The Athletics got three major league ready pieces under 18 years of team control, including their probable starting shortstop for 2015, and a fourth minor league first baseman. All they gave up was an ace under one year of team control, the compensatory first round draft pick that comes with it, a struggling minor league pitcher about to enter his final option year having failed to get higher than high-A ball, and a reliever they claimed off waivers earlier this offseason. Who are Jeff Samardzija, Michael Ynoa, and Jorge De Leon?
Samardzija, obviously, is destined for great things. The trouble is, for the Athletics, he was only destined for great things for one more year. Which is fine, because that greatness will be given a qualifying offer at the end of the season that comes with a compensatory draft choice sandwiched between the first and second rounds. Those are valuable things, which is why the A's got the players they wanted in return. He'll be 30 next year and the Chicago White Sox are confident they can sign him to an extension.
Ynoa, 23, has never been able to shake off his injury status. As an international free agent signing from the Dominican Republic in 2008 at age 16, Ynoa had to be added to the 40-man roster to be protected from the December 2012 draft. Signed as a starter, he never pitched more than 75⅔ innings in a season. He missed essentially all of 2010 and 2011 recovery from Tommy John Surgery, had a shoulder injury at the end of 2013, and a right bicep injury to miss the first month of 2014. He moved into reliever at High-A Stockton, but the development clock seemed to be ticking down.
Ynoa has one regular option year left which will assuredly be used in 2015. Because Ynoa essentially did not play a full season of baseball until 2013, Ynoa does potentially have a fourth option available until as late as 2017, which gives Ynoa some chance to progress if he can shake off the injury bug.
Jorge De Leon
The A's claimed right-handed relief pitcher Jorge De Leon off waivers from the Houston Astros on October 9, and designated him for assignment to make room for the four players coming from the White Sox. He doesn't have much in the way of MLB experience, but here was the report on him from the Crawfish Boxes when he was called up last September:
Jorge De Leon, a righthanded pitcher began the season with Double-A Corpus Christi - moving up to Triple-A after 20.2 innings with 3.92 ERA. De Leon has as 2.63 ERA in 48 innings with RedHawks - also posting .333 BABIP*. This will be De Leon's second stent with the Astros as a September Callup, he pitched 10 innings with a 5.40 ERA in 2013.