OAKLAND — The Oakland A’s already had plenty of heat on the mound. Now they’re on fire.
The A’s acquired starters Jeff Samardjiza and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs, giving up top prospect Addison Russell and two others.
Russell, projected to be a big part of Oakland’s future, found himself sidelined with injuries this season with his progress slowing in the process.
The deal, first reported by Ken Rosenthal, also sent Billy McKinnie, whom Oakland drafted with their first round pick last year, and veteran pitcher Dan Straily.
Samardjiza has been the subject of many trade rumors over the past two years and for good reason. He’s pitched 108 innings this season, striking out 103 and posting an ERA of 2.83. While he’s been hit or miss since coming up to the bigs in 2008, Samardjiza is completely dominant when on his game.
Hammel is in the same category. His career stats, 4.63 ERA in nearly 1,100 innings, aren’t indicative of his career. He played three seasons in the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field for the Rockies, pitching 523 innings with the club.
In those three seasons, Hammel posted no better than 4.33 ERA but added a 2.51 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Simply put, he can dominate too.
In his sole season working the mound in the windy city, Hammel played the best he ever has. A 2.83 ERA and 1.01 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) placed him in trade categories with Samardjiza and other top pitchers, though few believed the two could be packaged in the same deal.
An official announcement of the deal is expected soon.
With the two new faces in the fray, Oakland’s starting rotation would be Sonny Gray, Samardjiza, Scott Kazmir, Hammel and either Jesse Chavez or Drew Pomeranz, who is currently on the disabled list.