Bob Nightengale of USA Today has the latest on the competitive quest to land the talented starting pitcher:
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 15, 2014
The Yanks' need for Samardzija is obvious and quite dire at the moment. New York is missing 60 percent of its rotation as a result of injuries and has seen an ineffective Hiroki Kuroda that has doomed 80 percent of the rotation.
Sure, guys like Vidal Nuno and David Phelps have been solid in CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda's absences, but none of those arms can be considered reliable enough to take the Yanks deep into October. Not to mention, relying on Sabathia and Pineda to return healthy would be foolish at best.
Chase Whitley has been outstanding in his first season as a Yankees starter, however the jury still out on him and it isn't known yet if his 2.41 ERA is just a fluke or something that is here to stay. Even if he is for real, Whitley and ace Masahiro Tanaka alone aren't enough to sustain a championship run for the Bronx Bombers.
If the Yanks want to strengthen their rotation with Samardzija, the competition will be stiff. All of the teams mentioned have plenty of young talent like the Yanks do in the minors, but the Yanks will have to be willing to part ways with that young talent in order to land a pitcher who can help them now.
It isn't clear how far general manager Brian Cashman will go. It's going to take a pretty penny to land a guy like Samardzija, who is still under team control after the 2014 season, thus adding to his already immense value as one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball.
The Baltimore Orioles were long thought to be frontrunners in the hunt for Samardzija. That can be thrown out the window because whether they are favorites or not, the team that is most ready to sacrifice its future will get the Cubs' starter.
Bottom line: the Yanks will have to either put up or shut up if Samardzija is a guy they really want.
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