It didn’t take long for the Jeff Samardzija rumors to re-emerge, eh?
As the pitching market shakes out following the Masahiro Tanaka signing (wall punch), and as it absorbs the new information that attends A.J. Burnett’s apparent decision to keep playing and shop around, the Toronto Blue Jays are trying to figure out how best to add the pitching they clearly need.
Jon Heyman reports that the Blue Jays are in contact with both Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez, but also with the Cubs on Jeff Samardzija. Bruce Levine confirms Heyman’s report, as it relates to Samardzija, saying that the Blue Jays are still interested.
It’s no surprise that the Blue Jays are still interested in Samardzija, pending what happens with Santana and Jimenez (but, note, the Blue Jays could stand to add a couple starters, so signing one of the free agents doesn’t necessarily preclude a trade for Samardzija). But, even if the Cubs and Blue Jays are talking, there isn’t yet any reason to believe that the Cubs have come down from their initial trade demands, which were extremely high in December. At that time, the Cubs were reportedly asking the Blue Jays for both of their top pitching prospects – Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman – as well as a third prospect.
With the possibility that Samardzija could finally produce up to the level of his peripherals in the first half of 2014, and with two years of control remaining (and the teeny, tiny chance of an extension), there remains no need to trade Samardzija at this time. If the Blue Jays are truly still in contact with the Cubs about Samardzija, I expect they’re hearing that the price remains high.