Notable talent evaluators from the Rays and Cubs were recently on hand to watch Blue Jays prospect Daniel Norris throw five scoreless innings in a high-A ball start, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports. Norris, 21, was a second round draft pick for the Jays in 2011 and was ranked as the franchise’s sixth-best prospect by the 2014 Baseball America Prospect Handbook. The southpaw has a 1.22 ERA, 4.22 K/BB rate and 10.3 K/9 in 13 starts this season, and Elliott wonders if Norris or outfielder Dalton Pompey could be targeted by the Rays or Cubs as part of a trade package for David Price or Jeff Samardzija this summer. Both Elliott and two scouts feel the Jays (who are known to be looking for a pitching upgrade) need a power arm to be legitimate postseason contenders.
Here’s some more from around the AL East…
- Also from Elliott, he hears that the Cubs are asking for four players in return for Samardzjia. The Blue Jays had two evaluators present for Samardzija’s start against the Marlins on June 7th.
- The Rays are “looking like the strong favorites” to sign 15-year-old Dominican shortstop Adrian Rondon, Baseball America’s Ben Badler reports, though Rondon cannot sign until he turns 16 on July 7. Rondon, who is 6’2″ and 180 pounds, is expected to sign for around a $3MM bonus. Several scouts consider Rondon to be the best prospect available on the international market, with one scout even telling Badler that Rondon’s upside could make him “a Hanley Ramirez-type of offensive shortstop.”
- Nick Markakis “wants to play here for the rest of his life,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters (including MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko). The O’s have a $17.5MM club option on Markakis for 2015 that will very likely be bought out for $2MM, though Markakis’ strong play this season is putting him in good shape for a new multiyear contract.
- The Orioles expect Dr. James Andrews to recommend that Matt Wieters’ right elbow will require Tommy John surgery when the catcher is examined later today, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports. Losing Wieters would obviously be a major blow to the O’s this season, and it would further complicate any plans they might have to sign Wieters to a contract extension (Wieters is under control through 2015).
- Two-thirds of the Red Sox roster could be trade candidates if the team decides to rebuild for 2015, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes. Abraham’s list includes several relievers (including Koji Uehara), A.J. Pierzynski, David Ross, Stephen Drew, Jake Peavy and Jonny Gomes. While you could make a case for the likes of Jon Lester, Shane Victorino, Will Middlebrooks or Clay Buchholz to be dealt as well, Abraham feels these players are much longer shots to be traded.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington needs to make a move for a quality outfield bat before the season is lost, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe opines.