I've been told today by a source that the Cubs are scouting the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays systems.
It's an interesting development. Both teams have been rebuilding for several years and both teams have decided to go for it this season by making "win now" type deals. The Royals traded their top prospect Wil Meyers in a package for top starter James Shields and also signed Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie. So far it has worked out but it appears the Royals have little behind them right now.
The Royals are in contention and it makes sense that they would be buyers at this point. They are leading the division at this writing by 1/2 game over the Detroit Tigers.
The Blue Jays, on the other hand, haven't done as well with their big moves this offseason. They are sputtering along at 10-18. Their motivation might be to make a move before this season gets away from them. The Jays knew that their core was beginning to age and had to make their move, but rather than sell again perhaps they'll try and right the ship quickly. Like the Royals, I expect the Jays to pursue pitching, especially with the loss of Josh Johnson recently.
The Cubs will soon have a surplus of starting pitchers. Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood are in their prime and are cost controlled starters who are probably going to be part of the Cubs rotation the next few years. Edwin Jackson is struggling but just signed a 4 year contract. I'm guessing he's not going anywhere at this time.
But Carlos Villanueva and Scott Feldman are both pitching well and one of them may undeservedly be the odd man out when Matt Garza returns. Then again, it could be Garza himself that is the bait. Both teams have expressed interest in the hard throwing RHP in the past.
As for what the Cubs can get in return, both teams had strong farm systems that have been depleted recently by big trades. There is plenty of depth in both systems, however, so it shouldn't be hard for the Cubs to find a very good prospect or two.
The Royals have two front line pitching prospects in Kyle Zimmer and Yordano Ventura. They also have an interesting 3B prospect in Cheslor Cuthbert. What may also be very appealing is that the Royals have a competitive balance pick they could trade. The pick is #34. Two reasons why this might make sense is that 1) Theo has lamented the fact that the new CBA makes it difficult for the Cubs to rebuild with the draft. This would give them an extra pick and more pool money without dipping too much into the Royals recently depleted farm, and 2) The Cubs are said to be very excited about the players that should be available with their 2nd round pick. Getting this pick would assure them of getting two of those players -- and perhaps a better shot at a player that may be gone by the time their #41 pick comes around.
The Royals may also be interested in David DeJesus, as speculated in March by Rany Jazayerli on his Rany on the Royals blog. With Ryan Sweeney and Bryan Bogusevic tearing up AAA right now, the Cubs would have an MLB ready replacement ready to take over.
Despite their big trades, the Jays are still stocked with high ceiling prospects such as Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, and LHPs Daniel Norris and Matt Smoral. The source also mentioned that the Cubs have been monitoring the rehabbing Kyle Drabek.
As always, I'll let you all speculate away on specific prospect packages. Have at it!
Filed under: Rumors/Speculation