Mar 20, 2014; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Cubs Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
With one week to go before the start of the regular season, one would assume that the Toronto Blue Jays are going to head into Opening Day with a rotation comprised of R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Drew Hutchison, Brandon Morrow and one of Todd Redmond, Esmil Rogers, or J.A. Happ. However, according to a pair of tweets over the last few days, the team may still be looking to find an upgrade if one is out there.
The first note, floated by Bruce Levine of MLB.com isn’t much of a surprise. The rumors of the Blue Jays interest in Jeff Samardzija are well-documented, with the Jays having open discussions with the Chicago Cubs for the right-hander this winter. However, Chicago’s desire to receive back a package that included BOTH Marcus Stroman AND Aaron Sanchez derailed any further conversation for The Shark.
The Cubs have an enviable amount of talent in their farm system, but the question still remains whether that talent will arrive with Samardzija still being a part of the puzzle. The 29-year-old has one more season of arbitration eligibility, meaning he has only two years of team control left. If the Cubs choose to trade him, they would arguably get the most value for him by moving him this season. Over the last two seasons as a starter, Samardzija has a 17-26 record with a 4.10 ERA and a 9.1 K.9 ratio.
As for the Blue Jays checking out the Minnesota Twins, that one is a bit interesting from a bargain-shopping standpoint. As of right now, left-hander Scott Diamond is on the outside looking in on the rotation and has looked rough this spring, having allowed 6 earned runs, 2 home runs, and 7 walks over 9.2 innings of work despite facing an opponent quality level of 8.6 (Triple-A level) according to Baseball-Reference. He’s also coming off of a tough 2013 season where he posted 6-13 record, a 5.43 ERA, and a measly3.6 K/9 ratio over 131 innings in 2013.
One interesting name that has popped up is Jacob Turner of the Miami Marlins, who the fish are apparently shopping according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports. No word on whether the Blue Jays have expressed any interest, but the 22-year-old Turner is coming off a decent 2013 season where he posted a respectable 3.74 ERA and 45.7% ground-ball rate over 118 innings last season, but it also comes with control issues (4.1 BB/9). Those struggles to throw strikes (4.1 BB/9) and miss bats (3.4 K/9) has carried over to his 13.1 innings of work this spring.