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The Oakland Athletics have made a major boost to their starting rotation, as they have agreed to a deal with the Chicago Cubs, which sends Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland.
In exchange, the Cubs receive highly touted shortstop prospect, Addison Russell, along with outfield prospect Billy McKinney, and starting pitcher Dan Straily. There is also another player in the deal who is yet to be named, this according to CBS Sports.
The Chicago Cubs are in last place in the National League Central, sitting 12.5 games behind the first place Milwaukee Brewers. It had been speculated for months that the Cubs would try to deal Samardzija, as the Cubs were never going to be contenders this year. They managed to get some value back for their ace, whose contract is due to expire in 2016. The former All-American wide receiver at Notre Dame is having his best season in the majors, though it has only resulted in two wins, as he never seems to get much run support from the lackluster Cubs lineup.
The Athletics currently have a 3.5 game lead over the second place Angels in the American League West, and the additions of Samardzija and Hammel should help them hold on to win their third straight division title. While Samardzija is the biggest name in the deal, Hammel is a nice pick up for the A’s as well. The 6’6 right hander is having a breakout season, with a career best 2.98 ERA, and a 1.021 WHIP.
The rewards from the trade should be immediate for the A’s, but it could take a few years before we know if it was a good deal for the Cubs. According to Bleacher Report, the Cubs already have a budding star at shortstop in Javier Baez, and giving up two quality starters to get a prospect who plays a position that is already filled doesn’t seem to make all that much sense.