The San Francisco Giants agreed to terms with right-handed starter Jeff Samardzija to a five-year deal today, as Alex Pavolvic of CSN Bay Area reported.
Samardzija will make $90 million, Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports.
Samardzija's $18 million average annual value (AAV) on the contract is significantly less than what was earned from other starting pitchers on the market, like Zack Greinke ($34 million AAV), David Price ($31 million AAV), and Jordan Zimmermann ($22 million AAV). It does, however, put him ahead of John Lackey.
The Giants did want starting pitching on the free agent market, as they had money to spend. San Francisco showed interest in everyone from Greinke to Mike Leake, but even after signing Samardzija might not be done spending to upgrade their rotation.
The Giants rotation currently includes the likes of Madison Bumgarner, Jake Peavy, Matt Cain, Chris Heston, and Samardzija.
Samardzija, who turns 31 in January, is liked more for his skill-set than anything else. He is a big, tall right-hander (6'5", 225 lbs) that can throw in the mid-90s with his fastball, touching 97 to 98 mph at times. His health is consistently praised as well.
The only issue is that Samardzija has not been able to consistently use his talent like an ace.
Last season, Samardzija pitched for the White Sox, going 11-13 with a 4.96 ERA and 4.23 FIP in 32 starts. He threw 214 innings and posted a 163 to 49 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Samardzija gave up the most hits, earned runs, and home runs in the American League.
The year before, 2014, Samardzija was a completely different pitcher. He was an ace, being named to the National League All-Star team with the Cubs. In 219 2/3 innings, he posted a 2.99 ERA, 8.3 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 with Chicago and the Oakland Athletics.
Samardzija may benefit from a return to the National League, where his ERA is nearly a half-run lower. He has only made two starts in AT&T Park, giving up five earned runs in 12 innings pitched, striking out 16 and giving up just one home run.
With the signing of Samardzija, the Giants will lose their first round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft because he was issued a qualifying offer. The White Sox will get a compensatory selection.
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