With trade rumors surrounding Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija and Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, and Royals starting pitcher James Shields just a year away from free agency, all three players are at different points in discussions to extend their contract with their current team.
Wieters appears to be the furthest away from a deal. With two years of team control remaining, the fact that the team is considering trading him when they are still poised to compete indicates the possibility of an extension is becoming less and less likely, says Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. The Orioles have attempted to sign a long-term deal with Wieters each of the last two seasons with little progress. His agent, Scott Boras, is loath to allow a player to sign before hitting the open market. In addition, MVP finalist Chris Davis will be a free agent at the same time as Wieters and is likely the bigger priority.
Shields told ESPN's Jim Bowden that he has not had any discussions with the Royals about an extension, but says he is open to the idea of staying in Kansas City. While the Royals pushed their payroll to a franchise-high $82 million in 2013, they may not be willing to meet the price Shields will command. In his first season with the Royals, Shields led the AL in innings pitched and posted a 3.15 ERA.
Samardzija has had plenty of rumors surrounding him as a possible trade candidate for the Cubs if he does not sign an extension, with the Diamondbacks being perhaps the most active pursuer. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer says the team has had discussions with Samardzija about a contract and would like to keep him in Chicago, reports David Kaplan of CSN Chicago. Samardzija has said before that he would like to remain with the Cubs. With the cost of starting pitching soaring in free agency, he may be the team's most valuable trade chip this offseason, with two years of team control remaining.