Offseason trade rumors have linked Jeff Samardzija to various teams and over the weekend Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reported that “Toronto is putting together a package of young players” in an attempt to get the right-hander from the Cubs.
However, when asked about the Samardzija rumors on MLB Network radio Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said:
I won’t comment on specific rumors and things like that, but I will say that we’re definitely exploring starters with teams. But also, just like a lot of stuff that’s out there that is false, we have not made an offer to anybody with respect to a starter. So if there is something out there that we’ve actually made an offer to someone for a starter, that is not accurate. It doesn’t mean we’re not inquiring. Right now, there isn’t anything imminent.
It’s worth noting that Anthopoulos is notoriously tight-lipped about basically everything and a lot of the above quote could be semantics-based, but still. He’s certainly trying to put the vibe out there that the Blue Jays aren’t deep in talks with the Cubs about Samardzija.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Giants were “sniffing around” on Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the recently completed Winter Meetings.
Franco, 25, would be a nice buy-low candidate for the Giants, who don’t have a reliable third baseman yet. Currently, Pablo Sandoval would get the lion’s share of starts at the hot corner. Franco was a consensus top-100 prospect going into the 2014 and ’15 seasons, but hasn’t lived up to the hype over the last two seasons. In 2017, he hit .230/.281/.409 with 24 home runs and 76 RBI in 623 plate appearances.
Moving Franco wouldn’t necessarily solve any problems for the Phillies. After signing first baseman Carlos Santana, Rhys Hoskins is expected to play in the outfield full-time. As a result, the Phillies have too many outfielders with Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Technically, the Phillies could move Santana to third base as he has experience there, but he hasn’t played the hot corner since 2014.
Franco is arbitration eligible over the next four seasons, which might be the most attractive thing about him to other teams.