The Arizona Diamondbacks are looking into a number of starting pitchers on the trade market if rumored talks with the Cubs about Jeff Samardzija do not work out, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
The Diamondbacks see an opportunity to improve their team and compete for a playoff spot in 2014. If they want to do so, they believe the starting staff must be improved. The team's rotation posted a 4.13 ERA in 2013, 10th best in the National League. The Diamondbacks have a solid mix of talent young and old already, but adding someone like Samardzija, a pitcher many believe still has room to grow, could bolster them further. Giving up too much for an arm whose peripherals are better than his results, though, could prove problematic, should he not reach said potential.
Rosenthal lists other possible trade options for the Diamondbacks, including David Price and Max Scherzer as well as others such as Brett Anderson, Kyle Lohse, Homer Bailey, John Lackey, Doug Fister, Rick Porcello and Yovani Gallardo. The availability of those players varies from report to report. For instance, the Tigers may no longer be willing to trade Scherzer now that they have saved money by trading away Prince Fielder. Obviously, Price or Scherzer would make more of an immediate and significant impact in the rotation than Samardzija, but they will also cost more.
Arizona has one of the very best farm systems in the MLB, however (ninth best, according to Baseball America at the end of the 2013 season), and could likely work out a deal for any pitcher on the market they want, if they were willing to meet the price. The two top names that would likely come up in trade negotiations for top-flight pitchers would be Tyler Skaggs and Archie Bradley. At least one of those two would almost certainly need to be included for someone like Price or Scherzer. They also have young players who reached the majors in 2013 like outfielder Adam Eaton and third baseman Matt Davidson along with a number of other top prospects.
The Diamondbacks reportedly know what it would take to land Samardzija from the Cubs, but are hesitant to pull the trigger. They believe there may be an opportunity later in the offseason to land a better or similar starter for a lesser price.
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