Follow up on Heyman's piece: Blue Jays sure are scouting a lot of pitching in a year when there isn't much demand for pitching. According to CSN, there is a Blue Jays scout watching Hammel today. He'll also be on hand tomorrow (Samardzija) and will follow the team to Boston.
Obligatory Samardzija Story of the Day
Jon Heyman has another piece on Jeff Samardzija, listing 3 reasons why he won't bring in "twice as much" as Matt Garza did a year ago:
- Teams aren't as desperate for pitching this year. It's all about a lack of offense.
- David Price will be on the market and, as the best pitcher available, will lower the return for Samardzija.
- The team that acquires Samardzija will be unable to extend him.
Despite this, Heyman lists 8 teams with at least passing interest in Jeff: the Giants, Mariners, Cardinals, Braves, Yankees, Orioles, Red Sox and Blue Jays.
John and I have both made a point of how there's a lot of posturing going on at this time of year and, to me, Heyman's three reasons seem like talking points from the Blue Jays. The claim that the need for pitching is down is kind of laughable. The Blue Jays are offensive monsters but have serious holes in their rotation. The Cardinals are a down three starters just this week. The Yankees rotation is a bit of a mess after Masahiro Tanaka. The Braves and Mariners have been snakebit by injuries. The Brewers are scoring at will but giving up runs at about the same clip.
The line about the team that acquires Samardzija being unable to extend him sounds like it comes directly from the story the other day about why the Blue Jays were willing to give up top prospects for Dickey, Buehrle, and Reyes.
So, don't worry too much about this article. The demand for Jeff is still quite strong and we should get a very solid return for him. In regards to what that return will be, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun says that the Cubs want four players, all pitchers.
Samardzija still wants to stay...
Speaking of Samardzija, he reiterated that he wants to stay a Cub in an interview with Casey Stern and Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio, though he understands it is a business,
“I don’t think there is any doubt how bad I want to stay here. I have been here since the beginning, it’s the only organization I know. It’s pretty close to my hometown, I’m from Northwest Indiana. I am comfortable here. I love driving here every day coming to the park. I love the day games. I love Wrigley Field and I want to be here. But obviously I understand this is a business and not everything is in your control. I understand that they have my rights for another year, year and a half and that’s exciting to have that and know I am in their control. I want to stay here. I love being here and it feels good. I love pitching here and my numbers finally are better at Wrigley this year than on the road and that’s a positive and you learn how to pitch here and the fans get to know you and it ends up being a really exciting atmosphere to play baseball at.”
Frankly, I think the only way he stays is if the Cubs continue to get low-balled -- but in the end someone will be willing to pay for Samardzija. There's a lot of good stuff in that interview and you can read the rest of the interview transcript here at CCO.
At What Price Price?
With respect to the aforementioned Mr. Price, Ken Rosenthal at Fox becomes the first to my knowledge to officially acknowledge that a Cardinal trade for Price may well cost them Oscar Taveras. Rosenthal advises against it "if they believe in Taveras as a player and a person, believe that he is their Bogaerts, their George Springer, their Gregory Polanco." The thing is, I'm starting to get the feeling they don't. After some bitter words in spring training over his surgically repaired ankle, the Cardinals finally brought him up this month, only to have him struggle and be returned to the minors. Based partly on this, I believe that Price will be a Cardinal by August. (Which will make life real fun for us next season.)
For his part, Price is acting like a guy on his way out of town, tipping his cap to Tampa Bay fans Wednesday night as a way of saying thanks in case it was his last game in Tropicana Field.
Hammel to the Angels?
Rosenthal tweeted on Wednesday that the Angels were interested in Price and, if they couldn't get him, Jason Hammel was on a "long list" of alternatives. I don't think there's any chance they get Price. Their system is charitably described as barren. To have Hammel included in a tweet with Price makes me doubt how serious the possibility is. Looking at their system, there really isn't anyone I'd consider a good get.
It's hard to know what's going to happen with the polarizing Luis Valbuena. Last week, Rosenthal argued that he could fit with a number of contenders at either second or third. Since then, Valbuena has hit .105 with no walks. The big question, of course, is whether this is a genuine correction or a bad week. Even after the miserable week, Mike Axisa at CBS Sports lists Luis as one of the Cubs three big trade chips, along with Samardzija and Hammel.
An industry source suggests one of the teams scouting him is the Blue Jays. This would be a bitter pill for them to swallow -- first they waive him and then they have to trade to get him back -- but they are desperate for infield help following Brett Lawrie's broken finger. It's possible that this means the Blue Jays are willing to meet the Cubs price if they sweeten the pot a little. It's also possible that this is just due diligence by the Blue Jays and Valbuena is relatively far down their wish list of infielders.
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