Houston Astros: Jeff Samardzija could be the cheapest trade target


With the trade deadline slowly approaching, the Houston Astros will hit the market in search for additional help within their starting rotation while sitting in second-place in the A.L. West behind the Los Angeles Angels by just a half game.

A number of teams looking to shop arms may be pretty short. So those who will be selling this season could possibly hold out to see which team steps up with the best deal to acquire a specific player.

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Right now, guys like Scott Kazmir, Cole Hamels, James Shields, David Price, Clay Buchholz, Jordan Zimmerman, Andrew Cashner, J.A. Happ, and Jeff Samardzija are a handful of pitchers that may be up for grabs – for the right price.

While the Philadelphia Phillies may ask for a couple of top prospects in return for the veteran Hamels, the Chicago White Sox may not be able to ship Samardzija (The Shark) for a top group like the Oakland Athletics did to land him last summer.

In a trade with the Chicago Cubs, Billy Beane acquired both The Shark and Jason Hammel in exchange for shortstop Addison Russell, Dan Straily, Billy McKinney and another player to be named later.

Prior to being shipped away from the North Side of the Windy City, the 30-year-old right-hander was performing well despite carrying a 2-7 record over to the American League. In 17 starts, he allowed 34 earned runs on 99 hits with a 103/31 K/BB ratio, 1.20 WHIP, and 2.83 ERA across 108 innings of work.

Samardzija set the big league record for the lowest earned run average (1.46) by a winless pitcher and even made the National League All-Star squad but was unable to play because he was traded to the Athletics on July 5. Beane later flipped him to the White Sox in exchange for Marcus Semien, Chris Bassitt, Josh Phegley, and Rangel Ravelo during the off-season.

Some thought maybe he would return to the Cubs just like Hammel, but he found himself rejoining teammates Emilio Bonifacio and Geovany Soto on the South Side. They now sit in last place in the A.L. Central with a 41-45 record and trail the Kansas City Royals by 11 games.

The former multi-sport athlete out of Notre Dame had the opportunity of becoming a wide receiver in the National Football League but chose to become a professional baseball player instead.

He signed a five-year deal with the Cubbies and began his career as a reliever – taking the place of future Hall of Fame pitcher, Kerry Wood who was placed on the disabled list back in late July of 2008.

Other teams that may be looking to acquire Samardzija (6-4, 4.02 ERA) are the Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees. White Sox general manager Rich Hahn may ask for some position players in return in hopes of improving both defensively and in the batter’s box.

Next: Dallas Keuchel Named A.L. Starter

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