Blue Jays rumor update: The return of Jeff Samardzija


The flurry of trade rumors surrounding the Toronto Blue Jays took an expected spike in the wake of Scott Kazmir being dealt to the Houston Astros yesterday afternoon. The trade should soon kickstart a dormant trade market, which today returns us to our old friend Jeff Samardzija, who has been linked to the Blue Jays in trade rumors since the mid-1960s.

I suppose we can find some hope in Morosi’s use of the word “active”, but at this time, it’s safe to file everything you see under “deadline fluff” until further notice. Samardzija does make more sense than he did prior to the Kazmir trade, however, both due to the readiness of the market and the reasonable package that Oakland accepted in the deal. This could make Samardzija (or Latos, Fiers and a dozen other names) slightly more affordable, especially in comparison to some other Blue Jays targets.

We’ve hammered away at Samardzija enough over the past two seasons, so let’s try to look at a few things we haven’t before. The 30-year old went from Chicago to Oakland on July 5th of 2014, which split his season between 17 National League games and 16 in the American League.

In Chicago (NL), The Shark posted a 2.83 ERA and 1.204 WHIP, then with Oakland (AL) saw those numbers budge in either direction to a 3.14 ERA and 0.931 WHIP. He’s continued to find a level of success in the AL this season with Chicago, posting a 3.91 ERA despite recording just 6.9 K/9. From 2011 to the end of last season, he had averaged 8.8 K/9. Is this cause for worry, or a statistic due to float back towards his career norm? His velocity hasn’t changed noticeably, so it could be a case of the latter.

Another interesting link to Toronto is Samardzija’s history with Dioner Navarro, who caught the righty for 67.1 innings with the Chicago Cubs. Those innings were not Cy Young worthy, nor does their chemistry tip the scales in either direction, but the relationship could help to smooth Samardzija’s transition in the still-unlikely scenario that he is brought aboard.

I remain confident that Anthopoulos will exhaust all trade options that involve more team control coming his way, but as always, the Samardzija link refuses to die. He is next scheduled to pitch on July 28th against the Red Sox in Boston.

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