On the surface, it seems like the Oakland Athletics stole from the Chicago Cubs, but let's take a closer look at the blockbuster that occurred last night.
Cubs send: Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Athletics send: Addison Russell, Dan Straily, Billy McKinney, and PTBNL/Cash
What do the Athletics get:
They get two very solid pitchers in a run for a championship. Samardzija costs only $5.345 million this year, and Hammel gets only $6 million this year. Both players do not have long-term deals attached to them, so there's no hurt towards any future salary cap. Samardzija is still eligible for one year of arbitration before he would command a gigantic sum in free agency, so Billy Beane could sell him later.
Samardzija posted a 2.83 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP, and garnered 103 K's in 108 innings pitched, despite having to play at the friendly (for batters) confines of Wrigley Field. His stats should improve with the A's home park, as well as the obvious more run support leading to more wins.
Hammel has posted a similar line of 2.98 ERA, 1.02WHIP, and 104 K's in 108.2 IP. He also had only 23 walks, compared to Samardzija's 31.
What do the Cubs get:
Only 20 years old, Addison Russell is already in AA, hitting well as of right now, with a .333/.459/.500 slash line. Scouts believe he's a plus defender, as well as a strong bat with power and speed.
Additionally, they get a young Dan Straily right back for pitching - he's spent part of three years in the majors, but struggled with giving up homers. In the minors this year (albeit, the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League), he's given up 1.3 HR/9 innings, a bit better than the 2+ he was giving up in the Majors. The kid has high strikeout potential, and a change in scenery could help him big time.
Billy McKinney is only 19, but he's got plenty of hitting prowess. He's starting to develop power, and last year he showed a lot of high batting average. Currently hitting only .240 in A+ ball, the Cubs bought low on a high prospect (both he and Russell were first rounders).
Sources tell me that Raul Alcantara could be the PTBNL, only 21 years old and in AA, Alcantara keeps runners off the basepaths, leading to sterling ERAs. He doesn't K many players, but he's effective nonetheless.
Overall, the Cubs dumped salary with expiring contracts for three (and possibly a fourth) very solid prospects.