Coming off of a very disappointing end to the season in the American League West and a heartbreaking loss in the Wild Card round to the Kansas City Royals, the Oakland Athletics are searching for all the right answers. Before the trade deadline, the Athletics managed to acquire Jon Lester, Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija, but wound up with nothing to show for it. Losing both Lester and Hammel this offseason, Oakland is left with just Samardzija, among the three acquired.
It is very possible, though, that Athletics general manager Billy Beane attempts to trade Samardzija. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Oakland will listen to trade inquiries from teams interested in the right-hander, as well as left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir. However, Rosenthal notes that Oakland will not listen to trade inquiries on third baseman Josh Donaldson, who the A’s say they will not shop and are “adamant” about keeping him.
In financial terms, the Athletics are due to pay Scott Kazmir $13 million in 2015, while Samardzija will enter his last year of salary arbitration, possibly making up to $9 million for the 2015 season. Also, people need to keep in mind that just because the A’s are listening to trade offers for Kazmir and Samardzija, it does not mean that they are shopping the two pitchers, at all, as Rosenthal noted in his column.
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Rosenthal also speculates that Oakland may very well hang on to both of the pitchers, offering them qualifying offers after the 2015 season. If the Athletics were to offer Kazmir and Samardzija qualifying offers, the A’s would have the chance to add two compensatory draft picks for the 2016 draft – should they lose both of the pitchers.
Kazmir, who turns 31 years old in January, recorded a 15-9 record, along with a 3.55 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 105 ERA+, 7.9 K/9 and a 1.7 bWAR over 190 1/3 innings pitched, in what many may say was one of the best seasons Kazmir has pitched in his entire ten-year major league career.
Traded on the July 4th weekend from the Chicago Cubs along with Hammel to the Athletics for top shortstop prosepct Addison Russell, pitcher Dan Straily, and outfielder Billy McKinney, Samardzija, who turns 30 in January, pitched to a 7-13 record, along with a 2.99 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 126 ERA+, 8.3 K/9 and a 3.7 bWAR combined between the Cubs and Athletics over 213 2/3 innings pitched.