Last season at this time, Samardzija was nearing the end of his career as a member of the Chicago Cubs. He was dealt to Oakland in a multi-player deal in July.
At the time of his trade, Samardzija was one of the best pitchers in the game. He went 2-7 with a 3.03 ERA with the Cubs last year, striking out 100 as opposed to 29 walks in 101 innings.
This time around, Samardzija is in a bit of a different position. He is a member of a Chicago organization -- this time the White Sox -- but is not pitching nearly as well.
He's 5-4 with a 4.53 ERA through 101.1 innings. Despite those "ugly" numbers, Samardzija has had some particularly bad luck, as his 3.67 FIP suggests that with some better defense his ERA would be nearly a run lower. His 84 to 17 strikeout-to-walk ratio also is an indication that things will turn around.
Samardzija has been hurting from a .338 batting average on balls in play, 39 points higher than his career average. Again, with some better defense Samardzija is just as good as he was last year.
When the White Sox, who were one of the bigger spenders this offseason, decide to rebuild following their 32-40 record through their first 72 games, Samardzija should be the first to go.
For teams in the market for starting pitching, like the Astros, Blue Jays, Yankees, Giants, or even Dodgers, this has to be a welcome sight. Samardzija might be the most valuable addition for any club this trade deadline season.
First, he's a free agent this offseason, which means that if the White Sox do decide to move him, he'll be cheaper for acquiring teams than if he had more years of team control.
Second, his numbers aren't stellar. Any team could point to the fact that his 4.53 ERA should keep them from giving up very many top prospects in any deal.
Third, the saber stats do show that, with better defense, Samardzija can be an ace in any staff. So, to recap, a team could be getting a free agent to-be at a discounted price due to poor performances and could end up getting an ace out of it.
He may not be Cole Hamels or Johnny Cueto, but he's ready to become a key member of a new pitching staff for a contender down the stretch. His name is Jeff Samardzija and your team should go out and trade for him.