(CBS) The White Sox made the biggest headlines on the first day of MLB’s Winter Meetings in San Diego.
On the same day it signed closer David Robertson to a four-year deal, Chicago also on Monday agreed to a deal to acquire Oakland right-hander Jeff Samardzija in a six-player trade. The deal was made official late Tuesday morning.
“Jeff is one of the elite right-handed starting pitchers in baseball, and we believe his addition to our roster gives us the potential for a formidable starting rotation,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “His competitiveness fits well in our clubhouse, on the mound and in our city.”
In addition to Samardzija, Chicago also acquired 6-foot-7 right-handed pitching prospect Michael Ynoa, a 23-year-old from the Dominican Republic.
The White Sox didn’t have to give up any premium talent in the deal, as they’re trading away infielder Marcus Semien, catcher Josh Phegley right-hander Chris Bassitt and first base prospect Rangel Ravelo.
Since becoming a full-time starter in 2012, the 29-year-old Samardzija has blossomed into a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. With time split between the Cubs and Athletics last season, Samardzija went 7-13 with a 2.99 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP while striking out 202 in 219 2/3 innings. He recorded 23 quality starts.
A northwest Indiana native, Samardzija will slot in as Chicago’s No. 2 pitcher behind ace Chris Sale and in front of Jose Quintana.
With Samardzija having just one season left on his contract, the White Sox were able to nab him without giving up prized shortstop prospect Tim Anderson. Samardzija and his agent have previously indicated they want him to hit the open market next November, but until then, the White Sox will have exclusive negotiating rights to retain him.
Ynoa entered 2014 ranked as Oakland’s fourth-best prospect, according to Baseball America. He was 4-2 with a 5.52 ERA at Single-A Stockton last season.
“Michael is a highly touted prospect who signed at age 16 and then missed an entire season in 2011 with an arm injury,” Hahn said. “Our scouts believe his arm strength has returned, and our reports on him pitching out of the bullpen with Stockton were impressive as he is still only 23 years old.”
The 24-year-old Semien hit .234 with six homers and 28 RBIs in 64 games last season.
The 25-year-old Bassitt went 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA in six appearances, five starts, for the White Sox last season.
The 27-year-old Phegley spent most of the 2014 season at Triple-A Charlotte, where he hit .274 with 23 homers and 75 RBIs in 107 games. He played 11 games at the big league level, hitting .216 with three homers and seven RBIs.
The 22-year-old Ravelo hit .309 with 11 homers and 66 RBIs in 133 games at Double-A Birmingham in 2014. Chicago selected him in the sixth round of the 2010 draft.
Chicago’s 40-man roster is now at 38 players.