Here we are six weeks before the July 31st trade deadline and the market for Chicago Cubs Starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel is beginning to take shape, per Charlie Wilmoth of mlbtraderumors.com and others. The buzz is that the Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners are the early candidates to land one of the Cubs’ aces. All three teams are in the hunt for a playoff spot and will no doubt sacrifice a piece of the future in an attempt to win now, so lets take a look at what kind of package they may be able to offer the Cubs.
The Braves have the 25th ranked minor league system, according to Bleacher Report, but they do have two top-100 prospects in RHP Lucas Sims and C Christian Bethancourt. Chances are that the Cubs could make a deal around either of these prospects but there would need to be major league or major league-ready talent involved as well. Sims and Bethancourt are in MLB.com’s top-100 but they are numbers 50 and 68 respectively, and since the Cubs drafted two catchers in the first five rounds of last week’s draft Bethancourt doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. So any package from Atlanta would center around Lucas Sims and could include other prospects, such as Jason Hursh or Mauricio Cabrera or perhaps a major leaguer.
The Blue Jays 22nd ranked farm system, per Bleacher Report, has been greatly depleted over the past few seasons due to the trades they made with the Miami Marlins and New York Mets before the 2013 season, but they still have a legitimate shot at landing one of the Cubs arms due to the strength of their minor league pitching. The Blue Jays top four prospects are all pitchers and all four are in MLB.com’s top-100. The Cubs will no doubt make a play for a package that includes the Jay’s top arm, Aaron Sanchez (no. 19 overall, no. 9 RHP), and possibly two of the remaining three; Marcus Stroman (no. 47), Roberto Osuna (no.79) and Daniel Norris (no. 98).
The Mariners have a better overall system than the Braves or the Jays, ranked 19th by Bleacher Report, but they have fewer ace quality arms to offer. However, that does not mean that there is not a prize to be had. There is a possibility that the Cubs could land the Mariners top prospect, no. 5 overall according to MLB.com, Taijuan Walker. Walker dealt with some injuries this year and has only thrown 19.1 innings to date, but he is unequivocally the best prospect that the Cubs could land in a deadline deal. However, it would assuredly cost Jeff Samardzija and possibly more to land the 21 year-old right-hander.Tags: Atlanta Braves, Baseball, Chicago, Chicago Cubs, Jason Hammel, Jeff Samardzija, Miami Marlins, MLB, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, trade deadline