Jason Hammel Hug Watch (UPDATE: A's as Partners?!)

Jason Hammel Hug Watch (UPDATE: A's as Partners?!)
Sweet uniform, every day should be throwback day.

The bigger news than the Cubs four game winning streak pulling them to eight under .500 for the first time since April 25th was Jason Hammel. Not Jason Hammel's performance, which was solid but unspectacular, but his comments about being pulled from the game.






Now I have to admit that watching the game at the time that I thought nothing of Rick Renteria getting Hammel in the seventh. Hammel had pitched well, but had been in trouble the inning before with allowing the first two runners on. Rendon lead off the inning with a hard hit double, and so I had no issue with Renteria going to Ramirez to take over at that point. The pitch count was not elevated at that point with 92 thrown, but within the context of the game situation it was a defensible move to go to a very good reliever. That seemed to be what Renteria believes as well.


However it is hard to not consider Hammel's assertion that orders were coming from on high. Hammel is of course a very valuable trade chip. He is also coming off an injury the year before and has suffered arm injuries prior to that. It isn't hard to imagine that the manager is well aware and executing the front office's wishes with this player. After all communication problems are the reason why Renteria is even in Chicago now. So avoiding Hammel throwing high stress pitches in the 90+ range is likely something that all decision makers in Chicago wanted to avoid.

The Cubs are likely to trade Jason Hammel soon. It could very well be before the All-Star break, but I do have to wonder if the Cubs might want to trade Samardzija first. Samardzija was outspoken last year when veterans were traded away, and one has to wonder what reaction another sell off might produce on that front. Hammel is still likely to be traded first given the relative value of the two pitchers, but it is something to consider. Despite the comments from Jason Hammel there probably isn't too much to read into the situation from today's game about when Hammel will be traded either way. The situation probably more reflects the manager actually having confidence in his bullpen than an imminent trade.

Or maybe this is the real truth of the matter...






Addison Russell is a stud shortstop prospect. He's like THE Oakland prospect.  Check it out:

Here’s quick sampling of what scouts and writers are saying about Russell:

Fangraphs: According to Marc Hulet, one scout said Russell “Has a chance to be an upper level hitter with power … there is nothing this kid doesn’t do.”

MLB.com: Jonathan Mayo says, “It’s difficult not to be excited about his offensive profile. Future 20-20 outputs don’t seem out of the question at all.”

Gammons Daily: A scout Peter Gammons spoke to compares Russell to Barry Larkin and says, “His gap power and athletic instincts should put him right there in one slot below (Red Sox shortstop prospect Xander) Bogaerts.”

John Sickels: In his end of season look at ranked prospects he noted that Russell, “Is clearly one of the top infield prospects in the minors.”

It's a bit strange to be trading one (or two, if Jeff Samardzija is included) pitchers without getting a pitcher in return, but this is a legitimate prospect and hopefully Billy Beane doesn't have any black magic up his sleeve.  Billy Beane is smart.  We'll keep an eye on this one.

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