Pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel are on their way to Oakland. Ken Rosenthal broke the story on Twitter about an hour ago and the internet has been buzzing ever since. The blockbuster trade will send Oakland’s top-prospect Addison Russell, as well as Billy McKinney and Dan Straily to the Cubs for both pitchers.
Exact deal: Russell, McKinney and Straily to #Cubs for Samardzija, Hammel.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 5, 2014
The Oakland A’s were rumored to be looking for starting pitching after having gone through their fair share of pitching injuries this season. Losses of starters Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin for the season, as well as a Drew Pomeranz injury from a fight against a chair, which sent him to the 15 Day DL more recently, have had the A’s trying to push on. And push on, they have- so much so, that they hold the best starting rotation ERA in all of baseball. All that is without mentioning that two of their young starters in Straily and Tommy Milone began the season with some performance problems. Milone has, however, gotten back on track, but Straily struggled with the Sacramento River Cats.
I know A’s fans are asking the question: Is the future cornerstone of a franchise worth either of those pitchers for half a season? Jason Hammel is a free agent in 2015 and Jeff Samardzija is arbitration eligible in 2015 and will be a free agent in 2016, according to Rotoworld.
Addison Russell had come back from his injury and continued to excel with the Midland Rockhounds, the A’s AA club. Russell is batting .297/.400/.422 this season.
However, the A’s have been in a win-now mentality for the last couple years and have sent away former top-prospects in the process, including Michael Choice, Michael Taylor, Grant Green and Colin Cowgill, among others. Sending Russell and MicKinney just solidified Beane’s stance on going for that last win of the season.
Adding two prime pitchers just bolstered Oakland’s already magnificent rotation.
Samardzija is the prime example of wins and losses not showing your true worth. He was 2-7 with a 2.83 ERA and a 1.204 WHIP this season with the cubbies. Samardzija K’d 103 batters in 108 IP as well. If Samardzija was on any other team, he’d almost certainly have 10 wins, if not more and that statement will more than likely show soon with Oakland’s potent offense. Samardzija and the Cubs haven’t been able to work on a long-term deal and that’s what led them to putting him on the trade block.
Although not surrounded by as much notoriety, Hammel isn’t too shabby either, boasting a 7-5 record with a 2.98 ERA and a 1.013 WHIP . He has also struck out 97 batters in 103 IP. Hammel has also allowed just a .222 batting average.
Adding pitchers like Samardzija and Hammel will boost the A’s to another, World Series projected level, in my opinion, but losing a player like Russell could hinder the team for years. It was definitely a risky trade, but there is heavy upside to the deal. It could be a win-win deal if the A’s are able to lock up one of the pitchers long-term but that more than likely won’t be something Billy Beane does. I can already imagine a playoff rotation of Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, and (any two choices of) Tommy Milone/Samadzija/Hammel, plus Jesse Chavez the long man out of the bullpen and it’s something exciting to think about.