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Giants are “showing strong interest” in Jeff Samardzija

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Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reported Saturday afternoon that the Cubs have already been in trade talks with multiple teams about ace right-hander Jeff Samardzija. Some of those calls have apparently come from San Francisco.

According to USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale, the Giants are “showing strong interest” in Samardzija, who owns a fantastic 2.77 ERA, 1.176 WHIP, and 82 strikeouts through 92 innings (14 starts) this season. Nightengale also lists the Yankees, Orioles, Angels, Red Sox, and Blue Jays as potential suitors.

The 29-year-old former Notre Dame wideout is making $5.35 million this season in his second year of salary arbitration. He is currently scheduled to become a free agent following the 2015 campaign.

Samardzija would be teaming up with Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Hudson, and Ryan Vogelsong in San Francisco, with Tim Lincecum presumably being shifted to the bullpen. That’s a lethal group.

The Cubs obviously want prospects in return, with a likely focus on young pitching.

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UPDATE, 1:24 p.m. ET: The Giants are denying that they have interest …

Report: Mariners acquire Chris Heston from the Giants

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.

Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.

Joe Nathan wants to pitch in 2017

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 16: Joe Nathan #36 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the ninth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park on August 16, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Mariners 4-2.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
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Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.

Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.

According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.