Matthew Pouliot

Jeff Samardzija

Rosenthal: Cubs listening to offers for Jeff Samardzija


It’s was assumed the Cubs already moved their biggest chip when they sent Matt Garza to Texas, but work came down from’s Ken Rosenthal on Saturday that they’re listening to offers for Jeff Samardzija.

Samardzija and the Cubs discussed a contract extension over the winter without getting very far. He’s making $2.64 million this year in his first season of arbitration eligibility. He won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season.

For that reason, the Cubs still see him as a building block rather than bait, but they could be persuaded to change their mind if the right offer comes along. It’d have to be a big one; the 28-year-old Samardzija is a modest 6-9 with a 3.94 ERA this year, but he’s struck out 139 in 137 innings and he gets a ton of grounders, too.

The Cubs would surely want two top prospects and one or two more lesser guys from the Braves, Diamondbacks, Red Sox or anyone else who comes asking. It’d be a high price to pay, but that Samardzija is probably a better long-term bet than any free agent starter available this winter could make him worth it.

Alex Rios said he was never approached about trade to Yankees

Alex Rios

According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, the Yankees gave the White Sox’s Alex Rios a long look, only to later move on to Alfonso Soriano. The reason:

Rios, though, refuted that he gave anyone any indication that a trade to the Yankees was off the table. “He should get his facts right because it puts me in a bad spot,” Rios told’s Dan Hayes. “I was never asked about that. I don’t know where he’s getting his insights.”

With the White Sox going nowhere fast, Rios makes sense as a trade target for a team looking for an outfielder. The 32-year-old has hit .276/.330/.437 with 12 homers and 21 steals this season, and he’s under contract for a perfectly acceptable $12.5 million next year, with a $13.5 million team option or a $1 million buyout for 2015. According to Hayes, the Pirates and Rangers have also been linked to him.

Bay Bridge shutdown forces detour for Angels

America's Cup Training

The Bay Bridge was closed down this afternoon after someone reported a suspicious device on an offramp. That wouldn’t seem to be much of a baseball issue, except the Angels were staying in a San Francisco hotel despite playing in Oakland tonight.

This happened early enough in the day that it seems unlikely any players will show up late to the ballpark tonight. But it is a little interesting that a) the Angels prefer to stay in San Fran when they’re playing in Oakland and b) Albert Pujols is still showing up early to the park, yet the .223-hitting Josh Hamilton doesn’t feel the need.