REPORT: Toronto Blue Jays have strong interest in Cubs Jeff Samardzija

After an aggressive offseason roster shuffle a year ago, bringing in talent such as 4-time All-Star Jose Reyes and (then) reigning Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, everything went wrong and the Blue Jays finished a distant 5th place in the hyper-competitive American League East.  That won’t keep the Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos from strapping on his boots and making another run at upgrading the ball club’s talent.  It appears the Blue Jays are focusing on starting pitching, and specifically, the Chicago Cubs ace RHP Jeff Samardzija.  According to a tweet from Bruce Levine, who covers the Chicago Cubs and White Sox for ESPNChicago.com:

As it so happens Anthopoulos appeared on SiriusXM and showed a bit of his hand in terms of the focus of the Blue Jays offseason rebuild (via the Twitter account of former Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals GM Jim Bowden):

Bowden is now an ESPN Baseball Insider and host of SiriusXM’s Inside Pitch & Front Office.

Samardija is in his first year of arbitration and won’t hit the free agent market until 2016, making him a reasonably affordable option for teams looking to compete in 2014 and 2015.

The Toronto Blue Jays have finished in 4th or 5th place for six straight seasons, and with Reyes and sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to anchor the lineup (all entering their 30’s), pitching (starting and relief) would be the place to rebuild if they hope to keep pace with the tough AL East competition.

– David Whitlock

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[05:21:31 م] Jason Whitney: