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The Oakland A’s have acquired right-handed starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for shortstop Addison Russell, outfielder Billy McKinney, right-handed starting pitcher Dan Straily and a player to be named later or cash considerations, the team announced today.
In a corresponding 40-man roster move, the A’s have also designated Triple-A outfielder Nick Buss for assignment.
Samardzija (pronounced suh-MAHR-jah), 29, currently ranks 10th in ERA among National League starting pitchers with a 2.83 figure and 2-7 record in 17 games, all starts, for the Cubs. The 6-5, 225-pound right-hander has struck out 103 batters, walked only 31 and allowed 99 hits in 108.0 innings. He has posted a 1.20 WHIP and yielded a .245 opponents’ batting average this season.
The Merrillville, Ind. native has averaged 8.84 strikeouts per nine innings since the start of the 2011 season, the seventh-best mark in the National League during that period. Samardzija was also one of four NL pitchers last year to reach 213.2 innings and 214 strikeouts, joining the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, the Phillies’ Cliff Lee and the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright.
He was chosen by the Cubs in the fifth round of the 2006 Draft out of Notre Dame, where he was first team All-Big East in baseball and a first team All-America tight end in football. In seven major league seasons, Samardzija has registered a 31-42 record and 3.97 ERA in 206 games, 83 starts. He has logged 666.0 innings, allowing 621 hits and 330 runs (294 earned) while striking out 639 batters and walking 265.
Hammel, 31, has chiseled out a 7-5 record and a 2.98 ERA in 16 games, all starts, for the last-place Cubs this season, yielding 83 hits and only 21 walks in 102.2 innings, and striking out 97. His 1.01 WHIP ranks fourth among National League starting pitchers, while his .222 opponents’ batting average ranks seventh. He ranks 13th in the NL in walks per nine innings (1.84) and finished in the league’s Top 10 in both 2009 and 2010 in that category.
Hammel earned his seventh win yesterday in Washington, where he struck out seven Nationals and walked two while giving up five hits and two runs (both earned) in 6.0 innings in Chicago’s 7-2 victory.
The 6-6, 225 pound Greenville, S.C. product has started 20 or more games each of the past five Major League seasons (2009-2013). Hammel, who owns a 56-64 record in 231 career games (174 starts) and 1,092 innings, pitched a one-hitter for Baltimore on June 16, 2012 at Atlanta, allowing only a two-out, seventh-inning single to Jason Heyward.
Originally selected in the 10th round of the 2002 Draft by Tampa Bay, he was named the Rays’ 2005 Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He’s pitched in nine Major League seasons with Tampa Bay (2006-08), Colorado (2009-2011), Baltimore (2012-13) and the Cubs.
Russell, named the A’s No. 1 prospect by Baseball America following the 2012 and 2013 seasons, has been a .302 hitter in three minor league seasons. After returning from an early-season hamstring injury, the 20-year-old infielder has batted .297 with three doubles, one triple, one home run and nine RBI in 18 combined games in Single-A Stockton and Double-A Midland. Russell was selected in the first round (11th overall) by Oakland in the 2012 First-Player Draft.
McKinney, the A’s first-round choice in last year’s First-Year Player Draft, is batting .241 with 12 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs and 33 RBI in 75 games with the A’s Single-A affiliate in Stockton. The 19-year-old outfielder hit .353 with one homer and six RBI in nine games for Short-A Vermont after signing last year.
Straily, 25, has spent most of the season with Triple-A Sacramento, compiling a 4-3 record and 4.71 ERA in 10 games, all starts. He has allowed 54 hits and nine home runs in 63.0 innings, striking out 67 and walking 26. Earlier this season, he also pitched for Oakland, posting a 1-2 mark and 4.93 ERA in seven games (all starts) and 38.1 innings. He entered this season with a 12-9 career record and 3.94 ERA on the big league level with the A’s in 34 games (all starts), allowing 168 hits in 191.2 innings. Straily was 10-8 with a 3.96 ERA for the 2013 AL West Champions.
Buss was hitting .261 with three doubles, three triples, one home run and 16 RBI in 26 games for Sacramento.
The A's media services contributed to this report