The good news? The corroborators and confirmers have reinforced the active nature of the discussions, even if they're not so willing to put a timetable on it.
The White Sox beat brigade didn't douse the rumors when it entered the fray.
- Daryl Van Schouwen called the talks "serious."
- Dan Hayes says Jerry Reinsdorf's desire to win is palpable.
- Scott Merkin (with Oakland MLB.com counterpart Jane Lee) said Samardzija's contract situation isn't an obstacle.
The other half of the trade equation -- what/who would it cost the Sox? -- remains fuzzy at best. Doug Padilla led with Alexei Ramirez, but that seems like a step in the wrong direction for both teams, at least in terms of short-term goals.
So then you move on to the young, unproven infielders, with Jon Heyman throwing Tim Anderson's name out there. The sliding scale doesn't quite check out with Anderson, who is the White Sox's consensus No. 2 prospect.
He makes sense on Oakland's side, as they sent a young, highly touted shortstop prospect (Addison Russell) in a package to the Cubs in exchange for Samardzija and Jason Hammel, and Anderson would fill that gap in their farm system. But Samardzija depreciated further once Billy Beane drove him off the lot, and it doesn't quite feel like one year of Shark -- by himself -- should be worth Anderson. Anderson may not be in Russell's class, but has his own kind of star potential.
(While there's a possibility the Sox could retain Samardzija beyond 2015, Peter Gammons has been told that Samardzija is intent on exploring free agency, and that seems to jibe with his history of previous extension discussions.)
Buster Olney took it down a notch, and this seems more proportional for a package deal:
A White Sox player that Oakland has evaluated is middle infielder Marcus Semien: http://t.co/LOjXLRyMPR 24 years old, Cal product.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 29, 2014
Semien isn't in Anderson's class as a prospect, but I've always been bullish on his abilities. I have more confidence in him sticking (and thriving) at second base than I do with Carlos Sanchez and Micah Johnson -- but more because I like Semien's game than a knock on the others. Semien's reputation may not matter anyway, because as Beane showed most recently with the Josh Donaldson trade, he often veers from consensus opinions when it comes to picking from other organization's farm systems.
There is a sensible match between the clubs somehow. The biggest impediment could be time ...
: Billy Beane will wait until Scherzer and Lester are off the market in order too max out on a trade of Samardzija .— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) November 29, 2014
... because if Rick Hahn wants to be aggressive, it may not benefit him to hover around a situation that's on standby.