With the free agent market beginning to take shape, a number of questions for the San Francisco Giants should be answered soon.
Samardzija is a durable pitcher, who can eat up innings and give the bullpen a break. Despite his 4.96 ERA with the Chicago White Sox last season, Samardzija ate up 214 innings.
Samardzija’s best year was in 2014, where he was hi record was only 7-13, but the peripherals were very good with a 2.99 ERA, 202 strikeouts, and a 1.065 WHIP.
The Giants need for starting pitching has become more evident over the last couple of years. They ranked seventh in National League starting pitching ERA in 2015 (3.95), and ninth in innings pitched (939.1).
Every NL team with a lower starting pitcher ERA made it to the postseason in 2015, so the Giants identified the rotation as a need for 2016.
The Giants fell short on signing the major prize of the offseason, Zack Greinke, who is leaving the Los Angeles Dodgers to sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks on a six-year, $206.5 million deal. According to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Samardzija will earn $9 million in 2016, and then $18 million each year after that. That includes a $3 million immediate bonus, and then another $6 million in more bonus money. The deal also includes a no-trade clause, Schulman said.
There is no guarantee Samardzija will return to his 2014 form, so the Giants would be wise to have a backup plan. Former Giants ace Tim Lincecum never recovered from his 2012-on decline, and they would likely want to avoid another disaster like that.
Not to mention, it gives the Giants another look in their rotation. Samardzija would be the only starting pitcher in their rotation to regularly throw in the high 90s.
In saving over $100 million by signing Samardzija, the Giants can focus on the obvious power hole in left field. Giants left fielders, primarily a power position, ranked second-to-last in home runs (12) and OPS (.384).
Here is more reaction to the signing: