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A’s acquire Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel from Cubs for Addison Russell

Jul 4, 2014, 10:46 PM EDT

Washington Nationals v Chicago Cubs - Game Two Getty Images’s Ken Rosenthal says the deal is done and that the A’s will get both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, giving up top shortstop prospect Addison Russell in return. He adds that other players and teams may be involved.

11:00 p.m. EDT update: the deal is offical. Along with Russell, the Cubs will get outfield prospect Billy McKinney and right-hander Dan Straily.

Straily will presumably fill one of the vacancies in the Cubs rotation. Veteran Japanese hurler Tsuyoshi Wada could get the other one. Russell and McKinney won’t be factors in the short term, but they further boost a system that’s already loaded offensively.


Baseball’s best team is aiming to make a preemptive strike, according to’s Ken Rosenthal. The A’s and Cubs are talking about a deal that could send Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel or perhaps both to Oakland.

Both Rosenthal and CBS’s Jon Heyman are reporting that top prospect Addison Russell is being discussed. Russell, a plus defensive shortstop with definite All-Star potential, is Oakland’s top prospect and one of the five or 10 best in the game.

For that reason, it’s hard to imagine the A’s giving Russell up without getting an ace in return, especially with the Rays’ David Price, the Phillies’ Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee and the Red Sox’s Jon Lester all potentially becoming available later this month. Russell should be a top target of any of those teams should they choose to deal.

Meanwhile, the Cubs were thought to be more focused on landing young pitching. They already possess another one of the game’s four elite shortstop prospects in Javier Baez (the other two being Houston’s Carlos Correa and Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor), plus a nifty incumbent in Starlin Castro. If they have the chance to get Russell, they should jump and then worry about the fit later. Russell is a better defensive shortstop than Baez and would be the more likely of the two to stay at the position.

Meanwhile, the A’s aren’t exactly suffering with their current crew. Third starter Jesse Chavez has a 3.23 ERA, and fourth starter Tommy Milone shut out the Blue Jays for six innings today to lower his ERA to 3.55. Fifth starter Drew Pomeranz is on the DL, but Brad Mills has looked adequate filling in for him, and Dan Straily is still kicking in Triple-A if needed.

Straily, in fact, would seem to be an obvious part of a Samardzija or Hammel trade, what with the Cubs’ penchant for taking on young, underachieving major league starters. It’s a strategy that has netted them Jake Arrieta and Travis Wood. Pomeranz might also fit that bill.

Samardzija, for what it’s worth, has one year left of arbitration in 2015 and should make somewhere in the $10 million neighborhood next year. Hammel will be a free agent at season’s end.

So, we’ll see what this all comes to. The thinking here is that since the A’s are most likely going to the postseason regardless, it’s not worth sacrificing Russell for a non-ace (and maybe not even for an ace). Samardzija and Hammel have had excellent seasons, with both sporting sub-3.00 ERAs and striking out 8.5 batters per nine innings in the NL, but neither will be any kind of sure thing headed into the postseason. That’s particularly true of Hammel, who is on pace to easily eclipse his previous career high of 177 2/3 innings.

  1. chiadam - Jul 4, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    Baez, Alcantara, and Castro in place already. No real ace pitching prospects to speak of. And they might trade BOTH of their best pitchers / trade chips in a deal built around a SS? I feel compelled to point out that Theo has never built a team before. Not like this. He took over a Boston team that won 94 games. And Jed Hoyer built a team that stinks.

    • xigobigemit - Jul 4, 2014 at 10:48 PM


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      • rivermaya99 - Jul 4, 2014 at 10:58 PM

        Stupid comment

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:04 AM

      Theo and Jed’s thinking is that the Cubs won’t be good and contend for a couple of more years so they don’t want to overpay for pitching now and the next two seasons or so.

      Pitchers get hurt, breakdown etc… and they don’t want to lock them up now for 4 and 5 yrs and then when the team is beginning to play well have their pitches go down…

      At least this is what I’ve read in several articles…

      Joe Posnanski of SI just wrote an article on the Cubs and Theo like a week ago or so and talked about this and other things related to their rebuild…

      Again, I’m just passing along what I read… kept my opinion out.

    • alacla9 - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:32 AM

      Russell SS, Baez 2B, Castro LF, Alcantara CF, Bryant 3b/RF,

    • bigmeechy74 - Jul 5, 2014 at 3:52 AM

      way to completely miss the point…

    • bigmeechy74 - Jul 5, 2014 at 11:52 AM

      Yes. They traded both of their best pitchers for the top 2 oakland prospects. That’s a good thing. This team isn’t ready to contend. Did you want them to hold on to them so they can shoot for .500 next year or would you rather they have a potential franchise everyday player for 10 years?

  2. tigerprez - Jul 4, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    Rosenthal says the deal is done. Is this real life?

    • mmeyer3387 - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:14 PM

      This one seemed to catch most of us off guard. I’m not sure which team benefits. I’ve already read that fans from each team are critical of the trade. There’s no doubt that this trade will be interesting to see it play out and will it help the A’s go to the WS?

      • bwolfsohn - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:53 PM

        Looks like they’re getting future assets for the current asses coming in.current assets will push the currenct cubs team,, but future asses going will balance the future treams a

  3. salsashark2004 - Jul 4, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    I don’t pretend to be an expert on stuff like this but, assuming there isn’t more to the trade, this seems like a bad deal for the Cubs.

    • tigerprez - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:04 PM

      I can see the logic to it. You’ll probably never get a prospect as good as Russell without giving up both Samardzija and Hammel in the same deal. So you might as well roll the dice on one of the best prospects in the game, rather than trading for a bunch of B and C-level guys whose ceilings are much lower.

      Straily and McKinney sweet the pot quite a bit, too.

      • paperlions - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:25 PM

        Plus you are just trading contracts.

        Russell is a 20 yr old studly SS prospect that the team will have control of for 7 MLB seasons.

        Samardzija is going to the highest bidder in 1.5 years. Hammels is a FA at the end of the year.

        Russell by himself is fantastic return for those assets, neither of which would have been Cubs when the Cubs will be competitive.

        For quite some time now the Cubs strategy has obviously been to hoard as much offensive talent as they could and then to buy the pitching (or trade surplus offensive players for it). Once they develop, position players are more likely to be healthy and productive for many years without catastrophic injury. They seem to be relying on production at the plate an in the field and will worry about putting together the pitching later.

      • dphins4me - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:26 PM

        A’s fan & I’m not thrilled with this deal. This is Oakland going for it deal.

        Russell IMO is to good to give up for 2 middle of the road pitchers having career yrs. One being on the verge of FA and they other one with his foot out the door. Chicago will be reaping the benefit of this deal for yrs to come.

        McKinney is Yrs away, so who know what will happen with him. Straily appears to be their equal. Russell while still a prospect has provided no reason to believe he will not be a player in the majors.

      • rivermaya99 - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:33 PM

        Samardja is “ACE”, very good move, stupid move it is Russel, very good rookie guy. should not trade him. should only pick others players not him in trade

      • ramitbaby - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:53 PM

        Straily is their equal? Is that why he has an ERA of 4 1/2 in AAA?

      • dphins4me - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:05 AM

        Basing it off his 2013 numbers & it is why I said appears. Samardzija is far from an “Ace” unless one expects him to improve, but that will be with another team. He is already stated he is money hungry and will chase the largest deal ( No surprise ) He is a below avg to avg 3 or 4 starter. Not worth the price. If Oakland was going to give up such a top prospect then they should have gotten at least a solid No. 2.

        I’m a Beane fan, but not of this deal. Seems to me he jumped the gun at the fact he could land two pitchers even two that have been mediocre over their career.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:37 AM

        Samardjiza is a No. 3 starter for good teams. He’s 30 and suddenly pitching a career year. Longer term, this is a definite overpay by the A’s.

      • salsashark2004 - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:27 AM

        Yeah. I saw they were involved as well after I posted. That does seem to make things look a little more even.

  4. rivermaya99 - Jul 4, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    Stupid move,no idea move,very question mark

  5. chiadam - Jul 4, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    To summarize, the Cubs turned the 4th pick in the draft and two of the top five available starting pitchers into Kyle Schwarber and yet another SS. Not a pitcher to be seen. What on Earth are they doing? It’s all about pitching.

    • apkyletexas - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:40 PM

      “It’s all about pitching”. It hasn’t been all about pitching since at least the mid-70’s, I’m afraid. Maybe the 60’s. Watch re-runs of last year’s World Series if you need evidence.

    • bigmeechy74 - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:43 PM

      no. actually it isn’t “all about pitching.” It’s all about acquiring talent. Period. It’s a great deal for the Cubs. Try to use your brain

    • sabatimus - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:56 PM

      Cubs don’t want to win.

      • bigmeechy74 - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:16 AM


    • alacla9 - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:39 AM

      offense first, defense/pitching 2nd is how it goes these days .

      • bigmeechy74 - Jul 6, 2014 at 5:22 PM


    • bleedgreen - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      It’s all about pitching? Then why did the Phillies fail to win a WS with Halladay, Hamels, Lee, Oswalt and Blanton? Halladay Hamels and Lee were all in the Cy Young top 5 that year. If 3 of your 5 guys are in the Cy Young conversation, and Oswalt was filthy for a stretch that year also, they win 102 games and fail to even GET to the WS. You need to be able to score runs also.

  6. 1harrypairatesties - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    How many Shortstops do we need ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

    • carpi2 - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:38 PM

      The answer, apparently, is three. Three shortstops

    • alacla9 - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:40 AM

      Castro LF, Alcantara CF, Russell SS, Baez 2B.

      • hetrick33 - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:57 AM

        Actually it’ll probably be…..Baez 2B, Russell SS, Castro 3B (has frame to bulk up more and hit for more power as he has started too this year), Bryant LF, Alcantara CF

  7. chill1184 - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:07 PM

    Billy Beane is sick of his seeing his team with first round exits in the playoffs this was a ballsy trade. This also takes a big pitcher off the market so the question now is; Who empties their farm for Price?

    • derklempner - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:18 AM

      Seeing this trade happen, and if they can sign him to an extension before the trade, what’s to stop the Cubs from dealing away Baez or Alcantara for Price? When you have the highly-touted prospects overflowing your farm system, you can afford to sweeten a deal for some MLB-proven talent.

      • chill1184 - Jul 5, 2014 at 7:29 AM

        Question would be in that regard then Is either Baez or Alcantara straight up enough to get Friedman to trade Price? Friedman is quite the crafty one down in Tampa Bay

      • bigmeechy74 - Jul 5, 2014 at 11:55 AM

        why would they trade for price? You want them to give up future players for 1.5 years of Price? Why?

      • derklempner - Jul 7, 2014 at 3:25 AM

        bigmeechy74 wrote:

        why would they trade for price? You want them to give up future players for 1.5 years of Price? Why?

        You must have missed the first sentence I wrote, where I stated, “…if they can sign him to an extension before the trade…”

  8. breesus09 - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    I hope I’m wrong but I just don’t see how this deal makes sense unless there are other players not being reported. Pitching was our only glaring weakness & we traded are two best for a ss & of. I get that they are both good prospects but what are they going to do about pitching

    • Old Gator - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:21 PM

      Well, they can always make loud noises to distract the opposing batters, I guess. It’s worked just fine for the last 103 years.

      This was a terrific move by the As. I imagine my sunset side pal APBA Guy slurping a cup of Blue Bottle and smiling contentedly. I also imagine Samar…Samar…yeah, him….and Hammel must be beside themselves with happiness and relief. True, they’ll be trading Giordano’s Pizza for Yoshi’s, but just wait till the see their new locker room!

      • rivermaya99 - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:23 PM

        I wish pizza free

      • Old Gator - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:28 PM

        In Chicago it fell from heaven. In Oakland, you have to pay for it. And it isn’t nearly as good out there. Life is all trade-orfs.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:14 AM

        105 yrs gator…

        And we may as well already say 106 yrs…

        sadly I know all too well having been born and grown up outside of Chicago and being a Cubs fan since the mid 70’s…

        Larry Bittner, Bill Bonham, Ray Burris, Jose Cardenal, Randy Hundley, Mick Kelleher, Darold Knowles, Pete LaCock, Bill Madlock, George Mitterwald, Rick Monday, Jerry Morales, Steve Renko, Paul Reuschel, Rick Reuschel, Bruce Sutter, Steve Swisher, Manny Trillo

        My first ever MLB game was at Wrigley in 1976…

      • derklempner - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:22 AM

        Honestly, I don’t care if Samardzija and Hammel are happy to leave the Cubs. I think the Cubs got the steal in this deal, because they have more players they can control longer, and Oakland got a guy who’ll be leaving for the money after next season plus a guy whose contract ends at the end of this season.

        The Cubs have a stacked farm system. They can still trade away some of that for pitching if needed — and it doesn’t have to be prospects, either.

      • chinahand11 - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:23 AM

        Nice sportsfan18. I remember all those guys too. Watching a game where Cardenal got heckled, some guy bellowing Carden-ALLLLL between pitches. My mom and I laughed during Jose’s at bats. “There he goes again.” Loved Manny Trillo and Madlock. Great glove and great bat.

      • Old Gator - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:21 PM

        @derklempner – if you don’ t think Beane took all of that into consideration, you haven’t been paying attention to Beane for the last decade and a half or so. Here in Macondo, we’ve watched a Bataan death march of EYPs gathered up in fire sale after fire sale of solid major league talent flare up, flame out, and disappear orffa the map as if they had been squeezed into a parallel universe like so many watermelon seeds. Yes, it’s a good thing to have great prospects but another thing to know how to mix them with proven talent and VETERAN PRESENCE and sculpt a championship team. It’s a thin line that divides Madam Curie from cold fusion, you know?

    • alacla9 - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:42 AM

      they must be depending on young strong throwing pen with average starters.

  9. podcastratedd - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    11 pm on Friday night, also the 4th of July…and this deal happens? Feels weird. Like the Cubs were waiting for someone to get drunk and trade for Samardjizsaszaa and it actually worked.

  10. snitor - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    The fact that fans of both teams are complaining means it is a good deal for all involved. A’s are having their best chance in 10 years and Cubs would not benefit from neither of the pitchers come 2016.

  11. kev86 - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    I like the deal for the A’s. I think the Cubs will trade more considering their wealth at SS. They should call the Mets.

    • clydeserra - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:50 PM

      I think both teams are making other moves based on this trade.

      I am very sad to see russell go. mean a QO to lowrie and he is the SS of 2015.

      The A’s can dump mills easily, but stashing Milone or Chavez seems weird.

      Also, there is no room on the 25 for both. mills is D’dFA for one, but the other?

  12. jacobk621 - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    Jeff was the guy the Orioles had on their radar ,,but as usual didn’t make it happen ,,, now who do they turn their sights on ?? They need another starter badly !!!

    • salsashark2004 - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:35 AM

      I’m actually glad the O’s didn’t trade for him. I cannot shake the feeling that it would have been a disaster, or at least less than a success. Of course, maybe he would have continued pitching well and led us to the World Series. You never know.

  13. tigers182 - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:47 PM

    Talent-wise, the Cubs couldn’t do better than what the A’s gave up. Russell can be flipped for a pitcher at any point and just because they are shortstops today, doesn’t mean they can’t play other positions, and free agency also offers pitching. If I were a Cubs fan, I’d be doing cartwheels over this trade.

  14. bigmeechy74 - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:48 PM


    • rivermaya99 - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:51 PM

      Caps are overated should destroy computer

    • derklempner - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:24 AM

      You seem to have a defective keyboard.

      • bigmeechy74 - Jul 5, 2014 at 11:46 AM

        Just got back from the repair shop. It’s fixed now

    • chiadam - Jul 5, 2014 at 7:42 AM

      They can try trading for pitching prospects, moron.

      • bigmeechy74 - Jul 5, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        thank god you don’t work in the front office. Because you are stupid.

  15. rawdog2013 - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:53 PM

    Beane is all in. I like it. We could use another infielder with BA.

    Sick of getting knocked out of the 1st round!

    • jwbiii - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:39 AM

      Yeah, I figured the Cubs would be throwing in one of their 2B men (Barney, Bonifacio, Valbuena).

  16. zdravit - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:25 AM

    Terrible deal for both of these horrendous franchises. Veto.

    • rivermaya99 - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:30 AM

      Athletics good veto, very veto good

      I don’t know veto but it’s good

  17. cincinata - Jul 5, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    I don’t like this deal for the Cubs. It is said that pitchers do not usually reach their potential until they are 26-28 years old and in the league for some time. The Cubs gave up Samardzjia at the wrong time. And Hammal could be in that same class. I remember that the Cards did this years ago with a guy named Carlton who went on to win many games and some W-S games too for the Phils. This smells a like that to me. We will see. What I don’t understand is why give up an ACE just because he might cost you more money? He is a potential 20-25 game winner with a team that can score some runs. How much is that worth? None of the “potential” stars won a game for you yet.

    • paperlions - Jul 5, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      To the Cubs, it’s not worth nearly as much as they got in return. Samardzija has already stated that he is going to FA and will sign with the highest bidder. He has rejected all offers from the Cubs and refused to engage in negotiations. After 2015, all they would get is a comp pick for him. They traded 50 starts during a time that they would not have been competitive for a LOT more than that….plus, if he gets hurt in the mean time, they get nothing for him.

      This is a fantastic trade for the Cubs. They are looking scary-good starting 2016. They will have a lot of $$ and prospects to throw at any pitching problems.

    • bigmeechy74 - Jul 5, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      this has absolutely nothing to do with the cubs not wanting to spend money. They are in it for the long haul. they are stacking up as much young talent as possible. And a franchise SS is worth more than any pitcher besides maybe Kershaw

  18. vikings84 - Jul 5, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    I like this deal for the A’s. The Cubs should not keep stockpiling shortstops like this. They already have Starlin Castro who is young, Javier Baez who is a great prospect, and now Addison Russel? Unless they are looking to make a trade I just don’t get it.

    • Old Gator - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      I don’t get people who save rubber bands, string, aluminum foils or cicada husks either.

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