For months, trade rumors swirled around former Chicago Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija. Nearly half of all teams in the Major League were at one point linked to a potential trade for the pitcher, some more than others like the Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants.
However, late on the 4th of July, the Oakland Athletics shocked the baseball world when they acquired Samardzija along with Jason Hammel in exchange for uber-prospect Addison Russell.
It was an unexpected move in a handful of senses, especially considering acquiring a big name, high-priced talent isn’t typically the Athletics style. However, after multiple disappointing trips to the postseason, the A’s clearly needed an additional front of the line arm and there’s no doubt Jeff Samardzija can prove to be such.
Despite the shocking deal, it wasn’t something that was drummed up over night as according to Carrie Muskat, both the Chicago Cubs and Oakland A’s had been talking about a Jeff Samardzija trade for a month.
Theo says started talks with A's about a month ago but couldn't find right match. Finalized Thurs night. #Cubs
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) July 5, 2014
Granted, I’m sure the Cubs were looking at other proposals and weren’t in a severe rush to trade their ace, but the fact that it took about a month for the two sides to find a middle ground speaks to just how difficult it is to trade for a talent like Jeff Samardzija.
As for the Cubs, Muskat also went on to state that general manager Theo Epstein stated that there was no available pitcher on the market that provided the same amount of upside as Russell and that you can ‘never have too many shortstops’.