Oakland's Fourth of July Fireworks

Athletics Starters ERA
Ranks Among Qualified Starters

The Oakland A’s pulled off a stunning trade Friday night reportedly acquiring pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Cubs for a package including shortstop Addison Russell, the third-ranked prospect in baseball at the beginning of the season, according to ESPN’s Keith Law.

That gives the Athletics, already owners of the best record in baseball and lowest ERA in the American League, arguably the most formidable rotation in the game, featuring five of the top 34 qualifiers for the ERA title.

Support for Samardzija

Samardzija lost seven of nine decisions for the Cubs this season despite having an ERA of 2.83 that ranks him 10th in the NL among qualifiers. That’s mainly because the Cubs were giving him just 2.41 runs of support on offense, which ranked 49 of those same 50 qualifiers in the Senior Circuit.

Offensive firepower shouldn’t be as much of a problem in the East Bay as it was on the North Side. In fact, the A’s have the highest-scoring offense in baseball, averaging 5.0 runs per contest, a full run more than the 21st-ranked Cubs

Don’t Forget about Hammel

Jason Hammel’s ninth major league season has been his best by far. The former Ray, Rockie, Oriole (and now Cub) has career-bests in ERA (2.98), K/9 (8.6), WHIP (1.02) and Opp BA (.222).

He returns to the AL where he has a career ERA of 5.00 in five seasons, but has always pitched well in Oakland. He’s 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five games (two starts) in his new home stadium.

Could be a Cubs Coup

With the acquisition of Russell, Chicago now has six of the top 71 position prospects according to Law’s preseason ranks. Russell was Oakland’s only prospect ranked in the top 100.