Blue Jays GM Doesn’t Deny Interest in Jeff Samardzija

Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday the Blue Jays were no longer interested in trading for Jeff Samardzija. Rosenthal explained during the off-season the Cubs asked for RHP Drew Hutchinson in a deal for Samardzija, and either one of the top two pitching prospects in the Jays system, RHP Aaron Sanchez or RHP Marcus Stroman. The Jays “deemed that too high a price and they are unlikely to resume their pursuit of Samardzija.” Rosenthal said the Jays would “prefer a rental at a lower acquisition cost instead.”

Rosenthal further explained two lefties, Sean Nolin (Triple-A) and Daniel Norris (High-A) “are among the Jays prospects who could draw trade interest.” Daniel Norris has been mentioned as one of the many possible pitchers Alex Anthopoulos could use in a deal for Samardzija.

Nick Cafardo addressed the Blue Jays and Samardzija rumors in his Sunday column. Cafardo reported “Samardzija is being watched more than any pitcher by Major League scouts” and the Jays are one of those teams. A scout told Cafardo the Jays have not given up on acquiring Samardzija despite not being able to put together the right package for Samardzija in the past. Cafardo added the Jays “are still insistent on not giving up Drew Hutchinson.” Toronto is looking to add a starter and have “all hands on deck, including special advisor Fred McGriff” to find the right fit to help the Jays in the rotation.

Alex Anthopoulos joined Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette during the Front Office (MLB Network Radio/SiriusXM Radio) on Sunday morning. And while the Blue Jays’ GM could not comment on his interest in Samardzija, he did not shoot down the possibility and also said he is looking to find a mainstay at second or third base.

Jim Bowden asked Alex Anthopoulos when the last time was that he spoke with Jed Hoyer or Theo Epstein. Anthopoulos said he ran into Hoyer at the ACC Tournament

“I just saw Jed, at the, and I know where you are going this. I just saw Jed at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro,” Anthopoulos said. “I think I saw him Thursday of last week and his family is doing great, his kids are doing great. He’s seeing a lot of guys for the draft. Great draft talk … ”

Jim Bowden asked Anthopoulos if he was to participate in a Spelling B, how would he spell Samardzija?

“You know what, I’ve got a board, a depth chart here,” Anthopoulos answered. “I can probably cheat on this one.” Once he started spelling Samardzija’s last name, he stopped and tried to change the subject. Anthopoulos told Bowden he likes the column that he writes for ESPN.com.

“I think I’ve gotten better with revealing in interviews,” Anthopoulos explained. “I was a lot more close to the vest when I first started. I think I’ve learned to balance it a little bit. But I can say that we [Anthopoulos and Hoyer] were sitting there, actually it was a really long game, it was almost four hours. We talked about all kinds of stuff. And I believe we talked about players and what they were going to look to do, trades, and things like that. We talked about big league players, generally speaking, like any time you would when you talk to a GM. But I guess I would say this, as we sit here today we are not actively engaged in any trade talks with anybody. Part of that is, not that we are not unwilling, certainly if it was something that made sense we would look to do it.”

Anthopoulos discussed how hard it is to be in trade mode in late-May.

“I think the understanding seems to be,” Anthopoulos said. “Maybe after the draft, and we get through all that stuff, people will start to have dialogue, be a little more serious with who they might look to move, who they want to move, and then obviously you take your pro scouting departments and you dispatch them to the affiliates. You spend the second half of June, really the beginning of July and try to get your looks and go from there.”

“We would prefer to have someone with multiple years of control, but knowing the acquisition cost is that much greater, our focus right now is maybe we take a look at guys who are scheduled to be free agents at the end of the year. The acquisition cost shouldn’t be as great.”

Jim Duquette asked Anthopoulos if he thought the Jays might be a little more aggressive in June and add a player that could help them sooner than July.

Anthopoulos explained that when the team is playing good it buys a little time. “When I’m talking to other clubs and we are willing to do something now, because we are competitive, we’re in the hunt, we’re in the race. There is certainly more motivation to do that.” Obviously things may change quickly and teams that were thought to have a need for a player might not have the same need if they have a rough month. “On a team that might be selling, your suitors maybe smaller,” Anthopoulos explained.

“I’m more an aggressive mindset overall. I would rather try to do something early that will have more of an impact. There’s more games remaining. At the same time you would like to have as many options as you can to negotiate.”

When asked about untouchables in his minor league system, Anthopoulos said he does not believe in making a player untouchable. He does value certain players higher than others but he believes any player could be traded in the right deal.

“I hope we are in that position come July. We are contending. We are close. And we have to make a painful trade because we have a chance to make this team a lot better.”

When asked what positions he would like to upgrade and which positions he would like to fill, Anthopoulos said he would like to add a starter, either a mainstay at third base or second base and a left handed reliever. The Jays would like to have three lefties in the bullpen.

Bruce Levine addressed Rosenthal’s report during Hit and Run (670 The Score) on Sunday morning. Levine said the Cubs are looking for specific players for Samardzija, and to a certain extent what Rosenthal reported is accurate. The Cubs and Jays have not discussed the right package of players it would take to trade Samardzija to Toronto.

According to Levine, Kansas City and Baltimore are interested in Samardzija and Kansas City recently made a run at Samardzija using Mike Moustakas as one of the players in the package suggested by Dayton Moore.

Stay Tuned.

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  • bpot92

    Can someone please tell me why we would have any interest in Moustakas? He is 25 with a career OBP of .290 and just got demoted. His defense has been rated as poor according to advanced metrics he is either replacement on defense or cost his team runs. In addition to his struggles, we have Olt who is doing exactly what he could do, Bryant at 3b for the time being, Baez who could move there, Villanueva and more. At this point Valbuena has outperformed him. Unless he was a throw in I don’t see where Dayton Moore thought that he could get Samardzija.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I should have explained better, the way Levine reported it was the Royals tried to have Moustakas as part of a package. The Cubs are not interested in him.

      • bpot92

        Thanks for the explanation. In your opinion do the Royals have enough for Jeff?

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          There are some interesting position players, the pitching prospects do not appear to be what the front office is looking for. The Jays match up the best, at least in terms of what the Cubs could/should receive in return.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      It’s just him talking. I doubt we would have any interest. Pitching, pitching and maybe a catcher. But eventually if they are in the race Hurchinson or Sanchez would be in the deal. He will give it up too watch and see. If it’s the Jays it will include one of those two. If it’s someone else it will include a similar player. Deadline deals get crazy. Look at the Garza deal. It looks horrible for the Rangers less than a year later. The Cubs will get what they are asking for. Just have to be patient and let the suitors mount up. It’s rare an ace, under team control beyon this season, on an affordable contract becomes available. We will get a king’s ransom for Shark, by August at the latest. Mark it down.

      • bpot92

        I cant wait to see the Garza trade 5 years down the line. If Edwards stays healthy and reaches his potential it is already a win. I can see grim being a decent RHP out of the pen and Ramirez looks like a steal in either the pen or a backend of the rotation type of guy with his stuff. Olt could be a decent low average high power guy with decent OBP. I think the Samardzija trade could be riskier if we just ask for two pitchers like Stroman and Sanchez as pitching prospects are always risky but I agree, it could be insane what we get.

        One thing to remember though is although we may or may not like the final package if we do trade jeff, we arent the ones scouting. Even if we don’t get one of : Sanchez, Stroman, Hutchinson( although I think we could get at least one) the Jays have plenty of other good pitching prospects. Same goes for other teams. If we don’t get their top prospect we often think it was a bad deal but look at the original Garza deal: Archer I believe was ranked below Mcnutt and and if the Cubs could do it over it would be Mcnutt in that deal. Sometimes the top prospect is passed by another high upside player due to injuries or coaching.

        • cubtex

          What have you seen that leads you to believe Mike Olt could be a decent OBP guy? Look at his splits and OBP against righties. Another 3 K’s against a RHP yesterday.

          • bpot92

            Its not like he doesnt take his walks: His OBP is 100 points higher than his batting average and 67 points higher vs Righties. If he could get his batting average up to .250 , with his power that would be a decent on base. Looking at some first/third baseman in the last 10 or so years and their career averages:

            Ryan Howard: .259/.357/.488
            Adrian Beltre: .282/.334/.478
            ( averaged .270/.325/.453 his first 12 seasons)
            Edwin Encarnacion: .264/.347/.483
            Mark Reynolds : .232/.327/.464
            Alex Gordon: .269/.344/.433
            Joe Crede: .254/.304/.444
            Troy Glaus: .254/.358/.489
            Mark DeRosa: .268/.340/.412

            If Olt could get his BA to .250 while maintaining his OBP levels and slugging it would put him at .250/.327/.415 which would be goo enough to have a decent career as a big league regular. The sox won with Joe Crede as their 3b, DeRosa is more flexible but was valuable and had less power, Reynolds has been in the league for a while and guys like Beltre, Gordon and Encarnacion struggled their first few years before having it click.Olt is a rookie showing good power and adjusting to major league pitching. In my opinion he is starting to take what he is given more as evidence by the Yankees series where he had 3 RBI but was 0-3. He doesnt have to be a superstar to be a productive 3b on a winning team.

          • GaryLeeT

            The Cubs don’t need sac fly hitters, they need the doubles off the wall guys. It makes the difference between a team winning, and losing those 1 run games, like yesterday’s.

          • bpot92

            I’ll take a sac fly over a strikeout though. I havent seen the last couple of games due to work but the beginning of the year it seemed like Olt was swinging out of his helmet going for the home run every swing. Knowing when to choke up and move the runner over is a very valuable lesson for a rookie and shows he is listening to coaching. Im not saying Olt is the answer for our everyday 3b job but Im saying he has potential and is showing improvement. Isnt that all we can ask for? Id rather have a young(ish) rookie making adjustments than a replacement level vet there everyday. At least there is room for improvement with Olt vs a guy like Valbuena you know what you get, although thats not a knock on Valbuena as he can be useful off the bench.

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