Entering the fourth year of a five-year $90 million contract, the San Francisco Giants need Jeff Samardzija to be good now more than ever.
Jeff Samardzija has not lived up to his contract through the first three years with the San Francisco Giants. In the orange and black uniform he has a 4.33 ERA over 74 starts with 402 strikeouts in 455.2 innings pitched.
Those numbers are worse than his career 4.17 ERA and 8.1 K/9 rate.
But he could be one of the most important players for the San Francisco Giants in 2019.
There are several reasons why this is the case, the first being that the Giants desperately need a number two behind Madison Bumgarner.
If they are unable to get a front-end starting pitcher this offseason, they’ll need Samardzija to carry the load. Entering his age 34 season, and coming off an injury-filled season with shoulder inflammation, that seems unlikely.
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But we’ve seen it from him in the past, so there is hope that he can do it again next year. Just for your information, the 2019 season will be built on hope.
The second reason Samardzija could be so important is for the future of this club.
Right now the right-handed pitcher has hardly any trade value coming off a terrible year, while still being owed nearly $40 million the next two seasons.
Unless it’s some sort of salary swap trade, I don’t see any way the San Francisco Giants move Samardzija this offseason.
All they can hope for — there is that word hope again — is that Samardzija starts 2019 healthy and looks like a middle of the rotation starter again.
Then when teams are desperate for starting pitching at the trade deadline, we pass him off to someone else for a couple of decent prospects.
This, of course, is assuming that the Giants will not be in contention next season.
Unfortunately, 2018 was a lost season for Samardzija. The only thing you can do for shoulder inflammation is rest, and you aren’t afforded that opportunity during season.
Hopefully, he gets the rest he needs this offseason and enters 2019 healthy.
Before last year, Samardzija was a workhorse starting pitcher going 200-plus innings in five straight years. If he can regain some of his former self, it would be a huge boost for the San Francisco Giants in 2019.