Cubs Could Help Alex Anthopoulos with Blue Jays Shopping List

The Blue Jays are looking to trade for a starting pitcher and Toronto has scouted both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. The Cubs have Hammel and Samardzija pitching back-to-back in the rotation, and many feel, for now, as a way to make it easier for interested teams to scout both starters.

According to a report from Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, Alex Anthopoulos has a shopping list and the Blue Jays GM is looking for a starting pitcher, an infielder (either second or third baseman) and a reliever. The same holes Anthopoulos said he was looking to fill a month ago when he did not deny his interest in Jeff Samardzija.

Jeff Samardzija is high, and has been high, on Anthopoulos’ list. Toronto likes his makeup and Anthopoulos feels the Jays need a hard thrower in their rotation if they are able to make it into the post-season.

Bob Elliott downplayed the rumor the Cubs asked for a package of RHP Aaron Sanchez, LHP Daniel Norris and OF Dalton Pompey for Samardzija. According to Elliott, the Cubs “are looking strictly for pitching prospects in return” for Samardzija. The Cubs are thought to be looking for four prospects in return for Samardzija, with two top pitching prospects headlining the deal.

According to Elliott’s report, the Blue Jays have sent Perry Minisian, Chuck LaMar, Russ Boye, Jim Beattie, Ed Lynch and Jim Skaalen, among other scouts, to watch Jeff Samardzija.

Alex Anthopoulos was hoping to add either a second baseman or a third baseman last month but with Brett Lawrie out three to six weeks with a broken right index finger that was suffered when Johnny Cueto hit him, Bob Elliott mentioned Chase Utley and Martin Prado as possible options to fill the Jays need in the infield. But he doesn’t think Utley would waive his no-trade clause to play in the turf in Toronto. The Cubs could also use a player like Luis Valbuena to add to a deal for either Jeff Samardzija or Jason Hammel to upgrade a package of prospects back from Toronto. Darwin Barney could also be a fit, but the Jays might not be able to hide his defencies at the plate now like they could a month ago.

Last month Anthopoulos said he was looking to add a lefty reliever, and the Cubs have two lefties in the pen in James Russell and Wesley Wright that could be used in a Jeff Samardzija or Jason Hammel deal to increase the return or in a separate trade. Russell and Wright are under club control for one more season beyond this year, and Alex Anthopoulos has said he would prefer to acquire controllable pitching in trades but the cost to do so has been more than he’s wanted to pay, at least to this point.

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  • gary3411

    Hammel, Valbuena, and Russell for Norris, Pompey and Cardona. That would be sweet.

    • gary3411

      Then re-sign Hammel next year and laugh at Blue Jays.

  • gary3411

    Tyler Skulina is someone worth getting excited for. I really need to get to a few Kane County games before these pitchers and Schwarber get promoted.

  • Denver Mike

    I would do Samardzija, Valbuena, and Russell for just Sanchez and Pompey alone. All three of the guys that we would be giving up have peaked, and are not a part of the future. The two guys we get back are high upside, Sanchez is knocking on the ML door, and both fill areas of great need.

    • Jeffrey Rogers

      I think Valbuena is the type of guy every good team needs…ON THE BENCH, not necessarily starting 120 games per year.

      Now, granted, those type of guys are available every year, if you can identify them, but he does have value and it would not be a disaster if he were a Cub for a few more years.

      • Denver Mike

        Certainly not a disaster, but likely a bench guy as you mention. The thing is I would probably be ok if we traded our entire bench + Samardzija (I no longer refer to him as Shark as he is far from it) for Sanchez and Pompey. I just love what both of them bring to the table, and think both would slot in as top 10, if not top 5 prospects in our system.

        • Vivid_Reality

          No way Pompey slots over Soler, Almora, Alcantara, Schwarber, Edwards, and Johnson. Maybe the pitchers are the only ones you could argue but that is only because they have been hurt. Sanchez is the only one with a shot of top 5 and even then its borderline.

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

            Sanchez would probably go in our top 3. Right behind Bryant and Baez. Maybe even ahead of Baez. He’s a top 10 pitching prospect in all of baseball.

          • Vivid_Reality

            Baseball America, Fangraphs, and MLB.com all have either Almora or Edwards ahead of Sanchez. With his struggles this year I think its reasonable that he slides to 5 in our system. Bryant and Baez are no doubt ahead and Schwarber could hit his way to #3 in our system. That leaves a debate between Soler, Alcantara, Edwards, and Johnson. Its very possible Alcantara slots ahead. Jason Parks already said he’s really high on Alcantara and would slot him in the top 30 in baseball. If Soler could stay healthy I think he easily slots ahead also. Sanchez for me is in the 4-6 range in our system.

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

            Blows my mind that the debate is even there to be had! My goodness out system has come such a long way so fast. A few draft choices, some trades, a international signing or two. We’ve amassed an impressive compilation of talent.

          • Vivid_Reality

            We can agree on that. It is pretty awesome. The future looks bright and I can’t wait!

          • Denver Mike

            Sanchez is ranked ahead of every Cubs prospect except Baez and Bryant pre-2014, and as exciting as Schwarber is I’m not putting him ahead of any of those three, so let’s say…

            1. Bryant
            2. Baez
            3. Sanchez

            …for starters. Pompey, sure, top 5 is a bit of a stretch but this kid only one year older than Almora, plays in the same league, and his offensive numbers are better than Almora’s in almost every category. Almora is a slightly better defender stats wise, so call them a draw for the sake of the argument. I think BA has Almora as the #4 prospect in the Cubs system, so how far of a stretch is it really?

            My original opinion still stands: Samardzija, Valbuena, Russell (and any/all other bench players) for Sanchez and Pompey every day of the week.

          • Vivid_Reality

            Based solely on this year? Sure, Almora vs Pompey could be entertained but there are a lot of other factors than that. This is Pompey’s first real large sample size of success. His numbers in A ball last year leave a lot to be desired. Good speed and a solid walk rate are about the only positives you can pull from it. Pompey could have turned a corner but how long it took him to get to high A raises some flags for me. It took him four years to get there. Adversely it only took Almora two years to get to A ball. It seems like some combination of injuries and poor performance led to Pompey taking so long. Again, Pompey could have turned a corner but we won’t really know until he gets promoted. He is an interesting piece for sure but not someone I would be comfortable with being the second major piece in a Samardzija trade, especially if we are throwing in Russell and Valbuena. They are the greatest players but they still have value.

          • Denver Mike

            Almora is the better long-term prospect, but most experts will tell you that is because he is ML ready defensively, and offensively he is pretty average. I like that Pompey is starting to show some power, and has very good speed. I’m not even saying Pompey would deserve to be ranked ahead of him in our system, but he isn’t a bad piece.

            I think the biggest divide in our opinions is you feel Samardzija has more value than I do. I see him as a #3 that never lives up to his #2 potential, and I think other FO do as well. That doesn’t mean some GM feeling the pressure to win won’t overpay, but I would still be perfectly happy with a high-upside TOR arm and “Almora-lite” back as the return, I’m not greedy :)

    • BigJonLilJon

      Ill pass on that deal. Its giving to much. I don’t love Valbuena but he could be kept as a super utility player. The Cubs are looking for 3-4 players for just Shark. Why do a 3 for 3 deal??? I think we can do better

      • Denver Mike

        My proposal would be a 3 for 2 deal, but as I’ve mentioned before I don’t think Samardzija is worth what the FO is asking for. I see him as a potential #2 that never reaches that potential, and is a #3 at best. If we hold out for 3-4 prospects, I don’t think they aren’t going to be of the quality everyone is expecting, so I’d rather get 2 legit prospects rather than 4 “upside” guys with a lot to prove.

        I also regularly admit I can’t stand Samardzija though, so my opinion is rife with bias. :)

      • Denver Mike

        Also, I don’t mind Valbuena either, but super-utility guys are not anything to hold on to. He is an average player at best, who does a few things above average, but Mark DeRosa he is not.

        I hope other GMs are willing to give up a package more of the ilk of what you are thinking though. Heck, if I’d be happy with Sanchez/Pompey alone, I’d be ecstatic if we got more (and I never had to talk about Samardzija again)!

  • Denver Mike

    I saw an article in a tweet today that I didn’t even bother reading because the headline was something to the effect of “Would the Mariners part with Taijuan Walker for Samardzija?” I would love to believe that we can get that kind of return, but some of these predictions are getting a little out of hand. We would be lucky to get James Paxton from Seattle, let alone Walker.

  • Jeffrey Rogers

    Don’t forget, The Cubs cannot sign an international FA for more than $250,000 this year, yet they have appx $3.5M in IFA pool money. They could add $1-$1.5M in pool money as another deal sweetener. There are some good players in this years crop. Yankees are poised to sign the #1 guy, a SS from the DR I believe. It would be good for the Jays GM if he could suddenly beat the Yanks offer and sign that guy.

    • Vivid_Reality

      This is what made me love their IFA strategy so much last year. Not only do you infuse the lower minors with excess talent, you can then trade next years slot money as sweeteners like you said or even straight up for a prospect like we did with Torreyes. Even then there is 700k that can’t be traded so we can still sign a couple guys with upside. Plenty of good players have come from obscurity with small bonuses. Gregory Polanco is probably the best example of that right now.

  • paCubsFan23

    I would really like the package of Sanchez, Norris, and Pompey. I think the two pitchers have to be a part of the deal with Pompey added because we include Valbuena and Russell/Wright. Need the 2 pitchers back to help guarantee we get 1 mlb pitcher. My two cents.

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