Hardly earth-shattering news here, but Bob Elliott has some interesting details on the trade front in his post from this morning at the Toronto Sun, dredging up the usual suspects when it comes to target — Jeff Samardzija, David Price — but offering some new names with respect to what could end up going the other way.
Lefty Daniel Norris made his 13th start for the class-A Dunedin Blue Jays on Thursday at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium before 809 fans and watchful eyes. Chaim Bloom, Tampa Bay’s director of baseball operations, and two Rays scouts were there, as were Cubs vice-president Tim Wilken, along with Blue Jays assistant general manager Andrew Tinnish, special assignment scout Russ Bove and pro cross-checker Dean Decillis.
He then adds a maple-y note that Dalton Pompey — who is 21, not 23 as the report states — could be a target, before giving us a litany of names of prospects the Jays have in Dunedin, along with some stats from 1985 to illustrate their supposed worth. I’m not so sure that the Taylor Coles or Matt Boyds or K.C. Hobsons of the world are really going to intrigue other clubs so much, but they’re going to need something to offer, as he also tells us that “the Cubs are preparing to move Samardzija” — who the Jays had senior advisor Mel Didier and Decillis watch pitch in Miami earlier in the month — ”and the asking price, according to those in the know, is four players in return.”
If true, that maybe gives us hope that the Cubs are less concerned about adding big-league ready talent — as we were to believe they had been, provided the rumours about their asking for Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, and/or possibly Drew Hutchison were valid — and looking for a package that plays better into the Jays’ hands. But I still just don’t know.
To take a very cursory look at it, the Royals (7), Rockies (8), and Orioles (10) all have top ten farm systems according to Keith Law’s rankings at ESPN.com prior to the season, while the Jays ranked 24th (which, granted, was lower than other organizations — Baseball Prospectus had the Jays 13th, though still behind all three). All of those teams are very much in it, and will likely be looking for pitching at the deadline. Minnesota, who are still surprisingly in it themselves, have an even higher-ranked system, as do the Boston Red Sox, who I certainly wouldn’t count out at this point, as tempting as it may be for us to do so.
Granted, the performances players have put in so far in 2014 will have changed the rankings a bit. Obviously what Norris has been doing hasn’t gone unnoticed. But still, he wasn’t even in the pre-season top 100 for Law or for BP, while a team like the Orioles had four pitchers among Law’s top 45. Add in the fact that Marcus Stroman is too important to the big league club right now to be part of a trade, and — as I’ve mentioned a number of times already, I know — it just seems difficult to believe the Jays will be able to cobble together the sort of package that will get them the kind of pitcher we’re ham-fistedly — “Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine both won over 300 games. Both had losing records on good teams in October,” a scout ominously and pointlessly reminds Elliott – told the Jays need.
That doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Over the winter it appeared as though the Tigers got so enamored with certain Nationals prospects — or perhaps with the idea of not trading within the American League — that they overlooked a lot of other teams who’d have made a much stronger offer for Doug Fister than the one they eventually accepted. There are no absolutes here. But I still think they’re going to have to get awfully creative, or to simply settle for less. Elliott pushes that line of thinking a bit, too, giving Jason Hammel a mention at the end of his piece as well. Sadly, that’s probably more like it.
Still in first place, though!