Rumors heat up on Samardzija-to-White Sox

CHICAGO -- In need of a right-handed starter with a proven track record, the Chicago White Sox appear to have strong interest in making a trade to add Jeff Samardzija into the fold.

Multiple reports say that the White Sox have targeted the Oakland Athletics pitcher to potentially join a rotation heavy on left-handers with Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and John Danks. A report from the Bay Area News Group also suggested that the Atlanta Braves could be in talks to acquire Samardzija.

FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal did say, via Twitter, on Friday that Samardzija was not the subject of an upcoming trade, but that swap ended up being Josh Donaldson's move to the Toronto Blue Jays.

There are plenty of indications now to suggest the A’s are willing to listen to offers on Samardzija, whom they acquired in a trade from the Chicago Cubs at the midway point of the 2014 season.

The A’s could be looking at middle-infield pieces in return, which makes shortstop Alexei Ramirez a potential target. But the track record of A’s general manager Billy Beane is to acquire players on the upward arc of their careers, and the 33-year-old Ramirez might not qualify under those standards, although Oakland did acquire Jon Lester for Yoenis Cespedes this past season.

The White Sox are loaded with players ready to break through at second base, including Marcus Semien, Carlos Sanchez and Micah Johnson. But one of those players alone would not be enough to complete a Samardzija deal.

White Sox players like Quintana and Avisail Garcia are young and on the upward arc of their careers, but there is no indication the club would be willing to part with either.

Samardzija is headed toward his final year of arbitration eligibility in 2015 and is set to make somewhere between $9-10 million. He would head into his first year of free agency after the upcoming season unless his current club can reach a long-term deal before then.

The Valparaiso, Ind., native was a combined 7-13 this past season, but delivered a 2.99 ERA over 219 2/3 innings with the Cubs and A’s. He went 5-6 with a 3.14 ERA in 111 2/3 innings after he was traded to the American League and had a whopping 8.25 strikeout-to-walk ratio in Oakland.