The Athletics do something that they usually don’t do and gave up a couple of cheap players for some expensive ones. The pick up pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel (former Oriole…) for the best SS prospect in baseball in Addison Russell, Billy McKinney (2013 1st rounder) Dan Straily, and a player to be named later/cash.
I personally think they Cubs made out great in this deal. First, they get a young pitcher with talent who has struggled in the American League. This is the perfect pitcher for the Cubs. They STOLE Jake Arrieta from the Orioles last season. The Cubs basically have given him permission to use his cutter (Something the Orioles refused to let him throw), and now he is pitching like a stud with a no-no into the 7th in Boston last week.
The Cubs also pick up Addison Russell and Billy McKinney. Russell is a great defensive shortstop that turned out to have a great bat too. He has had an average around .300 at every level with an OPS above .800, including .939 this year. Billy McKinney is a corner outfielder that is projected to have a great bat but be a slow baserunner and a below-average defender.
Who says no?
Now for the Athletics, they pick up the Major League talent in this deal. Samardzija becomes their best pitcher and Hammel slots in as a back of the rotation guy who is over-achieving this year. Samardzija has been brilliant this year even though he only has 2 wins. He has increased groundballs, decreased the flyballs, decreased his home run to fly ball rate, and decreased the amount walks. He has been superb. The reason for the lack of wins is his league slow run support of 2.41 runs per game… TERRIBLE! The Cubs probably just hate him because they can’t spell his name. Who knows…
Coming of an injury-filled year with the Orioles last year, the Cubs were able to sign Hammel to a 1-year deal for $6 million. For that price, he is having a career year with his highest strikeout percentage and lowest walk percentage in his career. It will be tough for him to keep those numbers up with the move the AL, but the A’s believe he can do it so you know what? So do I!
I think that his deal was very fair, but the Athletics will need to make a World Series and see Samardzija and Hammel be big pieces for this type of deal to be worth it. They do not have the kind of money to sign Samardzija long-term so they have to win this year or next with him, or they will have wasted a top prospect, also known as a cheap star, for no title.
This is not the type of deal that the Athletics can make every year and sustain a winning team because they purely do not have the money for it. However, the Athletics must have decided this is the one deal that they can make that will push them over the top, and with one of the top front offices in baseball (along with the Astros, Cardinals, Cubs, and Red Sox), I have to believe this is the right move, and I now think the Athletics are clear favorites to win the AL Pennant and a top 3 favorite for the World Series title.
In a football note…
Josh Gordon gets arrested in North Carolina. If he never plays in the NFL again, is he the greatest one-hit wonder in sports ever?
Lemme know what you think