Last season, the A's stunned the baseball world by trading their top two prospects, shortstop Addison Russell and outfielder Billy McKinney, to the Cubs for starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
Even with Russell off to a solid start in the Cubs' system, and Samardzija and Hammel not with the A's anymore, assistant GM David Forst says the club has no regrets about the deal.
“Because we wouldn’t have made it to where we did without making those deals,” Forst told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I mean, you never look back fondly on trading a player like Addison. But the reality is we only got to the wild card game, and we don’t get there without Samardzija, and Hammel and (Jon) Lester.
“In that respect we would absolutely do it again,” Forst said.
Russell, the 11th overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, was just as surprised by the trade as the outside world.
"I was a little shocked and more confused than anything," Russell told MLB.com before the A's-Cubs Cactus League game in Las Vegas on Friday.
In major league camp with the Cubs, Russell is thriving this spring. In five games through March 13, the 21-year-old has six hits in 13 at-bats, including three doubles.
Following the trade last July, Russell played in 50 games for the Cubs' Double-A affiliate Tennessee Smokies, and hit .294 with 11 doubles, 12 home runs and 36 RBI.
Russell is the Cubs' No. 2 rated prospect behind third base prospect Kris Bryant, according to Baseball America. The publication also ranked Russell as the No. 3 prospect in all of baseball.
As for McKinney, he went from the A's No. 2 prospect to the No. 6 ranked prospect in a deep Cubs system. In 51 games for Single-A Daytona, the 20-year-old McKinney hit .301 with 12 doubles, four triples and 36 RBI.