Apropos of his report last night that the Toronto Blue Jays’ Director of Pro Scouting was in attendance at Wrigley Field to watch Jeff Samardzija, Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi writes about the middle school dance that is the Cubs/Blue Jays Samardzija situation. Who blinks first? Who should bridge the gap? Morosi doesn’t actually answer these questions, but it’s an interesting read nonetheless.
Embedded within, there is an extremely interesting statement:
Furthermore, the Cubs have evaluated the Jays’ farm system, and there are strong indications they would trade Samardzija to Toronto if the Jays offered Triple-A right-hander Aaron Sanchez, Double-A left-hander Daniel Norris, and Class-A center fielder Dalton Pompey.
That is incredibly specific, and suggestive. Morosi is stopping just short of saying “this is what the Cubs have asked for,” but it sure sounds like he’s winking at that, doesn’t it? In other words, I doubt Morosi is just plucking prospect names out of thin air on this one.
We’ve heard about the Cubs’ interest in Sanchez, one of the Blue Jays’ top two pitching prospects, for some time now. Further, we’ve heard about the Cubs sending scouts to watch Norris, who’s been dominating at High-A, and was just recently promoted to AA. Sanchez was himself just recently promoted to AAA, despite mixed results at AA to start the year. Sanchez has always been a scouting darling – apparently, when you watch him, it’s easy to see the top-of-the-rotation future – but he’s struggled, as so many top arms do, with command. The Blue Jays’ other top pitching prospect, Marcus Stroman, is already having success in the bigs, and seems unlikely to be moved at this point.
Pompey is a new name in these rumors, but it’s easy to see why the Cubs might be interested in the 21-year-old center fielder. The switch hitter is considered elite defensively, and shows fantastic plate discipline (148 career BB, 242 K). He’s got good speed, and is currently hitting .312/.392/.460 in the pitcher-friendly FSL.
My guess is that, based on how his season has gone, Pompey has emerged as one of the Blue Jays’ top positional prospects, and a clear top ten guy in the system. Excluding Stroman, Sanchez and Norris are probably the top two guys overall.
Morosi says the Blue Jays may be willing to deal one or two from that three, but are not “yet” willing to deal all three for Samardzija (or David Price or Cole Hamels).
The Blue Jays have a relatively stacked system, so, even if there was reticence to give up a guy like Pompey, it’s hard to see that being a dealbreaker, so long as the Cubs were receiving one or two elite arms at the top of the deal, and then intriguing secondary pieces (like Pompey, if not Pompey) at the back-end.
From where I sit, Sanchez/Norris/Pompey would be an excellent return on Samardzija, but is probably not so over-the-top that the Cubs would be unreasonable for holding the line there, especially if that’s the price they want to move Samardzija early, before the rest of the market develops.