Now, the circumstances of this Friday’s deal are somewhat different from the 2005 Red Sox-Marlins trade. For one, it’s an in-season trade rather than an offseason deal. For two, the A’s are looking at a much shorter window, as they probably can’t afford to keep Hammel and Samardzija after their respective contracts expire.
That’s okay, though, because while the Red Sox needed a little more time to build back into a true World Series contender, the A’s are there now. Before this deal, they were already the favorite to represent the American League in the Fall Classic. Now, I’d say they’re pretty clearly the best team in baseball.
As for the Cubs, they’ve assembled a truly stunning collection of young hitting talent in an era where the pendulum is starting to swing back toward pitching. Offense continues to drop league-wide, and position players are becoming more and more valuable. As soon as 2016, the Cubs might be able to field an outstanding lineup and have enough spare pieces to trade for some solid pitching. They’ve got deep enough pockets to plug holes with free agents, too.
Am I saying the A’s will win the 2014 World Series or that Addison Russell will develop into the next Hanley Ramirez? Nah, that’s far from a sure thing. Am I saying the Cubs will become perennial contenders under Theo Epstein’s leadership? Of course not – nobody can predict that.
Am I saying they’re more interesting to watch now than, say, the Red Sox? You bet.