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The Oakland As were already the team to beat before making a blockbuster deal to add two starting pitchers from the Chicago Cubs. Numbers Game looks into the As giving up their top prospect in order to acquire Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. The Athletics Get: RHP Jeff Samardzija and RHP Jason Hammel. Samardzija, 29, has become a first-rate starting pitcher, even if his win totals dont make that readily apparent. In 78 starts for the Cubs over the past three years, Samardzija has a 19-33 record, but has a 3.83 ERA and 1.27 WHIP are respectable and he struck out 497 batters in 496 1/3 innings, a rate surpassed by eight qualified starters in the past three years. This season alone, Samardzija was 2-7 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.20 WHIP with 103 strikeouts in 108 innings with the Cubs. While Samardzijas mid-90s fastball drives his results, hes throwing a harder slider than ever before and its been an out pitch for him. Moving to Oakland is a great opportunity for Samardzija to be a rotation anchor for a World Series contender. He had never pitched in Oakland, prior to his As debut Sunday, but Oaklands park has been pitcher-friendly for years, so that ought to keep Samardzijas numbers strong. Hell be arbitration-eligible at the end of the season, due for a good raise on his $5.345-million salary, but Samardzija is under organizational control for another season beyond 2014. Hammel is a 31-year-old who was hanging around on the free agent market until the end of January, when he settled on a one-year, $6-million deal with the Cubs. That lack of interest was justified, to some degree, by Hammels 2013 season, during which he posted a 4.97 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. This year, its been a different story, as Hammel posted a career-best 2.98 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 17 starts with the Cubs, striking out 104 in 108 2/3 innings in the process. For such a marked difference, there ought to be some tangible differences in Hammels game. His home run rate is down and hes leaving a greater percentage of base-runners on, but Hammels real improvement is that his walk rate is under 2.0 for the first time in his career. Hes reduced the percentage of curve balls and change-ups that he throws, focusing on his fastball and slider and, like Samardzija, Hammels slider has been especially devastating this season. In fact, according to Fan Graphs, Hammel has the most effective slider in baseball this season. If Hammel continues the way hes pitched this season, hell be able to cash in as a free agent in the offseason. Getting Hammel in addition to Samardzija is really a power move by the As. Instead of settling for the upgrade that Samardzija provides, they also have enough depth with Hammel that LHP Tommy Milone (3.55 ERA in 16 starts) could lose his spot in the rotation. This gives Oakland insurance for injuries to their other starters and, perhaps even better (if not outright done deliberately), prevents Hammel from going to another contending team that is looking to shore up its pitching staff. Before making this trade, the As were the top team in baseball and they just added to quality starting pitchers, both of whom are having excellent seasons, so consider this trade to be the equivalent of the As pushing their chips to the middle of the table. Theyre all in. The Cubs Get: SS Addison Russell, RHP Dan Straily, CF Billy McKinney and a player to be named later. Russell, 20, was the 11th overall pick in the 2012 Draft and, while hes missed a couple months due to a hamstring injury this season, hes shown that he has the bat to be a star in the major leagues, posting an .899 OPS in 185 games in the minors. Russell has played a total of 20 games this season, 15 since being promoted to Double-A, so he could still use time to develop, but he should be knocking on the Cubs door by next season. This presents something of an enviable problem for Chicago as one of their many great prospects is shortstop Javier Baez and they have incumbent starter Starlin Castro with the big-league club. Either some players are getting traded or there will be some position changes coming, but Russell is a great get for Chicago -- hes one of the top position player prospects in the game. 25-year-old Straily got roughed up a bit early this season (4.93 ERA in seven starts), losing his spot in the As rotation, but that was a case of surrendering too many home runs (nine in 38 1/3 IP) as his 1.25 WHIP was pretty much in line with his career average. Straily doesnt throw hard at the best of times, but he lost a couple miles per hour off all of his pitches and that can make a difference for guys with overpowering stuff. Nevertheless, a 25-year-old with a good slider who has managed a 4.11 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 41 major-league starts (with slightly better numbers on the road) is worth a look for the Cubs. The 24th pick in the 2013 Draft, McKinney is a 19-year-old centre fielder climbing his way up the minor-league ladder after coming out of Texas high school ball. Overall, the left-handed hitter has a .278 average and .769 OPS in 132 minor-league games, but is hitting .243 with a .729 OPS in 77 games at Advanced Class-A ball. Hell need a little time to develop and the Cubs have other strong outfield prospects on the way too, but add a quality bat to the organization and see where he is in a couple of years. As much as the Cubs are giving up a couple of quality starting pitchers, players that give the As an immediate shot in the arm heading into the second half of the season, they got quality assets in return. If Russell does make it as even an above-average starter at shortstop, and one of Straily or McKinney provides some kind of value, then the Cubs will eventually reap the rewards of this deal. Scott Cullen can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Connor Randall Jersey . The 55th-ranked Istomin saved 11 of 14 break points to win in just over two hours, setting up a second round meeting with Australian Marinko Matosevic. It was the Uzbeks third win in three matches against fifth-seeded Kohlschreiber, the 2007 and 2012 tournament winner. Adam Bogdan Jersey . This weeks Raptors Report puts a bow on Gays brief, 10-month tenure in Toronto and ponders how his absence will affect the teams offence. Are they a better team without him? In addition to acquiring some valuable cap flexibility, what impact will the four incoming players have this season and beyond? Click here for the Dec. http://www.soccerliverpoolproshop.com/c ... ersey.aspx. Prado stuck his glove down with Colorados Charlie Blackmon sliding into the bag, and quickly jumped back in pain after applying the tag. Prado held his left wrist as trainers came out of the Diamondbacks dugout to check him. Mamadou Sakho Jersey . -- Catriona Matthew remained atop the Airbus LPGA Classic leaderboard Friday, birdieing four of the last seven holes to take a one-stroke advantage over Charley Hull into the weekend. Lucas Leiva Jersey . The union filed a grievance late Thursday, one day after Goodell suspended four players who participated in bounties from 2009-11. The complaint says Goodell is prohibited from punishing players for any aspect of the case occurring before the new collective bargaining agreement was signed last August.Sacramento, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Isaiah Thomas scored 17 points off the bench in his return to Sacramento to help the Phoenix Suns come through with a 115-106 victory over the scuffling Kings. Thomas, traded to the Suns in July after three very productive seasons in Sacramento, put up eight of his points during a 16-2 second-half run that lifted Phoenix to a season-high fifth straight win. Fellow reserve Marcus Morris also had a big night for the Suns, hitting 6-of-7 attempts from 3-point range to finish with 20 points. Eric Bledsoe and Markieff Morris contributed 18 and 17 points, respectively, while Goran Dragic had 16 along with six assists. Playing without star center DeMarcus Cousins due to a stomach virus, Sacramento suffered its seventh loss in eight games after failing to match Phoenixs markmanship from the perimeter, as the Suns went 14-of-33 on 3-point tries. Darren Collison paced the Kings with 19 points and Rudy Gay and Derrick Williams both had 16 in defeat. Reggie Evans compiled 11 points and 16 rebounds starting in place of Cousins. The Suns trailed 88-86 late in the third quarter before putting together their game-changing spurt, which was fueled by their long-range shooting. Marcus Morris and Thomas closed out the period with consecutive triples, and Morris drilled another to begin the fourth before Thomas converted a 3-point play that the ex-King followed with a driving layyup to put Phoenix up 102-90 with 10:30 left.dddddddddddd Sacramento, which went 6-of-21 from the floor in the fourth quarter, never recovered as the Suns stretched the lead to as much as 15 points down the stretch. Phoenix struggled offensively early on before catching fire near the end of the first quarter. The Suns hit 5-of-7 shots -- three of them from long distance -- during a 15-6 stretch that staked them to a 28-17 lead. Sacramento answered with an 8-0 run and continued to chip away, with Carl Landrys short jumper midway through the second quarter giving the Kings a 40-39 edge. The game remained tight for the remainder of the half, with Phoenix owning a 59-56 advantage following a Marcus Morris trey just prior to the buzzer. Phoenix then opened the second half with a 7-0 flurry to go up by double digits, but Collison knocked down a trio of 3-pointers during a 19-10 sequence that pulled the Kings within 76-75 with 5:46 left in the third quarter. Game Notes Sacramento had won five of its last seven matchups with the Suns, including a 114-112 double-overtime triumph in Phoenix in which Cousins totaled 25 points and 18 rebounds ... In addition to Cousins, the Kings were without backup point guard Ramon Sessions due to a strained lower back ... Suns center Alex Len tied a career high with 11 rebounds while swatting away a personal-best five shots. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
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