Blue Jays rumors: Jeff Samardzija on Jays list
The Toronto Blue Jays’ have interest in Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman reveals that “Samardzija is on the list of the Jays, who are much more focused on enhancing the rotation than the pen.” Pull up a chair, Blue Jays rumors are officially in season.
Toronto’s interest in the towering right-hander is becoming an annual tradition, as few general managers in baseball cling to their past targets like Alex Anthopoulos. Even if it he’s forced to take the long road, Anthopoulos loves to circle back.
Samardzija was one of the most prized targets leading up to the 2014 trade deadline after surging out of the gates with the Chicago Cubs. His 2.83 ERA through 17 starts in Chicago tempted the Oakland Athletics to make a deal as part of their all-in push, sending top prospect Addison Russell back in the blockbuster. Now that Samardzija’s value has regressed back to reality, Anthopoulos may find the price easier to digest.
The 30-year old has seen his strikeout rate regress slightly in 2015 while his hits-per-nine has climbed to an ugly 10.2. His 4.56 ERA and 1.316 WHIP don’t encourage great confidence, but this is the blueprint of a situation where the Jays could buy low on a talented arm without being forced to unload several of their top-15 prospects.
Heyman suggests a deal between the two clubs centred around Max Pentecost, the Blue Jays top catching prospect and first round pick from one year ago. With Russell Martin in the fold for four seasons past the current one, many have circled Pentecost as a potentially expendable asset. I’m more hesitant than most, however, given that he plays a premium position and could still have value within Martin’s contract due to his plus hitting tool.
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Assuming that Samardzija can move his stats in the right direction, his greatest value to a team like the Blue Jays may be his ability to consistently work deep into games. In his last five starts, Samardzija has recorded inning totals of 7.1, 7.0, 7.0, 7.0 and 7.1. This would clearly limit bullpen strain while allowing for Toronto’s high-flying offense to play a leading role.
Heyman does tuck another Blue Jays nugget into his piece regarding one of Toronto’s more talked-about trade chips. “Dioner Navarro renewed his interest in a trade this week. He’d like to go somewhere to catch, if possible. The Diamondbacks, a logical landing spot, said no, citing Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s presence.”
The unfortunate reality is that, barring a rash of injuries, Navarro may not have much value around the league. He lacks National League appeal due to the absence of the DH spot and has not done enough at the plate to increase his value past what it was several months ago.
Next: Blue Jays trade needs to happen soon