Cubs Trade Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to A’s
The Oakland Athletics and the Chicago Cubs have come to an agreement to send starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland, according to CBSSports.com. The Cubs in return received the A’s top-gun prospect Addison Russell in the deal.
Along with Russell, the Cubs will receive starting pitcher Dan Straily and outfield prospect Billy McKinny in addition to a player to be named.
Samardzija is 2-7 with a 2.83 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 108 innings this season. The new A’s starting pitcher will be a free agent after the 2015 season.
Hammel is 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 108 2/3 innings this season.
The A’s, who have the best record in baseball so far at 53-33, have made a drastic increase in their pitching rotation. Samardzija and Hammel will join Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray as the top-tier starters for Oakland so far this season.
Jesse Chavez and Tommy Milone, who also pitched in the A’s rotation, will now share the #5 spot even though Milone will get most of the start time (6-3, 3.55 ERA this season). This means Chavez most likely take his arm into the bullpen since he was a middle reliever before this season.
The two-time AL West Champs have gone with the bold but smart move to pick up two starters who have had quality numbers with the Cubs. It could certainly boost their chances of a deeper playoff run come September/October.
As for the Cubs, their acquisition of Russell is a big-time deal for a team who has been in rebuilding mode for a couple seasons. Cubs baseball operation executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer made the biggest deal since they’ve joined the front office in Chicago.
Russell, who is a 20-year old prospect, is ranked #7 by Baseball Prospectus and a top-15 prospect by all major prospect-ranking outlet. He has missed some time this season due to injuries, but he is hitting .333 with a home run and eight RBIs in 13 games for the Midland RockHounds, an Oakland A’s Double-A affiliate. Now healthy, Russell should show his true potential to become a legitimate major league star.
Although he plays shortstop, Russell will make a transition to another position due to the Cubs having a star at short in Starling Castro already.
McKinny, the A’s first-round pick last year, is hitting .241 with 12 doubles, 10 homers, and 33 runs batted in for Oakland’s Single-A Affiliate the Stockton Ports. Straily was 10-8 with a 3.96 ERA in 27 starts last season for the A’s. He is currently pitching in Triple-A after seven starts with the A’s earlier this season.
The Athletics and Cubs both got equal deals in this trade that they will use to their advantage to create a winning attitude. The Cubs will use it to get it back into the playoff picture while the A’s will use the deal as a increase into deeper playoff longevity.
Sports-Kings Reading Between The Seams Contributor Kevin L. Smith (@KevLSmittie)