PHILADELPHIA -- The Blue Jays have been linked to Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija on a seemingly weekly basis, but Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos says the club is not engaged in any active trade talks.
Toronto was rumored to be interested in Chicago's ace during the offseason, but the asking price was too high. According to multiple reports, the Cubs wanted top pitching prospects Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman in return, and the Blue Jays said no.
Another report surfaced Tuesday morning from the CBS affiliate in Chicago, which suggested the Blue Jays had continued to pursue Samardzija. Toronto has had scouts at Cubs games this season, but when Anthopoulos was asked about it later in the day he did his best to put the rumors to rest.
"I guess I can say this: I have not had any conversations with anybody about active trade talks," Anthopoulos told reporters from Citizens Bank Park. "If that ends up shooting down reports ... no, I have not engaged in dialogues, exchange of names, nothing.
"It's so rare that teams engage in trade conversations so early. You might get started in June, unless someone is out of options or DFA'd. I can't talk specifically about other players on other teams, but generally speaking I doubt anyone's really engaged in trade talks."
Samardzija has gotten off to a hot start with the Cubs this season, with a 1.62 ERA in seven outings. He is under club control until the end of the 2015 campaign, but reports out of Chicago say the two sides have failed to find any common ground on a contract extension.
That could pave the way for a trade at some point prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline. If Samardzija does end up being put on the block, the Blue Jays would undoubtedly express some interest considering they could still use an upgrade to their starting rotation.
The problem, of course, will be the asking price. Toronto dealt away a large number of prospects last offseason in trades with the Marlins and the Mets. There are still some valuable commodities left in the system, but that doesn't mean the organization is going to mortgage the future for a short-term fix.
"I think we proved that over the winter," Anthopoulos said. "There were many opportunities to move ... I think anybody that was out there for trade, we had the assets to get those players. We just elected not do it because we just thought it was going to hurt the long term too significantly."