Kevin Aherne (@KAherne17)
In a move well out of character, Oakland Athletics' GM Billy Beane pulled off a blockbuster trade with the Chicago Cubs, obtaining a pair of starting pitchers in exchange for three prospects and a player to be named later.
The deal sends top-of-the-rotation pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland, with Billy McKinley (A's 2013 first round pick), Addison Russell (A's 2012 first round pick), pitcher Dan Straily and a player to be named later headed to Chicago.
Oakland currently possesses the best record in baseball, showing brilliance at the plate and on the mound, posting a +129 run differential as well as a team ERA of 3.18, trailing only Washington (3.09). This trade sures up a rotation that has lost Jarrod Parker and AJ Griffin to arm injuries, both requiring Tommy John surgeries.
The addition of the 31-year old Hammel is likely a half-season rental, as the right-hander is set to become a free agent at season's end. Boasting a 7-5 record with a 2.98 ERA, he will command an eight figure contract, beyond Oakland's means and strategy.
Samadzija is a possible long-term fixture in Oakland. At age 29, he will be under the A's control through the end of next season. He currently has a 2-7 record but a 2.83 ERA, tenth best in the National League. Through his 83 career starts, Samardzija is 31-42 with a 3.97 ERA.
Buying the farm?
Sitting 11.5 games out of first in the NL Central Devision, the Cubs became the first sellers of the 2014 season, but this trade will likely be a good deal for the North Side of Chicago.
The 20-year old Russell, is ranked third among all MLB prospects according to ESPN's Keith Law. He He has seen limited action in 2014 due to injury, hitting .333 in 58 at-bats at Double-A Midland.
19-year old McKinney has a batting average of .241 with 10 home runs and 33 RBI in 75 games for Class A Stockton.
With 7 MLB starts, 25-year old Straily is 1-2 with a 4.93 ERA in seven starts for the A's. The right-hander is 13-11 in 41 starts for Oakland over the past three seasons.
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