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Athletics Trade Prospects for Two Starting Pitchers

The Oakland Athletics are in first place in the American League West by 3 ½ games over the Los Angeles Angels. The A’s own the best record in baseball at 53-33 and have an amazing run differential of +129.

In this Major League Baseball season of parity, the A’s have out shined the rest of the league. Oakland clearly is the favorite to win the World Series.

However, Oakland with its powerful offense had a flaw and Billy Beane the General Manager could not afford to allow his team to wither away as his pitching rotation slowly fell apart.

Beane should be given a great deal of credit for having the intestinal fortitude to trade Oakland’s Double-A shortstop, 20-year old Addison Russell and outfielder Billy McKinney from Class A for two new members of the starting rotation for the Chicago Cubs Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija.

The two will now join ace Scott Kazmir, Sonny Gray and another pitcher on the roster in the revamped starting rotation for Oakland.

The move by Beane likely made the starting rotation for Oakland the best in the American League to go along with what has been the best offense in the league.

The A’s rotation is the leader in ERA in the AL, which is surprising given A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker suffered injuries that ended their seasons during spring training.

However, the rotation has become worse with each passing month. Jesse Chavez and Gray have not pitched an entire season at the big league level. Kazmir has not pitched over 158 innings in 7 seasons.

The additional of Hammel and Samardzija, who each have an ERA below 3.00, gives Oakland two pitchers with confidence and experience.

Beane knows he must take advantage of this season, as he is aware it will start to become hard to keep the team together because of finances.

Next season Josh Davidson will become expensive and Brandon Moss is in line for an increase in pay. Jed Lowrie becomes a free agent following the season and possibly the most troubling, slugger Yoenis Cespedes will become a free agent following the 2015 season.

Prospects are hard to come by and in baseball are coveted. It was difficult for Beane to pull the trigger on the trade that sent Russell away as he was the team’s shortstop of the future.

However, Beane wants the World Series title and the trade he made Friday makes his team the new favorite to win it.

Samardzija is 2-7 on the season with an ERA of 2.83. Hammel this season is 7-5 with an ERA of 2.98. He won on Friday versus the Washington Nationals.

Hammel will be a free agent following this season. Samardzija has a year of arbitration prior to being a free agent.

With the trade on Friday, all five of Oakland’s starting rotation is amongst the top 35 qualified starters in baseball in ERA.

Kazmir has the lowest ERA at 2.61 ranking him 12th, while Chavez has the rotation’s highest at 3.22 making 33rd.

Now Beane hopes the cards all fall right and he can raise the World Series trophy in victory in October.

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