The Chicago Cubs are a whopping 4-13 since pulling off a blockbuster deal that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for a haul of prospects. Since the deal was made based on future returns some fans are struggling to agree with the move in the present (but can you blame them?). No one expected the Cubs to be very good this year but, in year three of the “Theo Epstein Era”, fans had hoped for something a little better than 42-59 at this point in the year. Since the trade was made, the Cubs have been plagued by all the same problems that plagued them before hand; the inability to score more runs than their pitchers give up. From July 5th through July 24th the Cubs have been outscored 105 to 51 in 16 games; that’s an average score of 6.56 to 3.19.
There has been a lot of backlash from fans that believe that the reason for the Cubs awful pitching performance is due to losing Samardzija and Hammel when in fact the guys who have filled the void have pitched very well. Kyle Hendricks (2.77 ERA, 2 starts), Dallas Beeler (3.27 ERA, 2 starts) have performed much better than expected and Tsuyoshi Wada (5.00 ERA, 2 starts) threw five scoreless innings in his first start before being roughed up this week. The problem, in fact, has been the poor performances from the offense (excluding Anthony Rizzo) and the rest of the pitching staff, namely Justin Grimm and Edwin Jackson (ERAs of 11.17 and 6.75 in their last 10 starts). As a matter of fact, Jason Hammel has been worse than all three of the Cubs replacement pitchers since the trade, going 0-3 with an ERA of 7.11 since joining the A’s.
Waiting for delayed gratification is one of the hardest things to do in life, but this trade will pay off. Addison Russell is one of the top prospects in baseball, Billy McKinney is a very talented, young outfielder and Dan Straily has shown that he can be an effective big league starter. The silver lining in all of this is that for all the criticism that the Cubs’ pitching prospects have taken, they are performing well above anyone’s expectations. Hendricks and Beeler, in particular, are proving that the Cubs’ farm system isn’t just about the hitters; they can pitch it a little bit too.
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Tags: Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Baseball, Chicago, Chicago Cubs, Dallas Beeler, Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel, Jeff Samardzija, Justin Grimm, Kyle Hendricks, MLB, Oakland Athletics, Theo Epstein, Tsuyoshi Wada