A’s continue fire sale with Samardzija trade

The best tight end to ever pitch a shutout at the Oakland Coliseum is headed back to Chicago.

Jeff Samardzija, who the A’s acquired in a trade with the Cubs on the Fourth of July, was traded Tuesday to the White Sox for a trio of minor league prospects.

Oakland lost their top prospect — shortstop Addison Russell — in the move that brought Samardzija to the Green and Gold, but will restock some minor-league depth with their newest young players.

Samardzija pitched well for Oakland, recording a 3.14 ERA and 0.931 WHIP in 16 starts. He won just five starts with the A’s despite numerous masterful outings.

Marcus Semien, a 24-year-old Bay Area native, will supplant the A’s middle infield. In exactly 300 major league at-bats, Semien has eight home runs, 35 RBI and has scored 37 runs with a .240 batting average.

The A’s will also receive a starting pitching prospect in 25-year-old Chris Bassitt, catcher Josh Phegley and infielder Rangel Ravelo.

Bassitt began the 2014 season on the disabled list with a broken right finger before combining for a 3-1 record and a 2.08 ERA in nine games, eight starts, with two clubs in the White Sox farm system. The 25-year-old right-hander has a 22-10 record and a 2.97 ERA in 96 games and four minor league seasons.

Phegley spent most of the 2014 season at Triple-A Charlotte, batting .274 with 23 home runs and 75 RBI in 107 games. He ranked third in the International League in home runs and slugging percentage (.530).

The 24-year-old right-handed hitter also hit .216 with three home runs and seven RBI in 11 games with the White Sox in September.

Ravelo, formerly one of Chicago’s top prospects, hit .309 with 37 doubles, four triples, 11 home runs and 66 RBI in 133 games in his Double-A debut with Birmingham last year.

The 22-year-old right-handed hitter appeared in 108 games at first base after beginning his career as a third baseman. Ravelo was a sixth round pick in the 2010 draft.

The move comes just one rotation of the earth after first baseman Brandon Moss was traded to Cleveland for infield prospect Joey Wendle.

Samardzija, who was one of the nation’s best college tight ends at Notre Dame, was one of the hottest names burning on the rumor mill since the dawn of this offseason. He became an even bigger name following the trade of third baseman Josh Donaldson.

A fire sale of Athletics has continued, and might not end with the most athletic player that was on their roster.

Most had difficulty finding reason in the moves Beane has made over the last month, though things are becoming clearer. There have been two trends in the players received.

Youth is the first. Brett Lawrie was the biggest name in the Donaldson trade, and at 24 years old, is one of the older new players. Defensive prowess is the other.

Beane seems to have been inspired by the Kansas City Royals, a team chock full of youth and speed, and without much top pitching.

The Royals beat the A’s in the Wild Card and went on to represent the American League in the World Series, though they quickly became kibble for the World Champion San Francisco Giants.

Just about all of the nationally-known names on the A’s roster are gone now, with their most valuable player now being catcher Derek Norris. And at this point, he could be packing up before April, too.


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