Samardzija — for Bundy, Gausman or Harvey? No thanks.

May 29, 2014 | Drew Forrester

Thursday morning musings —

Lots of conjecture by national media folks that our own Orioles are the “front-runners” in the Jeff Samardzjia sweepstakes.  I’m not sure what “front-runner” means in this case.  Does it indicate that Dan Duquette has made the most phone calls to Cubs GM Theo Epstein?  Have the Birds offered the most players?  Is the quality ranking of the prospects the Orioles have dangled in front of Chicago better than any other inquiring team?

Whatever the case, I’m not buying it.

It’s not in Dan Duquette’s DNA to give away high-profile minor-leaguers like Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey.  Most people think at least two of those players would have to be included in a deal involving Samardzjia, who would undoubtedly help any pitching-starved playoff contender.

Would I support a deal for Samardzjia?  Sure.  These opportunities to challenge for a division pennant and work your way into the World Series don’t come around much.  In fact, in Baltimore, the  World Series logo hasn’t been painted on the stadium grass since 1983, so we know all too well about the rarity factor of late October baseball.

But, there’s a difference between “supporting a deal” and saying, “We have to get Jeff Samardjzia or we’re doomed.”

Jeff Samardzjia, as his career numbers show, is a good pitcher who is having an outstanding season.  I’m not saying his 2014 is a fluke — but I will say he isn’t a pitcher who’s going to come to the American League and sport a 1.97 ERA in 13 starts to end the season.

Would I take him in a deadline deal to help bolster the Orioles pitching staff?  Sure.  But not if means the Birds get fleeced in the process.

I understand the concept of drafting young players and grooming them for the future from within your own organization.  That’s a noble concept.  It’s also an idea that often times falls short of expectations because you’re drafting kids, for the most part, who still have plenty of growing to do, both physically and mentally.

I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Kevin Gausman over the last two seasons during his occasional action in Baltimore, but by no means am I ready to stamp him as a can’t miss, sure-fire-thing in the big leagues.  Still, let’s keep in mind he was a 1st round draft pick for a reason.

Dylan Bundy?  Might turn out to be terrific once he fully recovers from Tommy John surgery.  Might turn out to be just another guy who everyone thought was going to be good.  Ready to give up on him?  Not this guy.

Hunter Harvey?  He evidently has “electric stuff” in the low level minor leagues.  Throw those pitches to Miguel Cabrera in three years and get back to me with the results.  There’s a big difference between striking out ten kids making $900 a month at Delmarva and forcing Mike Trout to look foolish on a Thursday night in September.

That said, while those three in particular are still very much unproven in the majors, they’re always going to be part of a any deal involving a quality player because that’s just the way deadline deals work.

In other words, like I always say, if you want to play at the $50 a hand poker table, you can’t go up there with a bunch of quarters and expect to hang around very long.

If the Orioles really feel like the team is now to contend, they’re going to have a tough decision to make in six weeks as it relates to Samardjzia.  It would be a huge gamble on their part, because Samardjzia is far from a slam-dunk.  He’s never pitched in the American League, for starters.  He’s essentially been a “good-to-very-good” pitcher in the National League, but let’s not mistake him for Adam Wainwright or Zack Greinke.

To Drew, it’s not a gamble worth taking if the deal involves Gausman or Bundy.


2 Comments For This Post

  1. BK Says:

    So many of our so called ‘can’t miss’ prospects have turned out to be busts or just average run of the mill players in the Majors. I will take somewhat young, proven Major League talent over ‘top rated prospects’ any day of the week. They can trade anyone if not multiple of these prospects for Samardjzia and it would support the deal 100%. It would be a good deal for the O’s IMO. I don’t see any of these young guys being what Samardjzia is already at the major league level or at least not enough of a high percentage chance to not make the trade.

  2. lakerboy Says:

    I would tend to agree with BK. How many “great” pitching prospects have we heard about over the years, that eventually turn out to be marginal (at best) major leaguers. All you neeed to do is point to is Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen, Billy Percibal, Jimmy Haynes, Adam Loewen, Radhames Liz…et al. It certainly seems as though we overvalue our talent. Granted, Samardjzia’s stellar 2014 campaign thus far may be an aberration. And pitching in the AL East isn’t like the NL Central. But I may be willing to part with damaged talent in Bundy, or perhaps even Gausman. I prefer bonafide major league talent, rather than something that may be an illusion. Moreover, Samardjzia is signed through 2015. (DF: I would trust that Samardjzia’s 2014 is more of an aberration than Gausman or Bundy will fail at the big league level. Of all the guys you listed (pitchers), none had the prospect rating of either Gausman or Bundy. That said, because Samardzjia is under contract through 2015, you might be a little more comfortable giving ONE of them away in a deal. In that case, it would be Bundy…for me anyway. Gausman is too far along to give him away as part of any trade.)

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