Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
If LeBron James signs with the Chicago Bulls, he can probably sublet Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija's condo while he searches for something bigger.
The place is going to be empty at some point in July, because Samardzija is as good as gone from Chicago.
The Cubs have served as an armory of sorts for American League teams in the market for pennant race reinforcements the past two years and likely will do the same with Samardzija, who has gone 2-6 with a 2.53 ERA, a 1.19 WHIP and 97 Ks in 103 innings this season.
Fantasy owners too have to decide whether now is the time to trade him.
The three starters the Cubs traded to AL teams over the past two years all performed significantly worse after the trade.
Ryan Dempster, 2012 - With Cubs: 2.25 ERA, 1.04 WHIP; with Texas Rangers: 5.09 ERA, 1.43 WHIP
Matt Garza, 2013 - With Cubs: 3.17 ERA, 1.14 WHIP; with Rangers: 4.38 ERA, 1.32 WHIP
Scott Feldman, 2013 - With Cubs: 3.46 ERA, 1.14 WHIP; with Baltimore Orioles: 4.27 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
If the past is any indication then the answer is yes, trade him.
However, the 29-year-old's stuff makes him better equipped to handle the AL than Dempster, Garza and Feldman were.
Samardzija throws four different fastballs -- a four-seamer at 94.4 mph, a two-seamer at 94, a cutter at 92 and a splitter at 85.4 -- plus a slider at 85 mph. He's thrown all five pitches at least 11.4 percent of the time this season, according to PitchF/X data on Fangraphs.com.
His two-seamer has been worth 7.7 runs above average, fourth best among qualified starters, and his slider has been worth 4.9, 12th best.
Increased usage of his two-seamer has helped him post a career-high 52.4 percent ground-ball rate and a career-low 0.44 HR/9.
His stuff should work just fine in the AL.
Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez and Dan Haren all went from the NL to AL in midseason trades from 2010-12 and each had a better ERA after the deal. Samardzija is closer to the caliber of those three than he is to Dempster, Garza and Feldman.
The average AL ERA this season is 3.96, compared to 3.66 in the NL. Even if Samardzija's ERA is 0.30 runs higher after the trade, he'll still be throwing up a 2.83 ERA. If it's 0.50 runs higher, he'll still have a 3.03. Even with an ERA that's one run higher he'll still be pitching to a 3.53 mark, and that's likely the worst case scenario.
Plus, he should win more games on a contender than he will on the lowly Cubs, who made Samardzija the first pitcher (from 1914-2014) to win zero games in his first 10 starts of the season despite holding an ERA under 2.00. That will offset any increase in ERA.
While the Cubs may be shopping Samardzija, there's no reason for fantasy owners to follow them. His fantasy value should remain static.