Here’s a roundup of the news and reactions related to the Giants’ signing of Jeff Samardzija…
- The Giants ownership group “was ecstatic” with GM Bobby Evans’ preparation, writes Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News. After the club missed out on Zack Greinke, they were ready to quickly pull the trigger on Samardzija. While he’s a big step down from Greinke, Samardzija comes with plenty of upside. He’ll also allow the club to pursue either another starting pitcher or a serious outfield upgrade like Yoenis Cespedes or Justin Upton.
- Samardzija selected the Giants over the Cardinals and Dodgers, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. As has often been reported, the Cardinals are looking for depth to replace Lance Lynn who will miss 2016 after Tommy John surgery. The Dodgers are exploring the market for virtually any quality pitcher.
- The Cubs backed off Samardzija due to the five-year term, tweets Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com. His former club met the $18MM annual value paid by the Giants, but were uncomfortable with such a lengthy deal. In my opinion, the John Lackey signing sufficiently meets the club’s current needs. If Chicago decides to upgrade for a playoff run, they can cash in one of their many prospects.
- Meanwhile, the Yankees were never involved in the bidding, tweets Joel Sherman of the NY Post. New York is focused on the trade market for pitchers with zero to three years of service time. This news indicates a continuation of the Yankees’ youth movement.
- Samardzija projects to be comparable to Jordan Zimmermann, writes Dave Cameron of FanGraphs. Given that Zimmermann signed for an average of $4MM more per season, the Giants received solid value relative to the market. Samardzija is a challenging pitcher to project, leading to a wide range of conceivable outcomes.
- In talking about the deal, Evans praised Samardzija’s durability, writes Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Evans believes mechanical adjustments could lead to a rebound 2016 season. He also suggests that working with Buster Posey this season will help Samardzija’s numbers. While he doesn’t specifically mention it, AT&T Park is the most pitcher friendly stadium in the majors. Undoubtedly, Samardzija will also benefit from his new home field.
- Ben Zobrist, who the club can now afford after not inking Greinke, is scheduled to visit Giants officials soon, reports John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Evans commented on the flexibility offered by saying, “smaller deals give you potential for larger moves, and larger moves could limit the number of choices you may have and cause a ripple effect with the need to stay with smaller deals.“