OAKLAND -- The A's have shaken up baseball with the trade of their best minor league player, shortstop Addison Russell, to the Chicago Cubs for starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.

The A's also gave up starting pitcher Dan Straily, who had been pitching at Triple-A Sacramento, and minor league outfielder Billy McKinney.

The outline of the deal was first published online by foxsports.com's Ken Rosenthal.

Samardzija and Hammel are top-end starting pitchers who could make the A's, who already have the best record in baseball at 53-33, strong candidates for the World Series.

How they will fit the new additions into the rotation has yet to be determined, but the A's already had a top-ranked starting rotation with Scott Kazmir, Sonny Gray, Jesse Chavez, Brad Mills and Tommy Milone.

Kazmir, Gray and Milone seem the likeliest of the starting five to hold their jobs with the additions of Samardzija and Hammel.

Samardzija, 29, is 2-7 but with a 2.83 ERA in 17 starts for Chicago. The hard-throwing right-hander has 103 strikeouts in 108 innings and was among the most coveted pitchers on the trade market.

The Cubs drafted the former Notre Dame receiver in the fifth round in 2006. He worked his way up from reliever to starter and has improved every season.


Advertisement

Hammel, also a right-hander is 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA in 17 starts with 104 strikeouts in 1082/3 innings.

Hammel, 31, is a free agent in 2015 and Samardzija in 2016.

Russell, 20, was the 11th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He had played in only 13 games with Double-A Midland this year because of injury problems and was hitting .333. The A's, and scouts around baseball, love his offensive capability, and he's seen as a four- or five-tool player, depending on who is doing the evaluating.

McKinney, 19, was the A's first pick in the 2013 draft, a left-handed hitting outfielder who could become a solid prospect. He was hitting .241 with 10 homers, 12 doubles and 33 RBIs for Class-A Stockton this season.

Straily, 25, finished 10-8 with a 3.96 ERA in 27 starts for the A's last year. He started this season in the Oakland rotation but struggled and was sent down to Sacramento. He's 4-3 with a 4.71 ERA for the River Cats.

The addition of two new pitchers might well force the A's to part ways with former closer Jim Johnson, who is sitting at the back end of the bullpen.

Johnson was the only reliever who didn't pitch Friday as the A's won 1-0 over Toronto in 12 innings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ONLINE EXTRA
No surprise that Billy Beane makes big splash. Read Tim Kawakami's full blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami.