Yesterday, in a run up to the trading deadline, the M’s made some important roster moves. They called up DH/OF Corey Hart to Seattle, and DFA’ed outfielder Cole Gillespie. In a second move, the Mariners optioned first baseman Justin Smoak to Tacoma. Hart and Smoak were both rehabbing injuries in Tacoma. The deadline for decisions on their situation was July 7th.
Hart, hitting .204/.288/.345 after last night’s game in Chicago was signed as a free agent. His production at the plate, as a power hitting right=hander is disappointing, but it’s important the M’s see what they have before they make moves prior to the trade deadline, if they make any. Smoak’s demotion follows five seasons of waiting for the big switch-hitting South Carolinian to blossom into a consistent hitter. During Smoak’s time on the DL Logan Morrison has filled in well at first base.
If the Mariners are looking in-house for answers to their offensive woes first, the A’s took the bull by the horns and made a gutsy trade with the Chicago Cubs. They picked up pitchers Jeff Samardzjia and Jason Hammel to bolster their struggling rotation, sending highly rated prospects, shortstop Addison Russell, pitcher Billy McKinney, pitcher Dan Strailly and a player to be named later to Chicago. Russell was a 2012 first round draft choice, and McKinney was a 2013 first round draft choice.
The trade, for two of the more highly regarded pitchers believed to be available this summer, adds depth to the A’s rotation. Samardzjia, (2=7, 2.83 ERA) and Hammel (7-5, 2.98 ERA) were both having solid seasons for Chicago. Though Oakland continues to lead the American League in ERA, they now trail Seattle in runs allowed. The dominant performances by their starters early in the season have come less frequently.
In other news, the Mariners were left for road kill after being sliced and diced by White Sox starter Chris Sale, 7-1. Sale gave up six hits, struck out 12, walked nobody and generally baffled Mariners hitters for the complete game victory. Mariners starter Roenis Elias surrendered home runs to Davan Viciedo and Jose Abreu, while pitching five innings and allowing five runs. Charlie Furbush continued the Mariner tradition of coughing up big home runs to Paul Konerko, surrendering a two run blast in the eighth inning.