Saturday, July 05, 2014

Cubs Trade Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A's

If you are just tuning in the Chicago Cubs let of some high powered fireworks tonight by trading both Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija to the Oakland A's for SS Addison Russell, P Dan Straily, OF Billy McKinney, and a PTBNL.

Oakland Receives:

The Oakland A's just added more solid win now players to an already solid team.  Both Shark and Jason will slide right into that rotation making them an even stronger favorite to make it deep into the playoffs.

Cubs Receive:

Addison Russell

Yep, the Cubs just got the #7 best prospect in Baseball Prospectus pre-2014 rankings.  I have not seen a ranking worse than #15 before the season started and Jason Parks suggested he would now rank Russell #6 overall in his new prospect rankings which is pretty impressive.  The thing that makes Russell so appealing is he is a true SS which makes his value even higher when you see in just 723 minor league plate appearances he has hit .302 with a .390 OBP and a .909 OPS.  Here is a nice prospect video to wet your whistle!

Dan Straily

A decent sized 25 year old right-handed pitcher that has seen 41 big league starts since 2012.  Over 230 innings in the majors with Oakland he has posted a 4.11 ERA with a 7.4 SO/9 and 3.4 BB/9.  Straily works with 3 above average pitches and is able to stay around the plate. His fastball stays in the low 90s but can hit 95 at times.  Although Straily is nothing "dominate" he could be the diamond in the rough in this deal. Here is a nice little video of Dan Straily.

Billy McKinney

He was selected in the first round of the 2013 draft and is getting some decent buzz for the tools he has. While his stats don't jump off the page they are pretty solid even if it is just high A ball.  he has hit .277 with a .354 OBP in 505 AB since joining the team in 2013.  Bleacher Report has a nice scouting report on McKinney so check that out. 


Many media reports suggest this is not that significant but others are not so sure.  We will likely have this leaked sometime soon but until we do some names to keep an eye on are Raul Alcantara, Nolan Sanburn, Bobby Wahl, and Dillon Overton.

Thoughtful Reactions:

 Theo and Jed pulled a fantastic trade tonight.  Not because they addressed a need but they just acquired the best prospects regardless of position.  Something that many of my followers have suggested in the past. Yes the Cubs did not address their biggest need which was pitching but they might as well have.  The Chicago Cubs now have the #3, #5, #6, and #18 best prospect in the BP Top 50 according the Jason Parks.  Because of that the Cubs can now deal some of their surplus of prospect for other impact talent.  So what I am saying is that we are not done.  I feel the Cubs could and will and still deal guys like Wesley Wright, Darwin Barney, James Russell, and Nate Schierholtz and also think we might see the Cubs make another blockbuster before the trade deadline.  In the end I give this trade a solid B+ because of the overall talent the Cubs received but also feel they did not directly receive the impact TOR pitcher that has been rumored all along.  But to sum this up right now the Cubs have a strong enough farm system to trade for guys like Giancarlo Stanton or David Price and not completely deplete their system.

Until Next Time...

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Source: Cubs & Mariners Discussing Dustin Ackley Trade

A source tells me Chicago Cubs front office have had discussions about acquiring 26 year old current utility man Dustin Ackley.  He went on further to say that the Cubs and Mariners have discussed a trade involving the Mariners getting a player, IFA Bonus Pool money, or both.  The Mariners have been linked to both Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija but this seems smaller move than that said the source. 


Dustin Ackley’s time in Seattle seems to be drawing to a close as he continues to struggle at the plate.  In 1567 PA within 4 seasons Ackley has posted a .241 average with a .309 OBP and just a .350 SLG.  He has been moved around in the lineup and in the field a lot which could be a factor why he has struggled at the plate.  He has played 281 games at 2b, 125 games in the outfield, and 18 games at 1st.  His natural position seems to be 2b but he handles the OF pretty well.  To me it seems like a guy who needs a change of scenery after having some struggles at the big league level. 


So you may ask what makes Ackley so interesting?  Well before the 2011 season Baseball America put Dustin Ackley as its 12th best prospect in baseball while Baseball Prospectus put him at #25 in that same year.  In his minor league career over 1044 PA Ackley has a .290 average with a .397 OBP and a .840 OPS.  He had 149 BB to 131 SO during that span.  There is something not transitioning to the ML level.  We have seen this front office and coaching staff get the most out of its players whether it be Rizzo climb toward stardom, Luis Valbuena’s emergence as a solid Major Leaguer, Arrieta’s ascension to ACE status, etc… We have seen them take players like this and cash in. A move that would send bonus money to the Mariners (who have been linked to big $ IFA) for Dustin Ackley has Theo and Jed written all over it.  This front office seems to take other teams unwanted players or guys their current team has just given up on and breathe new life into them.  And if my source is correct then they think they can do the same with Dustin Ackley.


I guess we will find out soon.


Until Next Time…