Now that the San Francisco Giants have added depth to the starting rotation, they may be able to find a trade partner for Jeff Samardzija.
After an injury-marred 2018 season, the veteran right-hander came into spring training last year with a refined approach and healthier shoulder.
The 34-year-old focused on inducing weaker contract and pitching around the strike zone. That was in stark contrast to the way he approached hitters earlier in his career when he pounded the strike zone with mid-90s fastballs. That approach often led to giving up extra long balls.
That refined approach paid dividends for Samardzija and the Giants as he went 11-2 with a 3.52 ERA across 181.1 innings of work.
Former manager Bruce Bochy was more aggressive in limiting Samardzija’s exposure to a third turn through the lineup and that could have factored in to his added effectiveness. Despite that, he still lived up to his reputation as a workhorse.
Samardzija joined the Giants on a five-year, $90 million deal in December 2015, signing a contract that included a partial no-trade clause, which he can update annually.
In that time, Samardzija has given the Giants a 4.10 ERA and 4.09 FIP across 637 innings. Aside from the injury-shortened 2018 season where he recorded a 6.25 ERA in 44.2 frames, the former Notre Dame product has proven to be an effective pitcher.
As currently constructed, Samardzija will be part of a rotation that also includes some combination of Johnny Cueto, Logan Webb, Tyler Beede, Tyler Anderson, Tyson Ross, and Kevin Gausman. The team has built up some depth in the rotation, and may now be in a position to ship Samardzija off.
The right-hander only has one year and $18 million remaining on his contract, which is about the market rate for a mid-rotation arm. The contract length bears little risk, and the Giants could sweeten any potential deal by pitching in extra cash.
With that being said, Samardzija could play an important role for teams with playoff aspirations. Ahead is a look at three potential fits on the trade market.