* The number of Toronto Blue Jays scouts to check in on RHP Jeff Samardzija has reached the double digits. The Cubs' pitcher is perhaps at the top of the list of potential arms the Blue Jays could go after before the trade deadline. .... 2014 Canadians drafted … Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
And Teddy makes 10.
Ted Lekas was at Wrigley Field Saturday night to watch Chicago Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija face the Washington Nationals.
How long has he been around? Lekas scouted and signed Chris Carpenter in the first round of the 1993 draft -- first from the state of New Hampshire since Carlton Fisk, and delivered a case of the Dom Pérignon champagne to the Long Island home of Billy Koch and his father after signing in 1996. Koch stuck with a handshake agreement and signed when some first rounders became loop-hole free agents after the Atlanta Olympics.
Since last September, no less than 10 Blue Jays scouts have been in checking on Samardzija and other Cubs' moving -- or soon to be moved -- parts, like right-hander Jason Hammel, who beat Washington Friday, ex-Jay Carlos Villanueva, and second baseman Darwin Barney.
The list of Toronto evaluators Cub-observing is a who’s who of the Jays' brain trust.
1. Sal Butera saw the Cubs in September when he was still a scout. This year he’s looking at Jays video replays along with Ryan Mittleman. When you see bench coach DeMarlo Hale on the phone, he’s calling them and hoping Sal is not watching his son Drew Butera catch for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hale gets a thumbs up to relay so manager John Gibbons can challenge a call.
2. Dana Brown, special assistant to general manager Alex Anthopoulos, the wisest eyes in the group. The ex-Washington Nationals scouting director has a lot of influence when at decision time on adding a player via trade or in the draft.
3. Mel Didier, senior advisor and most experienced member of the Jays staff, has seen more players than anyone. He started with the 1970 Montreal Expos and saw Samardzija earlier this month.
4. Ed Lynch, the former Cubs GM, saw plenty of the Cubs this spring as he’s Arizona based and again once the season began.
5. Jim Beattie, the former Expos GM, saw the Cubs play earlier in the season.
6. Jim Skaalen, who won the Al LaMacchia award as the Jays' scout of the year in 2013, watched the Cubs June 12 and was back again Wednesday.
7. Dean Decillis, a pro cross checker for the Jays, saw the right-hander earlier this month.
8. Russ Bove, former New York Mets scout, who helped teach Anthopoulos the scouting basics back when the GM was a green intern with the Expos. Now a special assignment with the Jays, he checked in on Samardzija June 17.
9. Perry Minasian, pro scouting director, saw Samardzija pitch Monday.
And Teddy makes 10.
“I like Samardzija a lot,” said a National League general manager. “But his make up reminds me of Brett Lawrie. He’s wound, he will take that Notre Dame football attitude to the mound. That can be good as long as he’s under control. That can be bad as a pitcher if he humps up at Yankee Stadium and goes ball four, ball four, ball four.
“You don’t know what he’s going to do in the stretch run. At least I don’t.”
While, the 10, or maybe more, pairs of Blue Jays eyes on Samardzija are doing the evaluating, the final say on meeting the Cubs request of right-hander Aaron Sanchez, lefty Daniel Norris and outfielder Dalton Pompey, will be made at 1 Blue Jays Way, high atop the ivory tower.
Are the three prospects -- probably the Jays' top three -- too much?
And the Price is: And what of lefty David Price, who sure left the impression he had pitched his final game with the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday?
Bove saw Price beat the Pittsburgh Pirates and Lynch was there the previous start against the Houston Astros.
Price is a proven commodity in August, September and October and would be worth more.
Would the Rays deal within the division?
It should be remembered that the best offer the Jays ever received for Roy Halladay was not from the Philadelphia Philies but the Boston Red Sox in 2008. The Jays said no to acquiring Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, Nick Hagadone and Justin Masterson for Halladay in July of 2009. The Jays declined.
Are Sanchez, Norris and Pompey worth the price for Price?
“I would do it,” said an AL scout, “without hesitation”
But is that offer enough to outbid the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels and Atlanta Braves, who have all been scouting Price, Samardzija and Hammel the past few weeks?
Only 32 days until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Oldest to play: Mike Sandlock, who turns 99 on Oct. 17, is the oldest living former major-leaguer according to Bill Carle of the Society for American Baseball Research. Sandlock played for the Boston Braves (1942, 1944), Brooklyn Dodgers (1945-46) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1953). Next oldest are Cleveland’s Eddie (Lefty) Carnett, former Cub Lennie Merullo and Philadelphia Phillies Alex Monchak, who are all 97. Boston Red Sox’s Lou Lucier and Oakland’s Carl Miles are both 96.