The Giants have designated Jeff Samardzija for assignment and placed him on release waivers, per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). This officially ends the righty’s 2020 season, as we’ve long since passed the September 15 deadline for players to be eligible for an acquiring team’s postseason roster.
Of course, if Shark has his way, this won’t mark an end to his MLB tenure. The 35-year-old (36 in January) made clear last night he fully intends on continuing his career. He’ll hit the open market on the heels of disastrous 2020 season, though. Samardzija missed a month with a shoulder impingement and was limited to four starts overall. Those didn’t go well, as he was tagged for 19 runs on 21 hits (including seven homers) with only six strikeouts in 16.2 innings. The 29-29 Giants are up one game on the Brewers and Phillies for the National League’s final postseason spot. They’d evidently concluded that, even if they sew up a berth, Samardzija’s lackluster performance foreclosed him as an option for their playoff roster.
The move brings to an end Samardzija’s five-year tenure in San Francisco. The Giants inked him to a five-year, $90MM contract entering the 2016 season. At the time, the former Cubs, Athletics and White Sox hurler was coming off three consecutive 200-inning seasons. Then-executive vice president Brian Sabean and then-GM Bobby Evans surely envisioned Samardzija soaking up innings in the middle of the club’s rotation.
Over the first two seasons of the deal, that’s what he did. Samardzija combined for 411 innings of 4.12 ERA/3.73 FIP ball between 2016-17. He scuffled in 2018 before rebounding with a decent effort last year, running up 181.1 innings of 3.52 ERA ball (albeit with uninspiring peripherals). Unfortunately, the wheels fell off in the final season of the deal.
All told, Samardzija threw 653.2 innings over 110 starts as a Giant. He logged a 4.24 ERA/4.22 FIP with strikeout (20.3%) and walk (6.1%) rates a bit lower than league average. Samardzija was worth around seven wins above replacement over the course of the deal, in the estimate of both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference. That’s a bit of an underwhelming return on investment for the organization, but the deal was far from disastrous. Samardzija’s production in San Francisco was worth around $54.6MM in the estimate of FanGraphs’ dollars per WAR metric, to say nothing of any intangible value the well-traveled veteran brought in the clubhouse.