Cubs scouting Royals and Blue Jays farm system

Cubs scouting Royals and Blue Jays farm system

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

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    Awesome news! Thanks John!

    FYI, LSU and Florida are on ESPNU. Jonathan Crawford is going for Florida.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Thanks.

    Crawford may be available in the 2nd round now. Good arm, just depends on if teams think he can still be a starter.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I am almost positive he would be there at 34.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    That could be quite the coup if we could net him with that 34 pick(assuming Cubs see a starter). Not to mention the pitchers we get with 2 and 41. Could re-invigorate our system with pitching in one day.

  • If the Cubs traded both a SP and DDJ. I would think they would at least try to get the #34 pick as part of the trade. I also think the Royals would be interested in Barney.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    It does seem like the two teams are a good fit. If Garza is throwing well, then adding DeJesus and Barney could bring back a lot more than the #34 pick.

  • I love trade rumors! I'm ready for some early wheelin' and dealin'.

  • Ha! Glad I could provide an original one too. Deal with KC seems a lot more realistic than the stuff I've read on Price from Heyman or Headley from Wittenmeyer.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Exactly! I think Price would cost too much, Headley would be nice.

  • I'm really afraid of what Price would cost. Some of the speculation out there has the Cubs giving up a ton of talent.

    Headley is a good player. Would love to have him. And he'd be cheaper to get.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agree that Headley wouldn't cost as much in the way of talent as Price would. Plus, the Cubs' and Padres' FOs seem to have a good working relationship. Also, today San Diego said they were going to offer Headley an extension and he shot that down immediately repeating that he won't talk about an extension during the season.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'd be weary of giving up much for Headley either. He's been around since '07 and has only one great season under his belt, last year. He'd been pretty pedestrian up until that point(though petco might have had a say in that) and i'm not sure yet if the 2012 Headley is the real one.

    Even if he is, the hype surrounding him because of 2012(talks of him getting 80-100mil or bringing back a haul) probably means whoever gets him will probably be overpaying in both prospects and dollars and I don't want that to be us. Rather take my chances with one of Baez, Candelario, Villanueva, Vitters etc being the long term answer.

    Do not want Price at all for what he's going to cost.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I don't want Headley if he's going to be overpriced either. But I do think he's a good fit at a reasonable cost.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Definitely agree on him being a good fit reasonably. But we know it only takes one GM to overpay and there's about 5-10 GMs known for doing it.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I'm not sure the new Padres ownership group is that hot to move him. Gyorko seems fine at second -- why break up a good infield?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Isnt San Diego talking about a mega-bucks extension with Headley, since they seem to like Gyorko more as a 2b rather than a 3b?

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    Me too! Trade rumors get me excited.

  • need to shoot for Venture , Dont think we could get Zimmer without giving up a core piece . Be nice if the Royals ate a stupid pill and gave up both and that 34th pick for Garza lol .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Maybe Garza and DDJ in a package could bring back a nice haul.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    And Ventura would be an incredible arm to get.

  • I would be absolutely over the moon with any of these situations. I would probably prefer to get the draft pick, so that the FO can get "their guy." I especially like the idea of trading from an area of depth. Shipping Dejesus off with Sweeney or Bugosovic raking at AAA would be great, and being able to bring Garza back when Feldman and Villanueva's stock might never be higher. If we're going to trade one of those two I'd like to trade them before they potentially come back down to earth a little bit. Then if Garza pitches well they might be able to explore a trade for him closer to the deadline to net a solid return as well.

  • In reply to Jamato:

    The 34th pick is nice but Zimmer could have been one of their guys too. Seems like they liked him a lot last year. Not saying they could get Zimmer, and as Kevin mentioned, he isn't even eligible to be dealt yet.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'd love to get Zimmer. I remember reading on here that they really liked him. If they got #34 and Zimmer I'd absolutely love that. Do you think they would have to include DDJ + SP + Barney to get something like that back? I would like to think they might even be able to get more for that trio.

  • In reply to Jamato:

    It'd have to be a huge package to get Zimmer so I'm probably dreaming there! But it would be something like you suggested I would think.

    I'd be excited with that #34 pick and perhaps another prospect or two in a multi-player deal.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    When will Zimmer be trade eligible?

  • For everyone's info Zimmer can't get traded until June 7th.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Could be a PTBNL though.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Doesn't a PTBNL have to be on the 40 man roster?

  • In reply to DaveP:

    It could be anyone if I'm not mistaken. It's been used in the past to acquire guys who weren't yet eligible to be traded (i.e. recent draft picks)

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    In reply to KGallo:

    I can't imagine them trading Zimmer, but as Kerry Livegren of Kansas so eloquently wrote in "On the Other Side" off of the Monolith album, "Desperation shows its ugly face in many ways."

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    Trade with Royals

    Dejesus + Garza for Balance pick + Jason Adam + Bubba Starling(really struggling this year and has fallen off some charts but too much raw talent to ignore, could be had)

    Trade with Blue Jays

    Garza + Nick Struck for Drabek + Norris + Jimenez

    A guy can dream can't he? lol Not really expecting a huge haul for Garza at this point.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Don't think anyone's expecting a huge haul for Garza.

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    At this point, I think i'd be happy with just one high ceiling pitching prospect for him.

    Someone on another site proposed a Garza-Ricky Romero swap with the hope Cubs could fix Romero's problems and Garza stays healthy to help the Jays. Romero is a guy I wouldn't mind taking a high risk/high reward gamble on.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    If that's all we're getting, I'd rather extend him (if he's up for it). Worst case, we make the QA and get a pretty good pick out of it -- somewhere in the 27-30 range.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Would be fine with this too. Though Drabek + Norris intrigue me slightly more than Garza or the comp pick.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I don't really see where the value is with Drabek right now. 25 years old, injury history, 107 BB 110 K in 167 IP. ERA of 5.34 in 34 starts. He's young but he's not that young. I'm not convinced he'll have as good of a career as Garza. He could very well fall short of Scott Feldman too.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I would rather have another pitcher instead of Starling. I also think you would have to drop one of the prospects from the jays trade.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Agreed, I'd rather have Ventura or someone else but the realistic side of me doesn't see KC giving up 2 pitching prospect + #34.

    I think the Jays trade works because Drabek has been so injury prone. A healthy Drabek probably makes it too much but as it stands it's Garza for Norris + Jimenez which is ok, Drabek as the high ceiling/high risk throw-in.

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    John, check your email, and feel free to forward that to Gallo. He may know who they were and if there is a connection.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    You have my interest up. My business email is on Big League futures site.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Okay! Thanks!

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I could have forwarded that to you. Sorry about that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    No biggie my work email is public knowledge. All you have to do us go yo the site to find it. You have my personal email.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I sent it to you anyway.

  • John - I find it very likely that Garza goes and I find it very likely he goes to a team like the Blue Jays or Royals who likely wont be able to retain him after the season. I have no doubt the Cubs will try to re-sign Garza in the offseason whether he is traded or not.

  • In reply to Bigstevo4000:

    Now that would be the best case scenario!

  • I do not see Garza drawing much of a big package. If he is traded he can't be offered a qualifying offer. I would love to get that #34 pick for the added bonus allotment as well as the extra quality pick.

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    BTW, just so everyone knows what a class act we might be trading, I heard it first hand that Garza signed lots of autographs yesterday. I know at least one person who skipped work and let his kids play hookie to go see Garza throw.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    He's always struck me as a pretty good guy. Glad to hear that. Another guy that used to do that: Ryne Sandberg. I heard Mick Gillespie say that the row of seats behind the Smokies dugout was known as Sandberg lane because every day he would sign autographs for all the fans, and they would line up there to get one.

  • Meanwhile, on the farm...
    Smokies' Dallas Beeler through 5 innings:
    0 H, 4 K, 1 BB

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    I was watching. Too bad it just ended. Seems like a lot of no-hit bids so far this season for Cubs prospects.

  • Don't both Villanueva and Feldman have no trade clauses until mid-June?

  • In reply to peachcobbler:

    They can't be traded until 6 months after they signed their FA contracts.

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    I find it interesting that we're not actively scouting the Rangers. Perhaps they actually meant it when they said they weren't going outside the organization for help.

    In other prospect news, Christian Villanueva is having a pretty good night: 2 for 3 with a home run and 3 gems defensively.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Or no HR for Villanueva -- sorry. Something odd on the gamecast.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Torreyes also having a good night.

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    In reply to Eldrad:

    Rubi Silva just tripled. I didn't realize how fast that guy is. He can fly.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    He's a great athlete. More athlete than ballplayer, really, but he can be exciting at times out there.

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    Okay, here goes my trade proposal involving KC.

    From the Cubs to the Royals: Garza, Barney and DeJesus.

    Coming back to the Cubs from the Royals:34th overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, LHP Sam Selman, RHP Miguel Amonte and LHP Colin Rogers.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think this might be a little low for what the Cubs are giving up.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Perhaps, but as I read through the prospect handbook and looked to see what their pitching prospects were currently doing, those names stuck out to me. I wouldn't mind having Justin Adam either, even though his first few starts in the AA Texas League have been rough.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Interesting guys. I think the Cubs would probably want guys with higher probability. That's my guess, though.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    You might be right, but I'm thinking we're going to get A-ball prospects because of Garza's situation. Barney would give them a controllable player though.

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    I think the trade speculation kind of got out of hand quickly in this thread. :)

    April: Garza for a picture of Michael Jordan.
    May 2nd: Garza for all 10 of Toronto's best prospects.

    lol.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    That's good. Thanks for the laugh.

  • Here is the as I see them.

    Royals get Dejesus, Garza and Barney

    Cubs get 34th pick, Ventura, Gallagher, and Kyle Smith.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Weird. When I saw the headline of this article, I went to BR and started scouring through the Royals system and researching different people's prospect lists for them.

    Those were the exact 4 assets I would have targeted.

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    My guess at this point is that we keep Garza. If the right deal presents itself then, by all means, go for it, but I've got to question how much they can get for him right now, or even in a couple months if he proves he's healthy.

    You figure if you're going to get a fair return for him -- maybe slightly less than we gave up, but still at least 2 potential impact prospects who are near big league ready -- the team who's getting Garza is going to have to be near certain they can sign him to an extension. Does that rule out a teams like the Royals or Orioles, who may not have the money to keep him?

    If the Cubs keep him, on the other hand, they may be nearly done with the starting pitching aspect of the rebuild. Samardzija, Garza, Jackson, and Wood are a very solid first 4, and then if we draft Appel, he could be up as early as some time next year. If any of their other pitching prospects -- Johnson, Underwood, Cabrera, Blackburn, Vizcaino, etc. -- pan out, they could have some serious depth there.

  • In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    My assumption is that if it is Garza, they are only trading him if there are good offers. The Royals are a win now team this year so they may be willing to give up something of value. They may see an opportunity this year that outweighs the probability of prospects panning out.

  • I'll be honest... I don't really understand why this kind of information is a big deal.

    Isn't it assumed that we're scouting the minor league systems of a dozen plus teams?

    If we were in heavy with the Royals or Jays, why would we base decisions on prospects after a few looks from scouts once talks started to ramp up? Seems like a small sample size to base decisions off of.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Sample size really only refers to statistics. Scouts look at different things. They look at stuff, tools, they look at approach, command, skill sets -- all things that are pretty much constants and are unlikely to change.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    And no, the Cubs aren't scouting all the teams right now. There aren't that many pro scouts to divvy up and spread around the league. When we say they are scouting a team, we are saying they have focused their available resources in that direction.

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    Garza to the Royals is somewhat problematic as they only guy they have I'd want for Garza is Zimmer, and I'm not sure Moore is that desperate. But, if he is, more power to Theo. (I also don't particularly want him pitching for a month for the Royals knowing he's the Cubs property for all intents and purposes.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    There's also Ventura. And the 34th pick has a lot of value.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Ventura is pretty nice. I guess you're right -- if they offered the pick and Ventura straight up for Garza, it would be difficult to say no. Although Mondesi would be nice, too... Maybe with DDJ/Barney included?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'd take that deal in a heartbeat. Not sure if that's even feasible and maybe I'm getting too optimistic, but I'm hoping this is the perfect storm with a team wanting to win this year and the Cubs holding out for the kind of impact prospect they haven't really been able to get, other than Vizcaino, who's been hurt.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    It's an interesting issue. They gave up pieces to add the one pitcher. Now they're in it -- but their young core really isn't solidifying fast enough to further open the uber-short window they bought with Shields. So, now, do they give away more of the future to get Shields some help? (I kind of wonder if Luis Valbuena is in discussions, Moustakas has been awful.) They may not have a choice -- which is good for the Cubs.

    But, as I say, it really needs to be a lot to move Garza. If they make the qualifying offer, the Cubs likely have the first comp pick. This year, that's the Cardinals at 28.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You and I think too much alike sometimes.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Ha! We do like a lot of the same prospects. That would be my ideal scenario -- not sure if it's possible, but man I'd be bouncing off the walls with that return.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    For me the main prize would be the 34th pick and Yordano Ventura.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    It would have to be both of them together. If it's just the 34th pick -- we can do better by making a qualifying offer.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I said 34th pick and Ventura so I would want both.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Good point. Cubs could get something close to the 34th pick next year simply by making the QO

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    Having that 34th overall pick would be huge.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    And it's been said the Cubs are really excited about the high ceiling guys that will be available in that range. I'm sure they'd love to get two of their targets.

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    If Garza gets dealt, i'm assuming the aquiring team would want an extention in place, wouldn't you think??

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Not necessarily. Royals are going for it this year and may just worry about that at the end of the year.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John, here's hoping they pay thru the nose!!! LOL'

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Well, we know Dayton Moore is willing to part with top prospects for pitchers.

    Here's hoping Garza's health holds up.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's the pattern I'm hoping holds up.

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    To hope!

  • Hey John, am I mistaken, I thought the competitive balance picks that could be traded did NOT include the allotted slot money for that pick?
    So the Cubs would gain that extra pick, but wouldn't have more money, so they would have to spread the dollars a little thinner. I could be wrong and it still may be a net positive, but it seems they would have to go quantity over quality if they got a competitive balance pick.

    And Kyle Zimmer isn't going any where :)

  • In reply to Norm:

    No, when you trade for the competitive balance pick, you get the slot money that goes with it.

  • In reply to Norm:

    We've pretty much admitted we're dreaming on Zimmer ;)

    Anyway, as to your question, you do get the slot money. Otherwise agree that it would greatly reduce the value of that pick.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    In fact, if the money stayed put, it might make more sense to trade the pick and then use the additional money to overslot elsewhere. Of course it moves with the pick, but the strategic ramifications are more interesting if it didn't :)

  • If they are going to make a deal with KC, the sooner the better. I just have a feeling they are off to a hot start but will break down before long.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    I think KC may well be legit. They've always had good young talent and this year they added solid veterans to the core. Unfortunately I don't think it's going to happen soon -- if it happens at all. If it's about Garza, then we'll all have to wait.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Don't get me wrong, I think they are a good team. I just wonder if it's better to deal with them while they think they are going to contend all the way through the season vs. later when they could be questioning things and reluctant to give up their big guns from the farm system.

  • I put this in another segment but since we are talking the blue jays system here I thought I'd throw this in.

    So for those of you who follow the midwest league there is a guy who I hope you will help keep me updated on. Justin Jackson in the Blue Jays organization is the son of one of my co-workers. Justin was a pretty highly touted infield prospect when he was drafted. Unfortunately his bat never woke up. This year he has been converted to a pitcher and as of yesterday was activated and is on the Lansing Lugnuts team. He pitched the last inning of the Michigan exhibition game 3 up 3 down. Supposedly hitting 95 on occasion but regularly hitting 91-93. I've been told he has an ok change and a good slider and supposedly a decent curve. Great kid and I hope he makes this conversion work. from what his dad told me he really loves the position change and is taking to it like a duck to the water.

  • Not too much speculation on the Jays? I saw a lot of pitching in the top 15 at fan graphs. Are we thinking that Toronto will become a seller? Is there not enough interesting talent? Or are we fixated by that CB pick like a deer in a spotlight. ;)

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Mondesi is not eligible yet is he? What's the rule for first year players?

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Yes he is eligible because he was signed in 2011.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    A lot of interesting guys in the Jays system, some of whom I mentioned in the article. It seemed to us that the Royals trade is more likely, though. It may be a better fit on both sides. The Jays certainly have talent, though, and it makes sense that they may want to replace Josh Johnson with Garza. I'd imagine if it were a deal with the Jays, they'd focus on those young power arms.

  • Thanks John. Loved the piece. The speculation is always the fun part.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    You're welcome and thanks. It's always fun to speculate. There's some smoke here and it'll be interesting to watch what happens over the next few weeks. I think the Royals and Cubs are a great fit.

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    Okay, in six more hours it will have been 24 hours since this article was published. Why is Theo dragging his feet and not trading for the top 10 prospects of both clubs already? I hate this waiting thing...

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    It might be better to not trade Garza. Trade other assets to KC and pick up their pick. Then make a qualifying offer to Garza, and if he goes elsewhere you pick up another pick in the same range and end up with 4 in the first 40.

    This all assumes that KC wants other assets of course. Or that any trade happens at all :)

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