that question, I will once again ask the question: should the Rockies trade Jon Gray for Jeff Samardzija?
The reasons are numerous, ranging from the fact that Samardzija has never been a true ace except for two months this season to Jon Gray’s ridiculously high ceiling to the fact that there is literally a near-zero percent chance Samardzija would sign with the Rockies past 2015.
You are talking about trading arguably the best pitching prospect in team history for a year and a half of a guy who might be awesome but might also be pitching way over his head right now. Neither is a guarantee, but I’ll take my chances with Gray every single time.
Now the Rockies have been linked to a trade for Samardzija in a different context. This morning Jeff Passan of Yahoo! reported that the Cubs have been asking around for a “competitive-balance draft pick and the accompanying bonus-pool money” as part of their return for trading Samardzija. He then noted the following:
Of the contending teams with high, tradable picks, the Colorado Rockies, choosing 35th, make the most sense. Chicago executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are creative enough, too, to consider three-team deals with an asset as valuable as Samardzija, like Price not a free agent until after next season.
So the question is, would the Rockies find Samardzija to be more valuable than that 35th pick and whatever players would have to go with it in a deal? Maybe, but then Mark Polishuk of MLB Trade Rumors noted the following:
“The draft pick would just be part of a Samardzija trade package, of course, and I would guess the Cubs would also ask for Rockies pitching prospects Jonathan Gray or Eddie Butler in exchange for their ace. The Rox could possibly upgrade their rotation simply by promoting one of those two young arms, however, rather than deal assets for a veteran.”
And that’s the point. Theo Epstein will ask about Gray, he’ll ask about Butler, and then he might ask about the weather in Denver before hanging up and moving on to another potential trade partner. As far as the question of trading Butler instead of Gray in such a package, if you’re wondering what I think about that, well…
If nothing else, we should note this unfortunate reality: Passan’s designation of the Rockies as a “contending team” might prove to be inaccurate in short order.
Colorado is already 8.5 games behind the Giants and staring at a downright frightening schedule in the month of June. If they are contenders come July 1st, awesome. But they need to play these games before they start talking about bold trades, which should rule out the idea of making a deal between now and Friday (the MLB Draft).
For what it’s worth, Polishuk then offered the following update on the report about the Cubs on MLB Trade Rumors:
A baseball source differs from the report referenced below, telling MLBTR there is no truth to the assertion that the Cubs have inquired about receiving a competitive balance draft pick as part of a Samardzija deal.
Either way, two scenarios have been offered in which the Rockies could try to trade for Jeff Samardzija. So far the answer has been “no” twice, at least as far as I am concerned. Maybe that will change, but for now the Rockies should focus on internal options to improve their rotation and their bullpen. With those top prospects looming, there is plenty of excitement and promise to be found in that route.
Tags: Colorado Rockies