CHICAGO – Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon was more than aware that the best team in baseball got significantly better late Friday night.
The news of the Oakland Athletics blockbuster trade that got them Chicago Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija and fellow starting pitcher Jason Hammel was circulating throughout baseball. The Mariners, who will play the A’s on their next homestand, were impressed with the move.
“That’s a real good team that got better,” McClendon said. “Obviously, those are two fine young pitchers. They did a nice job of pulling that one off. They’re a good team. Their record indicates that. They’ve gotten better. I don’t think that really changes anything as far as we are concerned. We just have to continue to go about our business and do what we do.”
Corey Hart has faced Samardzija often in the National League when he was with Milwaukee. He knows the type of pitcher the A’s acquired.
“He’s really good,” Hart said. “But it’s kind of surprising cause I thought their pitching was already pretty good.”
Indeed, the A’s staff has been solid all season. But Samardzija gives them a top-of-the-line starter to go with Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir for a playoff series.
Meanwhile, the Mariners’ search for offensive help on the trade market continues. The need is for at least one right-handed hitter, if not two.
McClendon has mentioned the Mariners’ “BB gun” offense often in the past month. But it’s not some subtle hint to general manager Jack Zduriencik.
“Jack and I talk every day about ways to improve our club,” McClendon said. “But you have to understand that it takes two to tango. It’s got to make sense. This organization has a bright future. We have a tremendous minor league organization with a lot of good prospects, and I don’t think Jack or upper management is ready to sell the farm, so to speak, for rent-a-players, and I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t do that, either.
“It has to be the type of trades that make sense for this organization.”