One last time for this Photoshop, I guess…
Things are happening, and though the whole Samardzija and Hammel to the A’s thing didn’t exactly work out for the Jays — doubly so since the Shark will indeed debut against them on Sunday (though perhaps not: he’s at least not a lefty, and as Christina Kahrl tweets – much to the delight of those who were adamantly against the Jays paying big for Samardzija, I’m sure – in his last six starts he’s allowed 6.5 runs-per-9, has been drubbed by the three contenders he’s faced, allowed 54 baserunners in 33 innings, all in the league without a DH!) — but hopefully this is the moment where deals start to get done.
It is, after all, in the interest of both sides to be doing things early. Alex Anthopoulos, in a recent interview on Boston’s WEEI, said that things were still in the developing stages — in fact, he said that he knew of one team at the time (two days ago) who were dead set on being sellers — and that talks probably wouldn’t start heating up until after the All-Star break, but the A’s are conceivably going to get as many as eight starts from their two new pitchers before the July 31st trade deadline, and as such the Cubs surely received a little bit extra for dealing now.
Billy Beane admits as much, as quoted in a piece from Peter Gammons:
The end game isn’t to have the best prospects, it’s to have a good team. We didn’t want to lose Russell. He may be the best young player we’ve had since I’ve been here. But if we’re going to finish first, the extra month of having Samardzija and Hammel is really important.
If that sounds damning of AA’s inaction, that’s not quite right. The Jays simply didn’t have anything like what the A’s could offer. More from the Gammons piece:
Beane was willing to trade the best prospect in the organization, Addison Russell, for reasons of skill and character, not to mention the fact that scouts who watched him in the Arizona Fall League rated him higher than Kris Bryant and Albert Almora, who will be Russell’s teammates in Chicago for many years. Watching him this spring with one of Beane’s most trusted lieutenants, I had a Derek Jeter comp laid on Russell. When Beane and Theo Epstein agreed on the deal, Beane told him, “you got Barry Larkin.”
So… yeah. It was a hefty price, and as I said last night, I’m just glad that if an AL team was going to pay it, Baltimore and New York weren’t the ones doing so. It also sets the market for pitching astronomically high. If Andrew Freidman wanted to package David Price and Ben Zobrist in a similar way, now would be a hell of a good time to do it — or… actually… yesterday may have been the best time to deal Price, given Russell was available. And no, I don’t think the Jays have the prospects to confidently outbid others on a deal like that. They might, but they might not. And they might not even have the budget to add a guy like Price going forward!