A’s acquire Samardzija from Cubs in blockbuster deal

Samardzija is eligible to become a free agent following the 2015 season. Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s acquired starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs on Friday in exchange for prospects Addison Russell and Billy McKinney, pitcher Dan Straily and a player to be named.

Samardzija, 29, was expected to be traded after rejecting a five-year, $85 million deal from the Cubs. He is in the midst of a career year with a 2.83 ERA and 103:31 K:BB ratio in 108 innings, and will bolster the A’s rotation as they try to hold off the Los Angeles Angels in the A.L. West.

A 2012 first-round pick, Russell was the A’s top position prospect at shortstop, while outfielder McKinney, a 2013 first-round pick, was the team’s second-ranked prospect.

Russell is the fifth-rated prospect in the game, according to Baseball America. He joins a crowded shortstop position for the Cubs, who have 24-year-old All-Star Starlin Castro in the majors and top prospect Javier Baez (Baseball America’s seventh-rated prospect) at Triple-A.