With the Tampa Bay Rays and the Chicago Cubs among the worst teams in all of baseball, a number of contenders are starting to circle, waiting to hear about the availability of ace pitchers David Price and Jeff Samardzija as the trade deadline approaches.
While there is still a lot of time for things to change, it appears the market will heat up for both pitchers. Furthermore, Price and Samardzija are under team control through 2015, giving their teams an extra bit of leverage in trade talks.
As such, the Rays and the Cubs will ask for a huge package of top prospects in return for either guy. That spells trouble for one buyer, the Toronto Blue Jays, according to Buster Olney of ESPN (subscription required).
Olney says that the asking price in prospects for these two aces will be too rich for the Blue Jays; they simply do not have the prospects to offer to pull off that kind of deal and bolster a starting rotation that currently boasts R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, and upstarts like Drew Hutchison and potentially Marcus Stroman.
The Blue Jays could turn to other options to improve their rotation, albeit ones that will not grab as many headlines. He points to Jason Hammel, Justin Masterson, and even Francisco Liriano as targets that could be within Toronto’s price range. Of the group Hammel seems the most likely to be moved because the Cubs will definitely be sellers. He is also the guy whom the Blue Jays could acquire at a reasonable price and get good value.
After all, with the success of Buehrle and some solid starts from Dickey, the Blue Jays do not necessarily need an ace. They certainly would benefit from adding Price of Samardzija, but they can still do well to lengthen out their rotation for the playoff race by adding a guy like Hammel.