Sitting on the best record in baseball (along with the best run differential), Oakland’s acquisition of P’s Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel for highly touted Cubs SS prospect Addison Russell was hailed by at least one observer (and several thousands more) as making the A’s World Series favorites. Alas, not everyone is blown away by Billy Beane’s audacity, specifically Halo’s Heaven’s Rev Halofan, who argues this is actually good news for the 2nd place Angels, given that Beane has “dumping the high end of their farm system”.
The Athletics acquired Jason Hammel, a veteran starting pitcher with an ERA of 4.46 over 78 games (70 of them starts) over the three seasons prior to this one. Sure, he is having a career year with a 2.98 ERA in 17 starts this year but a half-season does not win you a Cy Young. They also acquired Jeff Samrdzija, easily the Cubs best starter. Samzilla is 29 and is immediately the ace of the Oakland staff.
But the A’s have been treading water of late and a few parts on the team that appearaed to playing over their heads are just as likely running out of gas as they are going through statistical fluctuations. Billy Beane now has surplus pitching to make another deal but he is going to need someone with stats plausible enough to bump out a current regular and yet stats that aren’t small-sample mirage.
When they said it was BLOCKBUSTER they are right – Theo Epstein of the Cubs just brought a prospect bonanza to The North Side.