The Blue Jays have had scouts following Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel for weeks and at least one of the Jays talent evaluators will be making the trip from Chicago to Boston to watch the Cubs play the Red Sox for three days.
According to a report from the Toronto Sun, Ted Lekas was at Wrigley Field Saturday night to watch Jeff Samardzija. Lekas is at least the tenth different Blue Jays scout to watch Samardzija pitch since last September. But the Jays have eyes on more than Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
Bob Elliott reported the Blue Jays have been “checking on Samardzija and other Cubs moving … or soon-to-be moved … parts like right-hander Jason Hammel, ex-Jay Carlos Villanueva and second baseman Darwin Barney.”
The Blue Jays are looking for a second baseman that can field the position. According to reports from Jon Heyman, a second baseman like the Mets’ Daniel Murphy or the Brewers’ Rickie Weeks would not fit what the Jays are looking for at second base. Alex Anthopoulos would like to add a player that can field the position. Anthopoulos could also be looking at the Padres Chase Headley as an option for third base which would move Brett Lawrie to second.
If the Jays offense is clicking on all cylinders, Darwin Barney’s defencies at the plate could be hidden in a strong lineup, plus he could be used as a defensive replacement late in the game and would provide the Jays with a backup for Jose Reyes at shortstop. Barney is 7-for-32 over his last 10 games with three doubles.
Carlos Villanueva is a free agent at the end of the year and is making $5 million this season. Plus, the Jays know Carlos Villanueva. Villanueva has quietly put together a good month while serving as the Cubs’ longman out of the pen. Villanueva is 2-0 in his last eight starts with a 1.38 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. In 13 innings, he’s allowed two runs on seven hits with seven walks and 15 strikeouts. As a reliever this season, Villanueva is 2-2 in 16 games with a 3.28 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP.
The Blue Jays are also interested in David Price, but it is unclear if the Rays and Jays would be able to work out a trade or not. The Blue Jays, Yankees, Red Sox, Giants, Cardinals, Royals, Angels and Braves have all been scouting Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel and David Price the past few weeks according to Bob Elliott.
The cost to acquire Jeff Samardzija remains high and no fewer than scouts from five different teams were on hand Saturday night to watch him pitch according to a report from ESPN Chicago. After downplaying the Cubs request for RHP Aaron Sanchez, LHP Daniel Norris and OF Dalton Pompey last week, Elliott reported Saturday night the final say on meeting the Cubs asking price for Samardzija of Sanchez, Norris and Pompey “will be made at 1 Blue Jays Way, high atop the ivory tower.”