Report: Blue Jays Scouting Barney and Villanueva along with Samardzija and Hammel

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.”

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  • Tony_H
    • Larry Schwimmer

      Tony I have a question re: Kyle Schwarber. He’s tearing up Single A. Is the season long enough where he might yet be promoted to Double AA this year? Any thoughts as to whether that would be possible? Or do you think that regardless of how well he’s hitting — that would be too big of a jump for him at this time? Thanks

      • Tony_H

        I think he moves up to Daytona soon and that if he keeps hitting at this level they keep moving him up. But realistically can’t imagine him playing in Boise, Kane County, Daytona, and Tennessee in a span of less than 3 months.

        • BigJonLilJon

          I agree…. I think he ends year at Daytona tearing that up then gets an invite to spring training, then sent to Tennessee to start next year. Similar to the Bryant model.

      • Tony_H

        Here’s an article you might like from yesterday in Cincinnatti near his hometown of Middletown, OH.

      • Tony_H
        • Larry Schwimmer

          Thank you for going to the trouble. I enjoyed the article. I hope that if he accounts himself well that the CUBS will consider him for Triple AAA sometime in 2015. Am I dreaming? Or can you see a scenario where that could happen?

          • Tony_H

            I think he will follow a similar path as Bryant and as long as he finishes this year in Daytona well (if not Tenn) he will be in AA to start next year in AAA the second half.

            I actually will be in Middletown, OH next week for a couple of days as my mother-in-law lives there and hope to get some inside scoop on him from the locals.

  • Tony_H

    Jose Abreu has exceeded my expectations.

    ” Earlier this week, Abreu hit his 23rd homer, becoming the first player in baseball history to hit 23 home runs in his first 65 games. (Mark McGwire and Wally Berger were able to muster the paltry total of only 22 homers in their first 65 games). Further, Abreu is on pace to break McGwire’s rookie home run record (49, set in 1987). ”

    Now I did draft him in one fantasy baseball league, so it’s not like I expected him to be a bust. But I don’t think anyone could have projected his numbers to this level. I still do expect pitchers to catch up to him and start to exploit him and that is when we will see if he can make adjustments and keep up this production.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/49069/rookie-jose-abreu-on-record-setting-pace

  • mutantbeast

    Spellcheck is going into his June swoon, just in time to screw up his trade value. Thanks for nothing, Jeff.

    • Richard Hood

      If he is just starting his June swoon during his last start in June then the value is fine. He had an ERA of .75 coming into last nights start in his last 14 days. Not bad at all.

      • MarkleMcD

        His ERA in June is 5.45.

        • Richard Hood

          I chose 14 days because it was his last 2 starts and took out the start in Milwaukee. I still think there was some questionable happenings in that stadium the whole time the Cubs (and everyone else) played there.

          • MarkleMcD

            So you’re saying that he’s not responsible for his pitching? He’s been awful this month. Awful. 5.45 is very very bad. If he wants to get paid, he needs to be consistently good. He is not.

          • Tony_H

            I think that he was saying that he hasn”t been awful every start this month

  • Ray Koenig

    Imagine the return if the Blue Jays traded for all 4 of those players.

    • BigJonLilJon

      Just give them Shark and Barney for those 3 named prospects and a low level SP as the 4th. Would be a decent haul.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    I don’t know if you saw this but a great interview of Jason McLeod by fan graphs on scouting and player development http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/jason-mcleod-on-scouting-and-player-development/

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    “Hey Blue Jays…there are a lot of great talents on the Cubs that could really help your club out.

    Take Darwin Barney…please.”

    -Henny Youngman (just feels like he must have been a Cubs fan)

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