The Oakland A’s today have made a significant strides in ensuring they go deeper in the playoffs this year, should they continue playing well, as the team has officially acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for shortstop Addison Russell, outfielder Billy McKinney, right-handed starting pitcher Dan Straily and a player to be named later or cash considerations.
To make room for both pitchers, the A's also designated Triple-A outfielder Nick Buss for assignment.
Samardzija has a 2-7 record this year with the struggling Cubs, but has a 2.83 ERAin 17 starts, with 103 strikeouts and 31 walks. Since the start of the 2011 season, Samardzija has ranked seventh among NL pitchers in Ks, while putting together a 31-42 record and a 3.97 ERA.
The 31-year old Hammel is currently 7-5 with a 2.98 ERA in 16 starts and his 1.01 WHIP ranks him fourth among NL starting pitchers and seventh in opponent's batting average at .222. Hammel is coming off of a win on Friday, striking out seven Nationals and giving up five hits and two runs.
Surely the trade comes at a cost, as the A's generally thrive off of young, low-cost but well performing players and having to give up three of those is a risk. However, having come up short two years in a row to the Detroit Tigers, Billy Bean's rare push for an immediate payoff push is a welcomed move for the A's.
In giving up Russell, the A's lose their number one prospect, as given that title following the 2012 and 2013 seasons, hitting .302 in the minors. Russell was selected in the first round (11th overall) by Oakland in the 2012 First-Player Draft.
McKinney, the A’s first-round choice in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, is batting .241 with 12 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs and 33 RBI in 75 games with the A’s Single-A affiliate in Stockton. The 19-year-old outfielder hit .353 with one homer and six RBI in nine games for Short-A Vermont after signing last year.
As for Straily, the 25-year old has spent most of the season with Triple-A Sacramento, compiling a 4-3 record and 4.71 ERA in 10 games, all starts. He has allowed 54 hits and nine home runs in 63.0 innings, striking out 67 and walking 26. Earlier this season, he also pitched for Oakland, posting a 1-2 mark and 4.93 ERA in seven games (all starts) and 38.1 innings.
Buss was hitting .261 with three doubles, three triples, one home run and 16 RBI in 26 games for Sacramento.