Monday had to have been a rough day for Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane. Last year, he worked out two of the biggest deals in baseball to build on his team's chances as a contender.
On Monday, both pieces they received in one of those deals – Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel – left the Athletics. Jon Lester, the key component of the other deal, is headed out the door next.
So what is Oakland left with after dealing Yoenis Cespedes, who has a year left on his deal, to the Red Sox and sending prospects Addison Russell, Billy McKinney and Dan Strailey to the Cubs for Samardzija and Hammel?
Well, they've got White Sox prospects Marcus Semien, Chris Bassitt and a third unidentified player, according to ESPNChicago.com.
All those good players involved, and you finish with an inferior infield prospect and a 6-foot-5 righty with some potential. Not good, Billy Beane, not good.
- Billy Beane must take responsibility for Athletics' failure
- Samardzija is the ace the Athletics needed
- Cubs make huge trade for the future
Where did it all go wrong?
Beane's moves last year made it clear that the Athletics were all-in, trying to win and win it all. That meant the Wild Card game loss to Kansas City – who made it all the way to the World Series – was even more of a crushing blow.
This wasn't like every other year where Beane was even-handed and played for the future while competing with lesser salary in the now.
He went for it. The team failed.
The head-scratcher of this is that Beane then felt the need to ship off Samardzija this early. Expiring contracts are tough, especially when it's like Lester's and – because of the trade – the Athletics won't even receive draft pick compensation when he signs a big deal elsewhere.
But it looks right now like they paid too much for Hammel and Samardzija and then got too little in return.
Toughest part of the deal
One thing that has to really hurt Beane is Hammel, because he was an intregral part of the initial deal, which netted Russell – considered to be one of the game's best middle infield prospects – along with McKinney and Straily for the Cubs.
After the Lester deal, team inquired about trading for Hammel because the Athletics rotation was so stacked. Beane declined, figuring Hammel could still help his team in starts and long relief.
But Hammel was bad, really bad, for Oakland.
He was 2-6 with a 4.26 ERA there after going 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA for the Cubs.
Now, the Cubs are hoping he can regain his solid form by signing the 32-year-old to a two-year, $18 million deal. For that, the Athletics again received nothing. Or whatever is worse than nothing.
Tough day for Billy Beane. Tough year for him too.
He seems to always being able to pull off magic, rebuilding his team in ways others can't see. It's hard to imagine this will end up working out for him, though.
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