In the aftermath of the Scott Kazmir deal, attention turned to the other pitchers that are available on the trade market. Almost immediately, the Toronto Blue Jays were mentioned.
The Blue Jays have had issues with the backend of their rotation all season. It all began in spring training when top prospect Marcus Stroman tore his ACL. Those starts were initially taken over by Aaron Sanchez. That is until he hurt his back in early June. He's expected to be returning soon, but then there's the other starters not named Mark Buehrle. Combined, the starters have 4.28 ERA, 4.30 FIP, and 4.31 xFIP. Marco Estrada has an adequate 3.22 ERA and 3.85 FIP, but he started the season in the Jays bullpen and hasn't pitched more than 150 innings in a season. R.A. Dickey continues to struggle with a 4.81 FIP. Finally, Drew Hutchison continues to struggle with batters having a .350 BABIP against him this season. There's a need for a stabilizing presence in the Blue Jays rotation.
Apparently, the Blue Jays had seriously discussed a trade for Kazmir. The discussions were advanced enough that the rumors included what the framework of a deal would look like.
OAK price for Toronto for Kazmir was something built around one of Jays' best pitching prospects -- too steep for Jays in a buyers' market.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 23, 2015
With a few random mentions of Toronto and Samardzija yesterday, things started to solidify last night.
Toronto one of the teams in attendance today for Samardzija's start, as pretty much expected.— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) July 23, 2015
Today, however, the drumbeat from the national baseball writers have turned their attention to a possible Samardzija deal. First to kick it off was Jon Morosi.
Meanwhile, Jon Heyman had some information on what the Sox hoping for in return.
According to one interested party, the asking price on Jeff Samardzija is four players. That sounds like a lot, but of course, unless the players are known, it's not possible to tell for sure. In any case, they weren't rushing to do it.
This one I'm taking more with a grain of salt since the team and players are completely unknown, but it does mean that, despite the Kazmir deal, the Sox are certainly hoping to get a significant return in exchange for Jeff Samardzija's services.
Overall, it isn't surprising that the Sox and Toronto have been mentioned in discussions. A lot of players have flowed between the teams. Some big deals like the Sergio Santos deals, but a few waiver pickups of players like Lars Anderson, Dayan Viciedo, and Moises Sierra among others show familiarity between the teams. For now, we'll have to wait to see if this familiarity turns into a deal for Jeff Samardzija.