You are reminded that, this time of year, the rumor mill can become something of a game of ping pong: one report elicits responses from insiders (usually pushing back against the report), which elicits further reports (and further responses).
Yesterday, Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi reported that the Cubs’ and Blue Jays’ hypothetical discussions about a Jeff Samardzija trade could be centering around a package including top pitching prospects Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris, and rising outfield prospect Dalton Pompey. If the Blue Jays would offer up those three, the Cubs would pull the trigger, Morosi suggested.
That’s not going to happen, however, according to a report from Jon Heyman today. Industry sources (which is typically a description that distinguishes those sources from front office members) say the proposal has never actually been made, and, if it were, there is “zero chance” the Blue Jays would accept.
I can certainly understand, if that’s the Blue Jays’ perspective. With Marcus Stroman in the bigs, you’re talking about the Blue Jays’ two top pitching prospects – both likely in the top 50 overall – and a fast-rising outfield prospect who may soon find himself in the top 100 overall.
But, as I said yesterday, I can understand the Cubs holding the line at this kind of aggressive offer, especially since we’re still in June. Too much can happen to the market in July, and the Cubs wouldn’t be doing themselves any favors by dealing Samardzija before all buyers are in (and feeling the pressure of the deadline), unless they were going to get a fantastic return. Ultimately, maybe the Cubs don’t get that much. But now is not the time to take less.
I doubt this is the end of these Samardzija/Blue Jays discussions, however, which even Heyman concedes.
Further, Heyman says the Blue Jays, in addition to desiring a second base upgrade, would prefer to pick up a rental starter like Jason Hammel, rather than going deep on a more expensive piece like Samardzija. The rental market is still pretty cloudy (which also delays pretty much all trade talks), with guys like Justin Masterson, Francisco Liriano, Jorge De La Rosa, and Jake Peavy all potentially becoming available over the next month.
And, of course, you have to leave open the possibility that the Blue Jays are completely enamored with Samardzija, and need to create the appearance that they’ve got other, more preferable options.