Athletics To Acquire Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel
The pair of Cubs hurlers had long been rumored to be among the best arms likely to change hands over the summer, but I don't think anybody expected them to go to the same team, as both were expected to have many suitors.
Hammel is a sturdy option to bolster the A's rotation down the stretch, as he owns a solid 2.98 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 through 102 2/3 innings this season after signing a one-year $6MM deal with the Cubs this past offseason.
Hammel might have been the most attractive mid-level starter available at the deadline if he had remained on the market.
Samardzija, on the other hand, represents a possible long-term piece for Oakland, as he is in under team control through the 2015 season. He is earning a modest $5.35MM this season, and though his excellent 2.83 ERA will likely give him a significant raise next year, he surely projects to deliver significant value for the A's.
He gives the A's a dominant starter to roll out there come playoff season, something they have lacked over the last two years.
Oakland also has the option of pursuing an extension with Samardzija over the next year and change as well if they wish to do so.
It is not as if Oakland acquired these two arms cheaply, though, as they had to part with their 20-year-old shortstop Addison Russell in the package back to Chicago.
Russell is far and away the As best-regarded prospect, with a wide consensus throughout the game that he is one of the top pre-MLB players in the game today.
This move should give Oakland a advantage over the Angels and Mariners for the division crown, as they are adding two strong arms to a team that already leads MLB by far in run differential (+129).