Well, if you’re sitting at home wondering why there has been no progress between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago Cubs in regards to trade talks for pitcher Jeff Samardzija, we have our answer. According to Bob Elliot at the Toronto Sun, the Cubs are asking for a meager package of just three players; Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, and a third prospect.
Oh, that’s it?!
So let me get this straight, for a 28-year-old, mid-tier starter that owns a lifetime record of 29-35, an ERA of 4.19 and a xFIP of 3.85, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer want the Blue Jays to surrender their number 1 and number 2 prospects in their system, along with a third prospect? Sure, that sounds reasonable (insert crass sarcastic tone here).
Now, I’m fairly certain that the Blue Jays front office isn’t compromised of fools, but I’m also pretty certain that their desire this winter is to not part with either Sanchez or Stroman, let alone both of them in one deal. Samardzija may be an upgrade to our rotation, but that’s an awfully big investment for a pitcher that is only under club control for two seasons and shows no interest in working out a long-term extension at a rate that matches his contribution levels.
Now to be fair, I’m not so blind to assume that Sanchez and Stroman are can’t miss prospects either. Nothing is ever etched in stone with minor league pitching, so you run the risk of over-valuing prospects in hopes that they are the next Pedro Martinez. However, there is also the risk of under-valuing your developed talent, and the Blue Jays are fresh off of learning that lesson a year ago.
Stroman stands a legitimate chance of making his Major League debut in 2014, and made big strides in 2013, making many scouts and pundits change their in regards to his future as a starter in the process. A 9-5 record with a 3.30 ERA and a sterling 4.78 K/BB ratio at Double-A New Hampshire has silenced the talk of Stroman heading to the bullpen and given Blue Jays fans hope that there is a solid rotational depth option waiting in the wings.
Sanchez on the other hand is a bit further away. At 20-years-old, he looks like he is ready to shed the Single-A distinction and head to Double-A New Hampshire. While his performance in Dunedin was nothing to write home about in 2013 (4-5, 3.34, 1.88 K/BB), his lights-out showing at the Arizona Fall League indicated that he may be turning the corner a bit. In the AFL, Sanchez made 6 starts, posting a 2-1 record with a 1.16 ERA and a 8.18 K/9 ratio, surrendering just 11 hits in 23.1 innings of work. His control remains a work in progress, but Sanchez has an outside chance of being ready for the Blue Jays at some point in 2015.
Of course, all the reasons the Blue Jays see to hold on to both Stroman and Sanchez are exactly why Alex Anthopoulos is being asked for the pair of them in any trade talks to date. For a team in full rebuild, they represent a solid addition to a farm system in need of upper-level pitching talent, like the Cubs system.
However, if this is what Theo and Jed are going to demand from Alex in exchange for Samardzija, then it is doubtful that the Blue Jays are going to be reeling in the Shark any time soon.