August 30, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) pitches the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Here is my question for the day: with Jeff Samardzija in the rotation, will the Chicago White Sox extend his contract past this upcoming season?
Samardzija is one of the better No. 2 starters in all of baseball, and he’s just now entering his prime, considering the fact that he will turn 30 next Friday.
One issue to look at with Samardzija is the fact that he has not been used as much as some other pitchers his age (due to the fact that he played football for so long). Therefore, his arm will not have the wear and tear on it that some others would.
Let’s look at pros and cons for extending their current deal.
1. He gives the Sox a legit starter to put behind Chris Sale.
With Sale as the team’s ace, they now need a No. 2 who can pitch against another top No. 2, especially in the postseason.
With an ERA of 2.99 last season (with the Oakland Athletics and Chicago Cubs), Samardzija can be a front line starter in a postseason rotation. He can also go deep into games, considering the fact that he threw 219.2 innings last season.
2. The potential to rest the bullpen
As I stated above, Samardzija is a workhorse starter. This means the bullpen will get more rest, meaning they will be in better shape toward the end of the season. That is key, assuming they are in a tight pennant race.
3. Adds another power arm to the rotation
Samardzija has struck out 596 hitters over the last three years. That is key when facing elite competition, because it helps to have a front-line starter who will miss the bat.
Not to mention, he held the opposition to a .244 batting average, which is below average.
1. Risk of having an injury
The risk is key, due to the fact of an injury. Not saying it would happen, but if it does and he loses velocity, he probably won’t be the same pitcher. If that happens, he may only be a No. 3 or 4 starter. Therefore, he would be grossly overpaid.
2. The length and dollars
How long is the deal, and what would the dollars have to be? Even though this will be his age 30 season, he will be starting his next contract (more than likely) at age 31.
The length would be an issue, due to the fact that if he were to sign a 5-6 year deal, he would be past his prime by the end.
That is an issue for the White Sox, who will need to keep money freed up for the younger players they have coming up through the system.
3. Would the Sox have to pay more than market value?
Samardzija could get more that $100 million on the open market next year, barring an injury. It will be interesting if he re-signs with the White Sox now or rolls the dice a la Max Scherzer.
However, if the Sox wait until next offseason to sign him, he will have many suitors with deep pockets. Risk versus reward should be considered here.
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Personally, I would love to see Samardzija kept on the South Side for the next few seasons. With the current rotation of Sale, Jose Quintana and then Carlos Rodon on the way (not to mention Samardzija), they would be a very competitive team barring injuries.
Due to the fact that the other three are lefties, it would help to have a righty in the mix as well. It would be unprecedented to see the Sox spend $100M on a pitcher, especially after the whole issue with John Danks’ injury.
If Samardzija were to be an All-Star and had a few more trips in him, I could see General Manager Rick Hahn doing everything in his power to keep him on the South Side for years to come.