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jeff samardzija featureI have to contact our internet provider today to grouse about an impending, and totally absurd, increase in our bill. This produces anxiety in me. I hate doing things like that. But it has to be done. Wish me luck.

  • The A’s have been in a relative tailspin since mid-July, and SBNation takes a look at the “five mistakes” the A’s have made, two of which relate the their big trade with the Cubs in early July. The first is overrating Jeff Samardzija, and the second is trading Addison Russell at all. To the latter, I don’t have much to say – Russell is a stud, and showed only studliness after the trade – but to the former, I’d point out that Samardzija’s ERA and FIP with the A’s are just about in line with where they were with the Cubs, and his xFIP is even better. Maybe the A’s paid for the guy they hoped Samardzija could be, but at least he’s been the guy he was with the Cubs.
  • If we stretched on that deal, by the way, I wonder if the A’s will also regret giving up Billy McKinney, who looked fantastic with the Daytona Cubs. There’s also the performance of Jason Hammel since the deal (4.70 ERA, 5.62 FIP, 4.58 xFIP). There was some ugliness all around for the A’s in that trade, though I don’t think I would point to the Samardzija piece as a mistake. In any case, I just hope the A’s make the playoffs, do well in the playoffs, and everyone somehow winds up happy with the deal. No reason to wish ill on the A’s.
  • Although the article is expressly on the Astros, Mark Appel and Colin Moran, this BA piece frames that entire discussion in the guy the Astros could have had, but didn’t take: Kris Bryant.
  • More from Mark Buehrle, in the Tribune, on the Cubs’ aggressive tendencies at the plate. Not that there’s any surprise or totally new information there, but it’s a reminder that much of the Cubs’ youth could stand to work on not getting themselves out on pitchers’ pitches (a distinct issue from swing-and-miss and pitch-recognition problems, which, for many guys, could also use some work).
  • Speaking of which, I knew Javier Baez was extending out of the zone with two strikes, but holy crap. Look at the chart included in this piece – when Baez gets to two strikes, he swings at everything.
  • A number of players around baseball reflect on their Wrigley Field memories.
  • You may or may not recall that league-wide security procedures are changing in baseball over the next couple years, and a part of that is coming to Wrigley Field for the final homestand: metal detector screening. Far be it from me to cast aspersions on MLB’s desire to keep fans safe – that’s a great thing – but this has the potential to be a headache, relative to the benefits/security it provides. Done properly, it could be no big deal. We’ll see.

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