The Oakland Athletics have pulled an uncharacteristic move, at least in recent memory. They are currently one of the best, if not the best, teams in baseball. Instead of trading for prospects, Billy Beane has gone for it all. Frankly a move that a loyal and devoted fan base deserves.
Today Billy Beane has worked his magic and acquired Cubs pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. In return, Theo Epstein and the Cubs receive stud prospect Addison Russell as well as pitcher Dan Straily and Billy McKinny. There is also the proverbial player to be named later. This appears to be the final major move in the youth movement that Theo Epstein brought to Chicago.
The Oakland Athletics will now take, arguably, one of the best rotations in baseball to each ballpark they visit this year. The top five of the Athletics rotation now includes Cy Young contender Sonny Gray, Jeff Samardzija, Scott Kazmir, Jason Hammel and Tommy Milone. When you consider this rotation does not even include Drew Pomeranz, Jarrod Parker or A.J. Griffin (all suffering injuries of varying degrees) things can get really difficult for the AL West, American League and any team the Athletics might face in the World Series.
Is it a bit over the top to say they are destined to play in the World Series this year? Probably but they are the most likely contender at this point in time. The construction of this staff and their lineup does not give the impression things will go south in the near future. this team is not built or dependent on facet that leads to long losing streaks.
The Athletics did send their last two first round picks and more to Chicago to consummate the deal but it is time for Billy Beane to roll the dice. When you do not carry a top-5 MLB payroll then there is a window to win. That window is now for the Athletics and they learned in last year’s playoff loss that more pitching firepower is needed. Now they have it, the other 29 teams in MLB better look out over the next couple of years.