JOE PANIK (THE HYBRID RETURN)
June 26, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik (12) hits a double during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
In this scenario, the White Sox peter out to .500 or a couple games below at the July 31 trade deadline.
With Samardzija being a free agent and the team not equipped to truly challenge for a playoff spot in ’15 they choose to part with the righty.
Now a lot has been said about merely keeping Samardzija, tendering him a qualifying offer at the end of the year and recouping the compensatory draft pick when he signs with another team.
The issue with this strategy is that the return is a player who is likely at least three years away from the big leagues, which once again isn’t in line with maximizing this current three year window.
The White Sox are going to want to target an MLB ready bat that they can plug in right now in any Samardzija deal. I think that player is San Francisco Giants’ second baseman Joe Panik.
San Francisco is hanging around the NL Wildcard race and the fact is they need pitching.
According to Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles, the reigning World Series champion Giants had interest in Samardzija at last years’ trade deadline and it’s no secret that they were trying to woo Jon Lester to San Fran over the offseason.
You have to believe that Samardzija would look attractive to them considering they could go after him in free agency this offseason and hope to extend the relationship.
Samardzija has been much better than his 4.02 ERA indicates. His FIP is much lower at 3.41 and while his strikeouts have been down this year, he has continued to cut down on the free passes which has led to an outstanding 4.33 SO/W ratio.
The electric “stuff” is still there and after a few adjustments he is finally rounding into form and has been very hot as of late. The luxury the White Sox will be in is that if they are still within a few games of the second wildcard at the deadline, they can leverage that into teams paying a premium for Samardzija.
The reason Panik should be a target is that it also serves as a “buyers” move because he is an instant upgrade at second base. Thus, flipping a “sellers” asset for a new item is what makes this a hybrid move.
Panik is an all-star this season and has a plus glove at second. He’s the type of contact hitter the White Sox desperately need to put next to Eaton. His .308/.372/.448 line would look awfully good to shore up the bottom of the order.
The Giants would be selling high on Panik as he is still mostly unproven at the major league level, having yet to complete a full season, but it looks like he might be legit. Regardless, the Giants might be willing to put him on the block if it means making a push to win back-to-back championships.
Panik was a first round draft pick in 2011 and he won’t be a free agent until 2021. It goes without saying that the White Sox might have to throw in another piece to acquire him, but Shark is a high-end enough arm that him and an MLB ready outfielder, which the Giants need right now due to injuries, like Trayce Thompson might get it done.
The Deal: 2B Joe Panik for RHP Jeff Samardzija and OF Trayce Thompson
This is all assuming of course that the Giants feel confident that they can retain Samardzija.
For the White Sox, this isn’t really a total sellers move because if Erik Johnson could pitch to an ERA near four in Samardzija’s place, then net net this deal would actually improve the team.
Overall, whether they go for a rental, add a core piece, or even take the hybrid avenue, the White Sox as buyers in 2015 could be a compelling storyline, and I think the nature of the moves would be similar to the deals listed above.