Shortly after yesterday's game, the A's traded prospects SS Addison Russell and OF Billy McKinney along with P Dan Straily for Cubs pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. A lot of people are writing about this, so here's a collection of some highlights from around the web.
Mike Petriello at Fangraphs has a nice in-depth analysis:
Think about how insanely competitive the AL has been for nearly a generation now, and realize how rare of a situation this was for the A's. It's pretty clear, then, that this is the right time to push those chips all-in. After this year, only Jed Lowrie and Jim Johnson (if he even lasts the season) are free agents, but after next year, Yoenis Cespedes, Scott Kazmir and John Jaso can all walk. Josh Donaldson, Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss and others are going to start seeing arbitration raises soon. They had to make the move now, and despite how productive their rotation has been, it's clear that they needed to do more than cross their fingers and pray that it'd stay together; that's how they ended up with actual replacement player Brad Mills making starts.
David Schoenfield at ESPN says that the A's are now clearly the World Series favorites.
The Oakland A's might not be in this position a year from now, let alone three years or five or 10. The A's have been the best team in baseball in this season of parity, a season without a clear title favorite. But the A's had a flaw -- or the potential for one -- and Beane couldn't afford to let his team whither as the rotation slowly disintegrated.
Justin Verlander, on the heels of sweeping the A's, added to the growing A's-Tigers rivalry with this gem:
Verlander on A's trade: "They made that trade because of us." Verlander, Tigs have eliminated A's the last two years.— Freep Tigers (@freeptigers) July 5, 2014
Verlander on A's and trade: "If they want to win a World Series, they are envisioning that they have to go through us."— Freep Tigers (@freeptigers) July 5, 2014
Mike Oz of Yahoo Sports has more on that angle.
Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated has this trade being a win for the Cubs:
At the moment, Russell, who was rated the 14th-best prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America coming into the year and 7th-best by Baseball Prospectus, looks to be far and away the best player in this trade, and the Cubs acquired not only all six of his team-controlled years, but could have him in the major leagues as soon as next year. Russell may not approach 80 on the scouting scale in any individual tool, but he's still a five-tool stud at shortstop, one of the rarest and most valuable commodities in the game, and a player with considerable potential for further growth given his youth. It's far less difficult to understand why the Cubs traded for Russell despite their apparent glut at shortstop than it is to understand why the A's traded him for Samardzija and Hammel.
Jesse Chavez is a 30-year-old journeyman who has already pitched nearly a third of his career major-league innings this season. His ability to hold up over the long haul is questionable, and he may have more value to the A's as a spot starter and long reliever. Tommy Milone pitched well against the Tigers last fall but is a postseason nightmare waiting to happen, with the kind of contact and home-run rates that augur disaster when faced with a deep October lineup. Literal dollar-store pickup Brad Mills is not someone on whom to gamble a season.
Ken Rosenthal breaks it down with Brian Kenny:
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News has a quick take from a local perspective:
When I talked to Beane in May, he emphasized how valuable it was to succeed today and stop worrying about uncertainty in the A's future.
"The best part of baseball," Beane said, "is when you deal with the present."
Yeah, you could say that was a strong hint of things to come.
Susan Slusser has some quotes from Beane gathered on a post on SFGate.com, including this nugget:
"When (the trade) did come together, it came together relatively quickly; I think in the last few days," Beane said. "This was an area, a few weeks ago, that we absolutely felt like we had to address."
Phil Rogers of MLB.com praises the A's for being smart and aggressive.
The aptly-named Zach Links talked to Theo Epstein about the trade:
Epstein quickly realized the two clubs didn't match up "one-for-one" in a deal involving Samardzija and Russell, but they managed to expand the deal in yesterday's talks to something that worked for both sides.
They considered, for example, David Price. Once they steeled themselves to trading Addison Russell, the precocious 20-year-old who was going to be their shortstop for the next seven years starting in 2015, the A's knew anyone was in play, including Price. They talked with the Rays. Permutations of a deal went back and forth. It never materialized.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman says that the Cubs won the deal but the A's are clear favorites in 2014. He also expressed that it was a #shame that Tuesday's and Wednesday's games will have to be played at the Coliseum while "ATandT" Park sits empty.
SBN Angels blog Halos Heaven grasps at straws to avoid panicking.
Whew! That should get you through an hour or so. Please feel free to post more links in the comments and we'll update the post periodically.