A’s open to trading Jeff Samardzija

Black Friday was just rolling along, into the primetime television hours on the East Coast and a little before dinnertime out West, when this bombshell hit Twitter timelines nationwide:

Within 90 minutes, the rumored deal came to pass—only it involved Josh Donaldson, not Samardzija. Which begs the question, what’s up with Jeff Samardzija?

According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the right-hander is available if a club comes calling with “the right deal.” The A’s aren’t holding a fire sale—signing Billy Butler to a three-year pact wouldn’t make sense if that were the plan—so they’re likely to hold out for at least some major-league talent while simultaneously looking to restock the prospect cupboard general manager Billy Beane virtually emptied last summer.

The logical suitors for Samardzija are pitching-starved teams with surplus position players, ideally in the middle infield—where the A’s current starters are Eric Sogard and Nick Punto—but generally at any position that would bolster Oakland’s lineup.

Shortstop is of particular concern, because Beane told reporters in the wake of the Donaldson trade that the free agent market is devoid of players worthy of his attention:

That might favor the Red Sox and White Sox, because both teams seemingly have spare infielders. Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun Times confirmed the White Sox’ interest the morning after the Donaldson trade, noting that Alexei Ramirez, whose name surfaced on the hot stove earlier this offseason, might tempt Beane given Oakland’s hole at short.

Equally intriguing was this late-Friday-night nugget from John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group:

The A’s have already added one right-handed hitter in Butler, but the Donaldson-Lawrie swap had no effect on the handedness of a lineup that skewed left in 2014 despite manager Bob Melvin’s best platooning efforts. Landing Upton or Gattis could be the precursor to a trade exporting one of Beane’s extra lefty bats, a list that grew with the acquisition of Ike Davis from the Pirates last week. One of Davis, John Jaso, Brandon Moss, or Stephen Vogt very likely won’t be with the A’s on Opening Day.

There’s been no word yet on where any of them might be headed, but a virtually endless string of rumors and suggestions on Samardzija. With 10 teams said to be in the running, this one probably won’t die until a deal is struck.

Indians bow out of Chase Headley bidding
The Indians stayed the two-night minimum in the Headley Hotel, but their visit didn't last much longer. Just days after’s Anthony Castrovince reported their interest, Paul Hoynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group wrote that they’ve checked out.

Hoynes gave two reasons for the decision: First, Cleveland could move forward with Lonnie Chisenhall at the hot corner—and perhaps find a cheap complementary piece instead of an expensive one with which to displace him—and second, Headley is out of GM Chris Antonetti’s price range. We don’t know exactly what the 30-year-old is seeking in years and dollars, but the cost might have increased when the Red Sox cornered the shallow third base free-agent market.

Mark Feinsand, who covers the Yankees for the New York Daily News, heard about a week ago that the Yankees “won’t get into [a] bidding war” for Headley, whom they acquired from the Padres before his value shot up with a strong second half. New York could move on from Headley by installing Martin Prado as its full-time third baseman and exploring its options at second.

Two sources told Feinsand that it’ll take $60 million over four years to snag Headley in this market, beyond the Yankees’ three-year comfort zone. Which if any of the third-base-needy teams—a lot that includes another high-payroll club in the now-Panda-less Giants—decide to up the ante with a fourth year remains to be seen. What we know at this point, is that it won’t be the Tribe.

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Daniel, you mentioned Prado as being the everyday third baseman if Headley leaves. What are your thoughts on where ARod will play and how many games do you think he will play next year?