As if the Oakland A's didn't already have the best starting rotation in baseball, they go out and acquire Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs. In exchange, the Cubs get pitcher Dan Straily and prospects Addison Russell and Billy McKinney.
Although Samardzija is only 2-7, he has a respectable ERA of 2.83. The Cubs simply haven't scored many runs for him. As for Hammel, after toiling with the Rays, Rockies and Orioles, he was having a breakthrough season with a record of 8-5 and a 2.98 ERA. His last win with the Cubs came on Friday with six strong innings against the Washington Nationals. I was watching the game on the MLB Network and Nationals commentators Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo were puzzled as to why Cubs manager Rick Renteria lifted Hammel after six innings and only 92 pitches thrown. Now it makes perfect sense.
Now the A's have six strong starting pitchers - Samardzija, Hammel, Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez and Tommy Milone. Which one of them goes to the bullpen? Or does Bob Melvin deploy a six-man rotation? Whatever the case, the A's have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to pitching. An "embarrassment" that should ebe enough for the A's to hold off the Angels and Mariners in the AL West.
As for the Cubs, the firesale has begun and the World Series draught gets a little longer.