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Storylines: Samardzija on the verge of being traded

Storylines: Samardzija on the verge of being traded
Jeff Samardzija #29 of the Oakland Athletics reacts after the Athletics turned a double play to end the first inning of their game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Coliseum on July 6, 2014 in Oakland. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
December 9, 2014
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In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @AndrewIBI.

Here are the stories from Monday, Dec. 8. 

Top Stories:

  • The A's are close to a deal involving Jeff Samardzija and it appears likely he'll be heading to the White Sox, according to Jon Heyman of There was speculation that the Red Sox were also involved, but the White Sox have been the most interested of anyone and they're the likely winners here. The White Sox have several young infielders that could make sense for the A's. If the White Sox complete the deal, that would give them a strong right-hander to join Chris SaleJose Quintana, and John Danks. If a deal does happen, the A's would receive Marcus Semien and prospects, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Chicago doesn't want to trade top prospects like shortstop Tim Anderson or pitcher Francellis Montas for Samardzija since he has only one season of club control remaining. If the A's do acquire Semien, he would play shortstop. The 24-year-old hit .234/.300/.372 in 255 plate appearances last season, although there is some room for optimism. He struck out 27.5% of the time, but his minor league rates have been considerably lower. 

Tribe News:

  • In a widely anticipated swap, the Athletics officially agreed to ship outfielder/first baseman/DH Brandon Moss to the Indians in exchange for minor league second baseman Joe Wendle. To make room on the roster the Indians have DFAed right-handed reliever Bryan Price.
  • The Indians kicked the tires on Justin Masterson, but were never really "all in" on bringing him back, according to Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer.
  • Indians GM Chris Antonetti is comfortable with his current roster, he told Jordan Bastian of The acquisition of Brandon Moss affords the club depth and versatility. We learned yesterday that the club would now look to build upon its seven pitcher deep rotation. We could also see them shop Nick Swisher,Michael Bourn, or David Murphy, but it's unlikely they would receive much salary relief in a trade.

News and Notes:

  • Free agent starter Jon Lester is choosing between the Cubs and Giants, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported. Rosenthal did caution that a late change in the bidding could shake things up. The other teams said to be amongst the last suitors for Lester are the Red Sox and Dodgers. The hope within the Giants' organization that they have a legitimate shot to sign Lester has grown over the last 24 hours, according to Buster Olney of Just a week ago, they felt like they were a longshot in the chase.
  • If the Giants miss on Jon Lester, they are more likely to go to the next tier of free agent pitchers than to go all out for Max Scherzer, per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco could aim for options of the ilk of Ervin Santana and Francisco Liriano, Shea said, though it is not clear if those illustrative names or particular targets.
  • The Cubs and Diamondbacks are discussing a trade that would send Miguel Montero to Chicago, sources told Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Cubs and Diamondbacks have been engaged for weeks and a deal appears to be getting closer. The return for Montero wouldn't be big, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The DBacks would receive low level prospects with the Cubs assuming most or all of Montero's $40 million contract. Rosenthal heard Arizona would receive pitching prospects.
  • There has been no recent progress in the Matt Kemp trade talks between the Mariners and Dodgers, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
  • The White Sox agreed to sign David Robertson to a four-year deal worth more than $40 million, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.  Robertson has been zeroed in on landing a four-year deal this winter and he found a team happy to give him one with a solid average annual value. Robertson's deal is worth $46 million over four years, according to Jon Heyman of
  • Jason Hammel struck a two-year, $20 million to return to the Cubs, according to reports. The deal includes a $10 million club option for a third season, with a $2 million buyout included as part of the aforementioned guarantee. Hammel will earn an even $9 million in each of the guaranteed years. The 2017 option is voidable if Hammel can reach significant performance thresholds in the 2016 campaign.
  • The Red Sox have made an offer to Justin Masterson, according to Jon Heyman of The pitcher is also talking with the Rangers, Marlins, White Sox, Royals, Giants, Twins, and others. Yesterday, we learned that the Rangers have made an offer to Masterson, their first concrete bid for a free agent starter this winter.
  • Scott Boras is seeking "multiple years and substantial dollars" for Kendrys Morales, an official with one AL club told Jerry Crasnick of That means that the veteran might be on the market for a while once again this offseason unless his expectations change, Crasnick added. Crasnick clarified that Morales is looking for two or three years "at Billy Butler" money. Butler signed a three-year, $30 million contract earlier this offseason.
  • The Braves have interest in free agent reliever Jason Grilli, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The Yankees have reportedly discussed Grilli as well.
  • Reliever John Axford has drawn interest from the Reds, though nothing is close and there are other teams involved, according to Mark Sheldon of
  • The Rangers claimed lefty Scott Barnes off waivers from the Orioles, Baltimore announced. Baltimore had added Barnes recently in a minor swap for cash.

User Comments

December 9, 2014 - 12:50 PM EST
The Indians say no because they won't take on a contract of that size for a SP. Ever.

The Phillies say no because they have no use for Bourn or his contract. They would much rather throw money into a deal to get a better prospect return than take on a player like that.
December 9, 2014 - 12:07 PM EST
@JohnM impact trades in early December are still well within the typical time period..including the Indians.. How about a deal out of left field:

Phillies get: Danny Salazar, Josh Tomlin, Michael Bourn, Tyler Naquin and James Ramsey...
Indians get: Cole Hamels and Matt Imhof as a PTBNL

Phillies get a TORP, a BORP, a starting CF (For salary relief for the Indians) and two ML Ready OF'er, both capable of playing CF.. for their $ 96 MM four year SP and a lottery ticket..

No salary exchange, just a straight five for two deal..Who says no???
December 9, 2014 - 12:01 PM EST
@Mark.. The question posed wasn't whether it would happen or was the machination of the transaction hat was pointed out with an example..

Odd.. how everyone is an expert at when SHYTE ISN'T going to happen..yet.. Shyte still happens.. smh..
December 9, 2014 - 11:56 AM EST
Are the White Sox this year Toronto Blue Jays ? A lot of activity poor results.
John M
December 9, 2014 - 10:22 AM EST
I don't think the Indians are done TRYING to deal, but I don't see them making any impact moves like Upton or Kemp. I could see them moving Murphy for prospects or a reliever to someone like BALT.

As for their lineup, the Indians have made a more significant upgrade already than they usually do. Moss brings some pop, albeit from the left side, but it's still an improvement. Ands Josh, if you don;t think the Indians have a legitimate lineup you best go back and check around the league.

Moss has delivered more power than most over the last three seasons, Brantley was in the top 3 MVPs in the AL, Gomes is arguably the best catcher in the league, Santana isn't a superstar, but the guy's got a superb OBP and hits between 20-30 HRs every year. Chiz, for all his shortcomings, outhit both Headley and Panda, who both will get huge deals this winter. If Kipnis and Swisher bounce back for remotely solid seasons look out. The there's this guy Lindor coming.

I'm guessing the defense continues to improve to go along with this staff and bullpen to be a 90+ win team in 2015. If they happen to move to get that RH bat, they'd be a serious WS contender. But then again, what did KC have that would've led anyone to think they were last year?
December 9, 2014 - 10:02 AM EST
I dont think the Indians are done dealing. A couple weeks we were complaining about there was no hot rumor activity about the Indians. Then out no where the Indians trade for Moss. Maybe there might be another deal before the meetings end or they might happen after the meetings are over. I would not be surprise if the Indians try to improve this team into January.

Looks like the relief pitcher market is now going to be active.
December 9, 2014 - 9:22 AM EST

I too, would love to take a flier on Billingsley, however, he wouldn't be arb eligible next offseason, as he has over 6 years of service time already (8.110 per b-ref).
Devin M
December 9, 2014 - 9:16 AM EST
I would hate to be an Oakland fan this offseason. Watching your team get completely dismantled again, and in some cases not getting much back. (Thanks Billy Bean for Moss Ha Ha Ha)

The vet pitcher Id love to see them sign is Billingsley, a great buy low starter with tons of upside. Might even be good enough to offer arbitration to next year. If they can sign him and trade for Van Slyke from LA I'd consider this offseason a complete success.
December 9, 2014 - 9:09 AM EST

That's not happening. Its just not. Swisher isn't moving anywhere unless its for an equally bad contract...and then, well, we still have money tied up in another bad contract player. As for Bourn, he probably isn't moving anywhere either until most all of the free agent OF's have signed, and then a team would have to get real desparate. And by that point in time, what does it matter if we saved some cash? The offseason will be over and there will be no one worth signing left. Murphy is the most realistic, and what Chris Antonetti said yesterday doesn't sound promising in that they have made these three available, but they don't expect much payroll relief even if they did move them. Moving 1 would be a miracle...moving all three? A video game pipe dream!
December 9, 2014 - 9:08 AM EST

Re: my thoughts on signing a vet like Peavy, not necessarily him, but a qlty veteran arm for the rotation could go a long way in helping along the development of the young guys. No way I trade Bauer, but, I'm open to tr. Salazar, but it would have to be a highly impactful deal to do it. However, it would make a guy like TJ House available in the right deal. Frankly, I wouldn't mind pushing him to AAA for a little while just in case. In the mean time Id listen on him, but there's no rush / need to move him.
December 9, 2014 - 8:42 AM EST
The CWSox with their deals for Samardzija and Robertson are making a HUGE impact on the AL Central. Right now, it would appear that the Twins are the only team not improved over the last couple of days.. The four teams, Tigers, Royals, Indians and CWSox.. will make up the toughest division in baseball heading into the 2015 season.. each for their own reason:

Tigers: Heart of the order offense...
Royals: Nastiest shut down bullpen in the majors
Indians: 1 through 5 starting pitching..
CWSox: One-Two punch SP's, Middle of the order beast..

Just 10 weeks until Pitchers and Catchers report to spring training in Goodyear !!.. woot !!..
December 9, 2014 - 8:37 AM EST
@Mark... when he states 'dump'. he doesn't mean DFA and eat Swisher's, Bourn's and Wright's $ 34 MM in salary for these three guys. He means, make trades where the Tribe sends some cash with the player for a return..

Example: Send Tony Wolters, Michael Bourn and $ 7.5 MM to the Jays for Aaron Sanchez.. This would reduce the Indians salary by $ 10 MM total or $ 5 MM per year for the two years remaining on Bourn's contract. At $ 10 MM / year for Bourn, that might be perceived as an excellent value by the Jays. Adding the prospect (Wolters) for prospect trade and the Indians are better off.. the Jays are better off and the Indians have reduce their payroll to a small degree.

Trade Swisher in the same kid of deal.. (Saving $ 5 MM)

Trade David Murphy straight up for a prospect (Saving $ 6 MM )

Add it up and the Indians send out $ 34.5 MM and keep $ 19.5 MM & two prospects, thereby saving $ 15 MM on the aggregate of the three deals.. It's not likely that all three players can be dealt in this fashion, but, it is likely that Michael Bourn & David Murphy can be moved, saving some cash..

December 9, 2014 - 8:03 AM EST

how do you propose we "dump" Bourn, Swisher and Murphy and save $15M??? If we dump them, we have to eat the salary. And no one is willingly trading for them. People, this isn't a video game. This is real life. You don't trade players, you trade contracts, and no one is taking those guys, without being part of a much larger deal, with us padding the deal with extra prospects, just so the other team takes them.
December 9, 2014 - 8:02 AM EST
If the Indians were to move a prospect like Clint Frazier (who I view has the highest upside in the organisation - maybe highest ceiling prospect since Manny), then I would want the move to put the Indians in the favourite position to win the AL. Upton and Kemp are the only guys that I think would put them there. Guys like Rios, Cespedes and Byrd put them in good positions to contend but only to contend (IMO) - anything can happen when you contend and being favourites doesn't guarantee anything either.
December 9, 2014 - 7:34 AM EST
While Kemp & Upton would likely provide the biggest impact, Cespedes too.

I think if the Indians are looking to add a short term option, (which Upton or Cespedes fit) I think Rios or Marlon Byrd are more realistic.

Or we could roll the dice on Raburn having quite the bounce back.

I like the idea of Jake Peavy a lot but that comes down to what the Indians do with their main 5, but specificaly Bauer or Salazar.

For the record, I'm not in favor of dealing either. For years we as fans have clamored that the Indians have not been able to develop its own potential MOR-FOR pitchers and now we have 2 (cost controlled) sitting behind a Cy Young winner in Kluber and perhaps the biggest key to the Indians 2015 run in Carrasco.

TO ME it's difficult to justify trading either for 1 season of anyone, even if we get a possible QO for Upton etc.

The 2013 season had Masterson & Ubaldo pitch especially well at points of the season and being followed by strong seasons of Kluber & Kazmir. The run near the end of 2014 was all in the pitching & defense improvments.

Call me a sucker, but I'll take the 5 guys we have VS almost anyone at this point. Add a Rios, or Byrd type to the mix IMO. Maybe take a hit on Billingsly.

Just my opinions of course!
December 9, 2014 - 5:19 AM EST
I know the Tribe won't get salary relief in a trade of Swisher and Bourn, but I think they have no problem moving David Murphy. The Mariners, Rangers and Orioles could all have interest.

Personally, I see nothing keeping the Tribe from adding another qlty piece. If they move Murphy for a prospect / international cash, whatever the Tribe will be right back where they started the offseason, which, IMHO is excellent payroll management by the FO. The Tribe would have the opportunity to still make at least one significant add, potentially more.

I think the Tribe may lurk around the FA mkt unless, they make some (significant) moves. The last few yrs they extended payroll to get a few value deals. Last yr they attempted to get Benoit, and had interest in Balfour and Rodney, which would have pushed the club to or beyond the $90M threshold. I suspect they'll make another move (or two) at the winter mtgs and keep a close eye on anyone they deem slipping through the cracks of FA.

The Tribe still has reasonable room to add a significant piece in FA while maintaining long term flexibility. Let's say, they have $20M to spend by trading Murphy and a bump in payroll (I suspect it may happen). That's $8-10M to spend on a bat like Rios and $10-12M to spend on a veteran pitcher like a Jake Peavy. The Tribe could come around to Chase Headley. I have serious doubts on the $65M offer, unless, Houston offered it in desperation to make a key add this winter.
December 9, 2014 - 5:00 AM EST
I'm in on adding a big bat or SP. My list includes all of Kemp, Cespedes, and Upton. I prefer Upton bc of the QO and Matt Kemp bc of control (possible cost). Kemp is a proven hitter and looked healthy the 2nd half. If the Dodgers eat half the deal I'm wiling to move Frazier and Gonzalez.
December 9, 2014 - 2:29 AM EST
I think it's time the Indians really go for it this year, antonetti is fooling himself if he thinks this lineup is legit contender. Saying that I agree with the comment above we should go after kemp, if they think he is to much money then I say fine go after justin upton. We are one right handed power hitter away. Imagine upton hitting balls over are left field wall, I'd love it
December 9, 2014 - 2:00 AM EST
Would love to see the tribe go for Kemp. If they were willing to eat half of his contract for Taijuan Walker, then Frazier and Gonzalez should be enough. Dumping Bourn, Swisher and Murphy could easily net $15 million, so it would't be a huge financial commitment and he would have a huge presence in the middle of the lineup.

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