Cubs and Blue Jays Continue to Talk Samardzija

The Blue Jays continue their pursuit of Jeff Samardzija and according to a report from Jon Paul Morosi, the Cubs and Jays have discussed a deal that would send Jeff Samardzija to Toronto for RHP Aaron Sanchez, LHP Daniel Norris and CF Dalton Pompey.

Alex Anthopoulos has talked about the acquisition cost being too high for him to land a starting pitcher with multiple years of control left on his contract and according to Morosi’s report, Anthopoulos will not include Sanchez, Norris and Pompey in a deal for Samardzija or any other available starter, including David Price. Morosi reported Anthopoulos “may be willing to trade one or two players from that group, but not all three, at least not yet.”

The Blue Jays have scouted Samardzija “extensively this season” and the Cubs recently sent Tim Wilken to watch the Dunedin Blue Jays, which at the time both LHP Daniel Norris and CF Dalton Pompey were on Dunedin’s roster. Norris has since been promoted to Double-A New Hampshire.

The Blue Jays’ pro scouting director Perry Minasian was at Wrigley Field to watch Jeff Samardzija Monday night according to Morosi.

The Blue Jays were not the only team that sent scouts to watch Jeff Samardzija pitch Monday night. Bruce Levine reported “top talent scouts” from the Orioles, Red Sox and Nationals were in attendance and scouts from the Braves and Giants were reportedly at Wrigley as well.

The Blue Jays and Orioles appear to be the teams that could match-up best with the Cubs in a deal for Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs are thought to be looking for close to Major League ready pitching that project as top of the rotation arms. The Cubs have been connected to Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris for a while.

LHP Daniel Norris was very good in 13 starts with Dunedin this season and posted a 6-0 record in 12 starts with a 1.03 WHIP. In 66 1/3 innings, the 21-year old southpaw struck out 76 batters with 18 walks and 50 hits allowed. And not a single ball left the park. Norris did not fare as well in his Double-A debut and allowed four runs on four hits with one walk and nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

RHP Aaron Sanchez is considered the Jays’ top pitching prospect, especially with Marcus Stroman in the big leagues and pitching rather well. Sanchez was recently promoted from Double-A New Hampshire to Triple-A Buffalo. The soon-to-be 22-year old was 3-4 in 14 starts at the Double-A level with a 3.82 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. Sanchez struggles with his command and walked 40 batters in 66 innings with 57 strikeouts in Double-A. Sanchez has walked eight batters in two Triple-A starts with six strikeouts and 10 hits allowed in nine innings (6.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP).

Dalton Pompey is tearing up the Florida State League and is hitting .312/.392/.460/.852 in 67 games with 11 doubles, five triples and six home runs. Pompey has walked 34 times with 54 strikeouts in 303 plate appearances and has stolen 27 bases. The 21-year old switch hitter is also a Gold Glove outfielder with plus arm.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will not trade Jeff Samardzija, or Jason Hammel, until they receive the right package of players in return. The Cubs are aggressively scouting other teams’ farm systems and parent teams in order to maximize their two most valuable trade chips.

Other Cubs Rumors

According to ESPN.com, the Blue Jays, Pirates, Athletics, Orioles and Marlins could target Jason Hammel as a short-term solution to fill a hole in their rotation.

According to Jon Paul Morosi, the Angels are not in on Jeff Samardzija … but, Morosi did not mention if the Angels are still interested in Jason Hammel or not.

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