Could the Toronto Blue Jays be adding a shark to the mix? According to Chicago writer Bruce Levine (ESPNChicago.com) all signs are pointing to yes. Levine reported via Twitter on Saturday that the Blue Jays are “putting together a package of young players” which would see Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija, known as the Shark, in Toronto for the 2014 season.
This is not the first time the hard-throwing right-hander (who could be of great value to the club with a projected salary of $4.9 million if this deal does indeed go through) has been mentioned in connection with trade rumors concerning the Blue Jays.
The 28-year-old Indiana native was a fifth-round draft by the Cubs in 2006 after deciding on a baseball career over playing football professionally. After making his debut in 2008 in the bullpen, he made his way into the starting rotation four years later with a current strikeout average of one K per inning. His go-to pitches include a four-seamer, two-seamer, cutter, splitter and slider with his hard stuff sitting comfortably in the mid-90s.
Now, the obvious question lingers: Whom will Jays fans see go in order to secure the Shark? Considering that the Cubs are in great need of a dependable outfielder and/or hitter, GM Alex Anthopoulos quickly shot down entertaining the idea of saying goodbye to All-Star sluggers Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnation. Without confirming or denying the club has their eye on Jeff Samardzija, just acknowledging the obvious that the club is exploring starters in general, Anthopoulos’s statement has now led to rumors swirling around Anthony Gose’s future with the team. Two other young players who could possibly be sacrificed for Jeff Samardzija are pitchers Aaron Sanchez or Marcus Stroman, whom the team and fans had high hopes for in the next few years.
If we see this trade played out as sources state, then it will be finalized by American Thanksgiving (for my fellow Canadians, that’s Thursday, November 28).