Cubs Send Samardzija and Hammel to Oakland for Addison Russell, Billy McKinney, Dan Straily and PTBNL

The Cubs and Athletics not only jump started the trade season Friday night, the two teams kicked the door in with a six-player blockbuster that sent RHP Jeff Samardzija and RHP Jason Hammel to Oakland for SS Addison Russell, OF Billy McKinney, RHP Dan Straily and a PTBNL.

Speculation started not long after the Cubs beat the Nationals Friday afternoon that a deal could be in the works for Jason Hammel. And at least Hammel now knows why Rick Renteria pulled him Saturday after throwing only 92 pitches. But no one saw the Cubs trading both Samardzija and Hammel to the same team in the same deal.

According to Jeff Passan, the deal between the Cubs and A’s came together Friday morning. The two teams started discussing Jeff Samardzija a month ago, re-engaged talks about Samardzija Monday and Jason Hammel was first discussed Wednesday.

The Cubs acquired one of the best prospects in the game in Addison Russell that was considered untouchable, the A’s first round pick from a year ago in OF Billy McKinney and RHP Dan Straily, who was 10-8 last season for Oakland in 27 starts with a 3.96 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. Straily has been assigned to Triple-A Iowa, for now. The Cubs will also receive a PTBNL in the deal according to multiple reports and the fourth player coming back in the deal should be a pitcher.

Keith Law broke the six player trade down as follows: Addison Russell and Dan Straily for Jeff Samardzija and Billy McKinney straight up for Jason Hammel. Law understands the PTBNL “won’t change the balance of the deal.”

Once the trade is made official, the Cubs will have an open spot on the 40-man roster. With the subtractions of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel and the addition of Dan Straily, the Cubs 40-man roster will officially stand at 39 players.

The Cubs now have arguably the best system in baseball with the additions of Addison Russell and Billy McKinney. And according to Jason Parks, the Cubs have three of the top six prospects in the game and four of the top 18. Baseball America will have Kris Bryant (2), Addison Russell (5) and Javier Baez (7) and Arismendy Alcantara (33) in its Midseason Top 50 that went to press Thursday.

The Cubs have an impressive group of shortstops in the system and the fact that shortstops are typically the most athletic players on the field that gives the Cubs flexibility moving forward.

Addison Russell

Oakland selected Addison Russell in the first round of the 2012 draft (11th overall pick) and he is considered one of the premier shortstop prospects in the game. Russell is 6-foot, 195 pounds and he “can do everything on a baseball field” according to Baseball America.

PrintRussell has the ability in the field to be a Gold Glove shortstop and he “generates explosive bat speed and has the bat-to-ball skills to make consistent contact.” Russell uses the entire field and has an excellent approach at the plate. Russell does not have a cannon for an arm, according to Baseball America, but it’s strong enough for shortstop and he makes up for a possible lack of arm strength with a quick release and accuracy.

Addison Russell hit .269/.369/.495 in 110 games last season between High-A Stockton and Triple-A Sacramento with 29 doubles, 10 triples, 17 home runs, 61 walks, 125 strikeouts, 21 stolen bases and a .865 OPS. This season in 13 games at the Double-A level, Russell is hitting .333/.439/.500 (16-for-48) with three doubles, a triple, a home run, eight walks, eight strikeouts, three stolen bases (caught twice) with a .939 OPS.

Russell has played in only 13 games at the Double-A level this season due to a hamstring tear that cost him basically half a season of development.

Albert Almora and Kris Bryant played with Addison Russell in the Arizona Fall League last year and welcomed Russell to the Cubs’ organization on Twitter after the trade was leaked. Russell thanked Bryant and said he was hoping to play with Bryant again and is stoked about the trade.

Billy McKinney

The Athletics selected OF Billy McKinney in the first round of the 2013 draft (24th overall pick). McKinney has been playing centerfield for High-A Stockton but he projects as a left fielder. The A’s skipped him over the Midwest League and he hasn’t been over-matched according to BA based on his strikeout-to-walk rate.

Baseball America ranked Billy McKinney as the second best prospect in the A’s system, behind Russell, prior to the season.

McKinney (6-foot-1, 195 pounds) was playing high school ball a year ago. McKinney is the second youngest player in the California League and the lefty is hitting .241/.330/.400 with 12 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs, 36 walks, 58 strikeouts and a .730 OPS.

According to Keith Law, Billy McKinney is a “pure left fielder with a pretty left-handed swing that he can repeat well and with good loft in hits finish.”

Dan Straily

According to Keith Law, RHP Dan Straily is more than just a throw in the deal. Straily features a four-pitch mix with an above average slider. Law described his fastball as “fringy” and Straily admitted he’s been working on and making progress with his fastball command this season. Baseball America ranked Straily as the sixth best prospect in the A’s system before the 2013 season. Straily posted a 10-8 last season for Oakland in 27 starts with a 3.96 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.

Straily is 4-3 in 10 starts this season for Triple-A Sacramento with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. In 63 innings, he has allowed 33 runs on 54 hits with 67 strikeouts and 26 walks.

Dan Straily has been assigned to Triple-A Iowa for now. During an interview on MLB Network Radio, Straily confirmed he had been assigned to Iowa and will stay there for a little while until the Cubs work out the rotation at the big league level and in Iowa.

Straily was added to the A’s 40-man roster in 2012 and was on an optional assignment in 2013 and 2014. Straily will be out of minor league options after this season but is not eligible for free agency until after the 2019 season.

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  • Theboardrider

    Just read a rumor the PTBNL may be Raul Alcantra. If true thats a pretty nice piece. Rehabbing from TJ but lots of upside.

    • Theboardrider

      David Driver is also mentioned. Probably higher ceiling than Alcantara but very raw. I may prefer him though because I’d rather have a potential TOR even if he’s years away from becoming that and could never amount to anything. I’ll take potential in my PTBNL’s. Alcantara is viewed as a #3 or a reliever. However scouts really like him.

      • Neil

        Just be careful. I know where you read that, I am not sure where it originated. I have heard one of those names. A lot of information is floating around. The reason I caution, if you build up the player and it turns out to be a filler, it could change your view of the trade.

        • J Daniel

          Neil, do you sleep? GREAT JOB as usual! I have stated a number of times there is no need whatsoever to go to any other site for Cub info as this is THE BEST SITE out there. The reason, IMHO, that is is the best is your quote to Board … “Just be careful. I know where you read that.” Point is, Neil just posts facts.

          THANK YOU!

        • Theboardrider

          Thanks Neil. I like the trade no matter what.

        • Theboardrider

          Guess I just wanted to have an idea of the type of player. Maybe spark some discussion. But I get your point and appreciate your take.

          • J Daniel

            Board, man, love your posts! Keep it up as it does spark discussion. Go Cubs Go!

  • Theboardrider

    I’ve been checking some Cubs sites just to see opinions on the trade. So far I haven’t seen one that isn’t a big fan of the trade. Basically amongst the most informed the trade is being viewed as a big win for the Cubs. A’s get a big win too so it’s good for both. But I haven’t seen any “expert,” that doesn’t think te Cubs came out like bandits.

    • Tony_H

      The ones who don’t like the trade don’t like that they didn’t get a single player that will be added to the 25 man roster right now. They are mad at the Cubs for trading Samardzija and Hammel for more prospects. This same group (not just on here but in general) complained about the Cubs draft and how they went cheap with Schwarber, not seeing that this would lead to a trio of HS arms in Sands, Steele and Cease. My father in law is in this group and always blasts every thing they do. But when I explain the reasoning (like Hammel is a FA after this year and Samardzija won’t sign an extension) he then says, I guess that makes sense then.

      • J Daniel

        I am with you, Tony. Even Mr. Negative Dan Bernstein yesterday said “you can start to see the green shoots sprouting in their plan and when it happens it is going to happen very fast.”

        They have a lot of assets! Picking up Russell allows them to move Baez in another blockbuster or to just bring everyone along. The thing that impresses me about Russell is his contact rate which is much better than Baez. But, Baez can play 2b, 3b, or OF.

        • IUCannon

          I agree on all accounts. Theo and Jed are acquiring top talent and should be able to sign some legit pitching when the time comes. They’ll more than likely move some of these pieces for a guy like the Shark in a few years and then sign him to an extension. This wasn’t going to happen overnight, but it will come sooner than later. I believe they’re on the plan that in 2015 we’ll be young, talented, knocking on the door of contendership, loaded with minor league talent/potential, and have the $ to fill holes where needed. That’s a recipe for long-term success.

      • Theboardrider

        Were not winning a WS this year, so why get guys to add to MLB roster now? I see your point though Tony.

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  • Brp921

    It maybe a crazy idea but Dillon Overton is recovering from TJ and it won’t be known till the end of the summer how well his recovery is. If he is one of the PTBNL candidates and comes back healthy that would give us a top pitching prospect. Being that he’s a couple years away I wouldn’t think it’s to much of a stretch to be a possibility. He was at one time considered a better prospect than Jonathon Gray.

  • J Daniel

    Alcantara was a ss, correct? Looks like he will be playing cf. Point is easy to move athletic guys around so there are a lot of options. Bryant could move to LF, Baez at 3b, Castro to 2b, Russell at ss. This could possibly happen next season as Alcantara, Bryant, Baez, and Russell are all knocking on the door.

    Still aways away though I realize as there will be growing pains involved. But they now have so many HIGH END guys a couple of them are going to bust through and be studs.

    • Tony_H

      I was just reading BP’s Top 10 A’s prospects and Russell’s ETA was late 2014. By June of next year, Baez, Bryant and Russell should all be in Wrigley. If they keep them all and you add them to Castro, Rizzo and Castillo that is 7 of the 8 spots filled.

      I see the Cubs now making a trade with prospects for a SP and a OF bat that they can extend.

      Remember when Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters were our “top” prospects?

      • J Daniel

        Who? Just kidding but how quickly they have fallen off. But those two have been the typical top prospects for this organization, with the exception of Joe Carter and a couple of others, for a very long time. They now have high end prospects that will be high impact MLB players. Team Theo has built a top system in 2.5 years which is the only way to have “sustained success.” It is also the most logical financial way to build this so that, like the Cards, you can replace high salary guys with little or no drop off.

        But once the dust settles and the TV contracts, stadium renovations, and other revenue systems are in place, the Cubs will have CASH and players to do whatever they need to do.

        What would Jackson and Vitters bring in a trade?

      • GaryLeeT

        “I was just reading BP’s Top 10 A’s prospects and Russell’s ETA was late 2014.”

        I am not trying to say Russell isn’t a good return for Samardzija, but none of his numbers are eye popping, and he’s dealt with 2 hamstring injuries this year. Isn’t all the hype based on ceiling versus actual production?

        • Tony_H

          302/390/519/909 are his minor league numbers and that is pretty good. Majority of AB’s are at high A, where he was 3.9 years younger than the league average.

          Not that numbers (production) is the main point of the lower minor leagues. But it looks to me like both.

          • GaryLeeT

            I know a high school player versus someone with 3 years of college is somewhat an apples to oranges comparison, but when I think of a ” no doubter” prospect, I think of Bryant and his numbers. Eye popping at every level.

          • Tony_H

            That is why you need to trust that the talent evaluators can actually see which players are better. And in this case it seems like it it is just like Bryant and Baez, the talent is there.

  • BosephHeyden

    This is the type of trade you make for two really good starting pitchers. Between this, and the last two drafts, there’s very little reason the Cubs can’t start playing a bit more serious next year (read: not necessarily compete).

  • Pingback: From the Wire: Cubs Acquire Addison Russell, Billy McKinney, Dan Straily and PTBNL from A’s for Samardzija and Hammel - Chicago Cubs Online()

  • BillyFinT

    I don’t like Straily; saw him pitch and found him more raw in some aspects of his game than expected.

    The whole deal is a good one, talent-value-wise, for both sides. But again, I don’t want to deal with this kind of trade anymore. Seriously, when can the club keep veteran pitchers and work the team to a winning season? Like, as soon as I’m alive?