Shark nets A’s starting shortstop, potential starting pitcher

Jeff Samardzija was finally dealt to the White Sox Tuesday along with minor league pitcher Michael Ynoa.

Jeff Samardzija was finally dealt to the White Sox Tuesday along with minor league pitcher Michael Ynoa.

The Oakland A’s finally completed their deal to send starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija to the Chicago White Sox, getting a potential starting shortstop and potential member of the starting rotation in return.

The A’s, who also sent minor leaguer Michael Ynoa to Chicago, landed right-handed starter Chris Bassitt, shortstop Marcus Semien, catcher Josh Phegley and infielder Rangel Ravelo.

Semien has spent most of his brief big league career at second base, but he was drafted as a shortstop and has played some there. The A’s, who have been badly in need of a shortstop with Jed Lowrie leaving via free agency, are betting that he can play shortstop adequately.

Described by a rival club’s general manager as “primarily an offensive player,’’ Semien was on the White Sox’s opening day roster in 2014, played in 64 games and hit .234 in 65 games with a .300 on-base percentage and six homers. He’s only played six big league games at shortstop (50 at third base, 29 at second base), but 250 of his 387 minor league games have been at short.

Bassitt, who will turn 26 before spring training, is a right-hander with command and a moving 91-94 mph fastball that has been tough on right-handed hitters. He pitched six one-run innings against Oakland last September when the A’s got a look at his deceptive delivery.

He can top out at 96mph with his fastball upon occasion, but he has a slider that breaks nicely and a slow curve (69-75 mph) that he uses as a changeup.

He suffered a broken hand last year, but went 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA with the Sox is six games, five starts. As a minor leaguer, he was 3-1 with a 2.08 before his August promotion to the big leagues.

Phegley, a 24-year-old right-hander, hit 23 homers and hit .274 at Triple-A in 2014, finishing second in the International League with 57 extra-base hits and third in homers ad slugging percentage (.530).

Ravelo, who began his career as a third baseman, is primarily a first baseman now. He hit .309 with 37 doubles, four triples, 11 homers, 66 RBIs and a .386 on-base percentage.

Samardzija, a 2014 National League All-Star, came to the A’s in a June trade and would have been no worse than the A’s No. 2 starter had he remained with the team.

Ynoa, at one point a big-time prospect for the A’s, never responded the way the A’s had hoped after 2011’s Tommy John surgery. He was 4-2 with a 5.52 ERA in 31 games as a reliever with Single-A Stockton this year.


Opposing GM likes A’s newest shortstop, Marcus Semien

Jeff Samardzija's trade to the White Sox will be announced Tuesday.

Jeff Samardzija’s trade to the White Sox will be announced Tuesday.

If you must know, the A’s aren’t the only team looking for young shortstop talent here at the winter meetings.

Oakland has one advantage. The A’s have a pitcher everybody wants, Jeff Samardzija, and for the right price the A’s are willing to let him go. The A’s starting pitching would take a hit if the Shark is traded, but if the A’s can get a potential starting shortstop and add to their team depth, Oakland will bite the bullet.

Word got out that a deal with the Chicago White Sox was done, Samardzija returning to his home, but without any clarity on whom the A’s would get in return.

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A’s continue their pursuit of White Sox’s Peavy

The A’s would like to add a starting pitcher before the trade deadline comes around Wednesday, and the A’s have a preference for that pitcher to be Jake Peavy.

Wishing doesn’t make it so, of course, but the club is very much in the hunt for the Chicago White Sox’s right-hander, who cleaned out his locker Sunday morning with all indications a trade is just a day or so, if not an hour or so, away.

The Braves, the Dodgers, the Cardinals and the Red Sox came into Sunday as fellow contenders in the race to get Peavy as the White Sox try to shed salary and add good young prospects.

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A Giants future?

One of the most convenient stops on the spring training tour is the Tucson Electric Park complex. On one side operate the Arizona Diamondbacks, and on the other the Chicago White Sox. So after checking out what was shaking with the snakes, I wandered on over and got down to business with the White Sox.

Two individual subjects pop to mind, and no, I’m not referring to Nick Swisher.

Start with Joe Crede, the third baseman who many would like to see be a Giant. Crede is in an interesting situation, because it’s pretty much an open secret that the Giants are eying him like a lion does prey, but yet he has to prepare as if he’s going to break camp with Chicago.

“This isn’t the first year it’s happened,” he told me. “It seems like every year there’s something that comes up. That stuff is out of your control. I try not to pay attention. This game is tough enough as it is.”

Crede had back surgery in June to repair two herniated disks in his back, and said he’s now able to “lead a normal life.” How much the aftermath has affected his baseball-playing ability is yet to be seen, and that’s probably what Giants general manager Brian Sabean is waiting for, too. But if healthy, Crede is a tremendous clutch hitter (check out his RISP numbers from 2006, his last healthy year) who could do quite a bit to repair the Giants’ offensive woes. Defensively, he ran neck-and-neck with the A’s Eric Chavez for Gold Glove consideration every season, so you’d think he’d be at least as good with the glove as Pedro Feliz. If, that is, he can bend over.

Another guy I ran into in the ChiSox clubhouse was reliever Octavio Dotel, the former A’s closer. Simply put, this is one of most personable guys in the game. He actually made it a point to ask how I was doing, which is something you almost never hear from players. When Santiago Casilla (then Jairo Garcia) debuted for the A’s in 2004, I sat down for a 30-minute interview with him, and Dotel served as the translator. Again, that’s something you rarely, rarely see.

I’m happy for Dotel, because after years of elbow trouble, he seems finally to be healthy. He’ll set up White Sox closer Bobby Jenks, and if he’s right, that would give Chicago a devastating end-of-the-game combination. Dotel also signed a two-year contract with the White Sox, and he said it’s the first time he’s ever had a multi-year deal. So good for him.

Overall, there’s a fairly good vibe in this clubhouse. It’s tough to tell if it will stay that way, because all teams are optimistic in spring training, and the clubhouses are so small. But keep an eye on these guys. After a brutal 2007, they may be ready to ascend again in 2008.