Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel trade talks well underway
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter June 14, 2014 12:34AM
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta (2-1) gave up two hits and one walk and struck out nine in seven scoreless innings Friday night against the Phillies. | Matt Slocum/AP
Updated: July 15, 2014 6:17AM
PHILADELPHIA — He looked like a big part of the Cubs’ future when Ryne Sandberg had him in the minors in 2010.
Then again, a lot of people said the same thing about Sandberg back then.
“It was strange: He was always in there pitching when the game was on the line,” Sandberg, now the Philadelphia Phillies’ manager, said of Jeff Samardzija, now the Cubs’ ace. “He did a good job. . . . I just remember seeing the arm and the stuff.”
If anybody thinks it’s strange now to see Sandberg in a Phillies uniform, imagine when he and Samardzija, his former “bulldog-type” pitcher at Class AAA Iowa, next cross paths after this weekend series.
Maybe next month when the Phillies go to Atlanta? Maybe in August when the Seattle Mariners go to Philadelphia? Maybe next spring in Florida when the Phillies play the Toronto Blue Jays?
Sources say the Cubs already have had trade talks with multiple teams regarding Samardzija and right-hander Jason Hammel. The Braves, Mariners and Blue Jays are among the most interested, with one source suggesting offers already have been made by at least two teams.
And one major-league source said he expects Hammel to end up in Seattle.
It’s not exactly the direction Sandberg thought the organization had in mind for Samardzija when he managed him during an 11-3 season in Iowa.
“That’s not my call,” said Sandberg, whose Phillies had their three-game winning streak snapped by the guy who might be left standing tallest in the Cubs’ rotation after the July 31 trade deadline — Jake Arrieta, who allowed two hits in seven scoreless innings in the Cubs’ 2-1 victory Friday.
If Arrieta’s trade to the Cubs last July refreshed the screen on his promising career, Samardzija, who has watched the Cubs get shut out in five of his starts this year, could be looking at a complete competitive reboot toward October.
“It looks like he’s a quality starter with the attitude and the demeanor that he has out there and the aggressiveness,’’ Sandberg said. ‘‘The way he’s pitching the last couple of years speaks for itself.”
That’s what makes even the specter of a Samardzija trade already the most controversial Cubs action under third-year team president Theo Epstein.
“Starting pitching’s hard to come by,” Sandberg said. “There’ll be a lot of teams that would want him.”
NOTES: Cubs closer Hector Rondon, who had Tommy John surgery in 2010, was held out of the ninth inning because of elbow soreness that surfaced Wednesday. Manager Rick Renteria downplayed the move as precautionary and said Rondon will throw a bullpen session Saturday “to make sure he’s OK.”
◆ As expected, leadoff hitter Emilio Bonifacio was put on the disabled list with a rib-cage injury suffered Thursday. Outfielder Ryan Sweeney (hamstring) was activated from the DL to take his place.
◆ Starlin Castro said he was surprised when his good friend Roberto Hernandez was ejected in the sixth inning by umpire Mark Ripperger for hitting him with a pitch one at-bat after Castro hit a two-run homer. “He’s not that kind of person,” said Castro, who acknowledged Hernandez’s gesture of apology afterward. Renteria agreed with Castro. Crew chief Gary Cederstrom said otherwise: “The appropriate action was taken.”
◆ Ryne Sandberg also was tossed after arguing the Hernandez ejection.