The Chicago Cubs have made no secret of their desire to trade starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija if an agreement on a contract extension is unable to be reached. To this point, the two sides haven't made much progress on such an extension, and Shark very well may be changing area codes by the time the Winter Meetings come to an end. His potential destination, however, remains to be seen.
Samardzija still has a couple years of team control remaining, and doesn't have a ton of mileage on his arm, having just completed his second full season as a starter for the Cubs. While he's technically the ace of the Cubs, his upside is likely that of a no. 3, or perhaps a no. 2 at best. Regardless of where he slots in for a rotation, he presents one of the better options available for teams looking for pitching, both through trade and free agency.
Aside from whether or not the Cubs extend or trade Samardzija, the major question at this point is where he could end up. There are a few teams involved in trade rumors to this point, with some having a much better shot than others, as the Cubs are looking to nab a top pitching prospect and then some. Who might be able to give them what they're looking for? Take a look, keeping in mind that the list of teams interested in Samardzija isn't limited to this group.
The Diamondbacks are in the market for an upper tier pitcher, that much is clear. They've made it clear to this point, though, that they have no intention of giving up Archie Bradley in a deal. That doesn't mean that they can't offer up a package that includes the likes of Tyler Skaggs and Adam Eaton, with the latter helping to make up for the Cubs' current lack of outfield depth. There is an obvious match here, perhaps more than any other team, it's just a matter of whether or not the D-Backs will be willing to meet the asking price for him.
The fact that the Pirates have been mentioned in connect with David Price tells you how serious they are about acquiring a big arm for their rotation. While Jameson Taillon would certainly be out of the question, the Pirates do boast one of the deeper farm systems in the game. Perhaps someone like Tyler Glasnow could be had in such a deal?
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays were in the mix when the Cubs were shopping Matt Garza some time ago, and we see them here again with Jeff Samardzija. Their farm system isn't what it was a couple of years ago, but they do boast some intriguing prospects that could help them reign him in. Pitching prospect Aaron Sanchez would be a good place for them to start, though the Cubs would likely ask for more.
It remains to be seen how much of a chance the Orioles have to acquire Samardzija. Their farm system as a whole is not all that impressive, and the only time they were actually connected to Shark was when the idea of a Matt Wieters-for-Samardzija swap was apparently discussed. Such a deal wouldn't make much sense for the Cubs, unless they were going to turn around and ship Wellington Castillo out of town. Unless the Orioles were to get a third team involved, there isn't a great fit.
The Phillies are a recent addition to the Samardzija rumor circuit, and a somewhat surprising one. For whatever reason, Domonic Brown is likely available in a trade, and while the Cubs are looking for pitching, their outfield depth isn't exactly stellar, especially as the current roster stands. Of course, a three-team deal is also a possibility here.