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.