Fireworks of a different kind were fired off late Friday night as the first official blockbuster trade of the 2014 trade deadline was completed between the Chicago Cubs and Oakland A’s. The little engine that could out by the bay have officially announced their presence with the eye-popping move to acquire not only Jeff Samardzija, but Jason Hammel as well from the Cubs. Oakland extremely bolstered its starting rotation two folds by landing two quality right-handers from Chicago.
For the landscape as a whole, this now puts everyone on notice that the A’s are in fact going for it all this season. They have been the best team for the most part of the year, have had pretty solid starting pitching already and are now adding to an already strong team. Does this move now also turn attention to the David Price sweepstakes? Price now arguably becomes the most coveted trade piece on the market. Also in the American League, can anyone now compete with the A’s?
The fact that Billy Beane and the A’s were able to get both Samardzija and Hammel is very surprising. The duo will now join Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir and Jesse Chavez to complete an imposing starting five. Both Hammel and Samardzija sport a sub 3.00 ERA and the A’s now have five of the top-30 pitchers in ERA. Oakland already leads the league in ERA and this move will only make it better.
In return, Chicago lands top prospect Addison Russel, Dan Straily, Billy McKinney and a player to be named later. While Russel is a quality player to land, the Cubs really appear to be on the losing end of this deal. They could have potentially landed a lot more for both of their top right-handers. Samardzija alone could have landed two or three prospects from a different team. The player to be named later will have to be a real difference maker for the Cubs to come out somewhat decent in this move.
The move now leads a gaping hole at the front of the Cubs’ staff. Jake Arrieta and Travis Wood will be 1-2, with Edwin Jackson and two open spots to follow. With the Cubs not receiving multiple big-league ready arms in return is a head-scratcher. The Cubs have been playing well as of late, and this move is almost a ralley killer at this time for the team. Chicago and the fanbase will only be left to wonder, could we have done better? Could we have received more in return?
For Oakland, it is certainly now the team to beat in the AL, if not all of baseball. The team is indeed going for it with this mega deal. The fireworks are officially underway in the trading frenzy.
Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.