Source: A's were 'locked in' on deal with White Sox for Jeff Samardzija

December 09, 2014 - 9:31 am

SAN DIEGO -- According to an industry source, the Red Sox did not appear to be meaningfully in the mix in trade discussions with the A's to acquire Jeff Samardzija. Instead, according to the source, the A's appeared "pretty locked in" on the players whom they acquired from the White Sox -- infielder Marcus Semien, right-hander Chris Bassitt, catcher Josh Phegley and Double-A corner infielder Rangel Ravelo -- rather than trying to spawn a bidding war. In some ways, that would appear to echo the approach that Oakland took to trading Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays in exchange for infielder Brett Lawrie, right-hander Kendall Graveman, left-hander Sean Nolin and shortstop Franklin Barreto. The A's consummated that deal without shopping Donaldson to other interested teams; some members of the Red Sox front office, for example, had no inclination that the third baseman was going to be moved and were caught off guard by the deal. (For what it's worth: Had the A's made Donaldson available to the Red Sox, given their need for a third baseman and shortstop, the conversation likely would have started with Xander Bogaerts and grown from there. Whether it would have been in the Sox' best interests to answer the team's need for a third baseman while opening a hole at shortstop in a market that is lacking in legitimate everyday options at that position -- instead of signing Sandoval (not Donaldson's equal, but an above-average third baseman) and keeping Bogaerts is a fair and fascinating question.) While that approach has yielded deals that have been subject to criticism in terms of a perceived light return, some in the industry point to Oakland's successful track record -- including three straight trips to the postseason -- in suggesting that the A's typically have a fairly precise handle on their needs and should be given the benefit of the doubt.