Oakland, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Oakland Athletics have made a bold move to bolster their starting rotation, acquiring pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs in a blockbuster deal.
To land Samardzija, whose 2.83 earned run average this season ranked 10th among National League hurlers, and Hammel, the A's surrendered the top two rated players in their farm system in Double-A shortstop Addison Russell and Single-A outfielder Billy McKinney.
The Cubs also received pitcher Dan Straily, a 10-game winner for Oakland last season, and will obtain either a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Samardzija has pitched well for the Cubs this season despite his 2-7 record, as Chicago has been shut out five times over his 17 starts and scored two or less runs in 11 of those outings.
The right-hander, who reportedly turned down a recent contract extension offer from the Cubs, has struck out 103 batters in 108 innings pitched this year.
"I'm coming to a team that has done fine without me and I'm just looking to do my part," said Samardzija. "Hopefully, I add to the depth of the pitching staff."
Hammel, a free agent following the conclusion of this season, has also been solid in 2014. The 31-year-old righty has compiled an 8-5 mark with a 2.98 ERA over 17 starts, and heads back to the American League after spending the previous two seasons with the Baltimore Orioles.
While the A's have strengthened their pitching staff, the Cubs continue to stockpile young talent with the addition of a pair of former first-round picks in Russell and McKinney.
Russell, the 11th overall selection in the 2012 MLB Draft, has hit .302 with 25 home runs and 114 RBI over 183 games throughout Oakland's farm system.
McKinney, 19, was selected 24th overall in 2013 and has hit 10 homers with 33 RBI in 75 games this season for Stockton of the California League.
Straily finished fourth in voting for the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year award after going 10-8 with a 3.96 ERA over 27 starts last season, but has split the 2014 campaign between Oakland and Triple-A Sacramento. The 25-year-old righty put together a 13-11 record with a 4.11 ERA over 41 overall starts with the A's.
To open a roster spot for Samardzija, the Athletics optioned pitcher Tommy Milone to Triple-A Sacramento. Milone was 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA in 16 starts for Oakland this season. He was 6-0 in his last 11 outings.