The MLB regular season doesn't start for another month, and Giants starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija already is dealing with trade rumors.
New York Yankees All-Star pitcher Luis Severino's recent injury history went from bad to the worst-case scenario Tuesday when general manager Brian Cashman announced Severino will undergo Tommy John surgery. After two straight seasons of playing in the Midsummer Classic, Severino only pitched a combined 20 innings between the regular season and playoffs last year.
Now, the Bronx Bombers will be without their ace for the entire 2020 season. Could the Yankees and Giants be trade partners? Soon after Severino's upcoming surgery was announced, many people took to Twitter suggesting San Francisco's best two starters, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, could be shipped to the Big Apple.
Samardzija laughed off the idea Wednesday, with a comedic jab at Derek Jeter and the Yankees.
Jeff Samardzija is amused that his name is already coming up in Yankees trade rumors. “Oh yeah. Just give me No.2 and don’t make me cut my hair.”— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) February 26, 2020
Samardzija deserves a slow clap for his response, however, it would make plenty of sense for the Yankees to explore a trade with the Giants for the veteran right-hander. New York has its ace in Gerrit Cole and two veterans behind him in Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ. But with James Paxton out multiple months after back surgery and Domingo German on the restricted list, the Yankees are left with young question marks.
Manager Aaron Boone now might have to lean on Jordan Montgomery and Jonathan Loaisiga at the end of the Yankees' rotation. Clarke Schmidt, and even 20-year-old Deivi Garcia, could become options.
The injury bug took a big bite out of the Yanks last season and already has done so this spring. A proven veteran like Samardzija might be a must for a team with World Series aspirations. But what could they offer the Giants in return?
Samardzija, 35, will be a free agent after this season. His 3.52 ERA last season was his best since his All-Star campaign in 2014. Baseball America ranks the Yankees' farm system as the 17th best in the game. Garcia and young outfielder Jasson Dominguez are off the table in a trade with the Giants, but outfielder Estevan Florial, along with pitchers Luis Gil, Clarke Schmidt and Albert Abreu all would be intriguing options.
Perhaps the Giants would entertain a trade for a young, major league-ready outfielder. Clint Frazier still is only 25 years old but he once again seems to be without a job in New York. In just 69 games last season, Frazier hit 12 homers, 14 doubles and drove in 38 runs for the Yankees.
Frazier is far from a sure thing in the outfield, but his age and powerful right-handed bat align with what the Giants want right now. While a Samardzija-Frazier swap hasn't been discussed publicly, it could make sense for both sides.
Samardzija rightfully can laugh off any trade rumors right now in late February. At the same time, Cashman and the rest of the Yankees' front office should have their eyes on the Shark.