Late last night the Chicago Cubs pulled the trigger on a blockbuster deal that sent Jeff Samardzija AND Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for SS Addison Russell, OF Billy McKinney and RHP Dan Strailey. This deal comes as a huge surprise to most because of its timing and its impact. Most expected for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to hang on to Samardzija and Hammel until much closer to the July 31st trade deadline and no one foresaw both pitchers being shipped to the same team. But the Cubs got an offer they just couldn’t refuse, so lets take a minute and see who the newest member of the team are.
Addison Russell, the 11 ranked overall prospect by MLB.com, is the centerpiece of this deal. The 11th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Russell is very similar to Arismendy Alcantara in his style of play but has shown more home run power. In 107 games at A+ in 2013, Russell hit .275 with 29 doubles, 10 triples, 17 home runs and 21 stolen bases. Russell complicates the Cubs’ future though as he is yet another shortstop who will be thrown into the mix along with Javier Baez and Starlin Castro. The good news is that at just 20 years old, there is plenty of time to figure out how he will fit into the Cubs’ future lineup.
Billy McKinney was the A’s first round pick in the 2013 draft and projects to be a very good centerfielder in the future. McKinney has slowed up a bit this year in A+, but last year between rookie ball and A- he hit .326 with three home runs and eight stolen bases in 55 games. But at just 19 years old, it will be a few years before we see him in the major leagues.
Dan Strailey is the piece of this trade who the Cubs can use right now. He has been between the major leagues and AAA this season but in 2013 Strailey had a strong campaign. The now 25 year old went 10-8 with a 3.96 ERA in a very competitive American League West and finished fourth in AL rookie of the year voting. We are still waiting to hear if Strailey will be with the Cubs or if he will start in AAA.
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