RHP Jeff Samardzija
Veteran right-hander Jeff Samardzija was one of the pleasant surprises for the Giants in 2019.
It was unclear what to expect from him after an injury-plagued 2018 season where he made just 10 starts and logged just 44.2 innings.
He wound up pitching quite well, proving he still had something in the tank by posting a 3.52 ERA that ranked 14th among qualified NL starters in 181 innings.
Other clubs surely took notice of his resurgence and it’s not out of the question to think that teams looking for a grizzled veteran starter could come calling this offseason.
The San Francisco Giants would be wise to entertain those offers since Samardzija does not factor into the team’s long-term plans.
The 34-year-old is a free agent after the 2020 season, owed $19.8 million in the final season of a five-year, $90 million contract. If the Giants can bring back a modest return and maybe even get another team to take a bit out of that salary, it would be in their best interest going forward.
Reliever Mark Melancon had a similar salary situation, and Zaidi was able to get the Atlanta Braves to take on his entire contract, so it’s not out of the question.
Samardzija has a limited no-trade clause, so he has some control over where he ends up playing, but the opportunity to play for a contender in 2020 in an effort to get a World Series ring before he retires could be enough motivation for him to accept a deal.
However, if the Giants lose Madison Bumgarner in free agency, they may choose to keep Samardzija around so they at least have two established starters in him and Johnny Cueto.
Even if they do lose Bumgarner, trading Samardzija could make sense if they want to get a longer look at some of their younger rotation arms like Logan Webb or Tyler Beede, or if they feel confident that they can land a free-agent starter like Gerrit Cole.
All in all, Samardzija is a valid piece that the San Francisco Giants could try to trade in an effort to get back some young talent and shed some payroll.