Jeff Samardzija has been in this position before.
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.
Here are my All-Star selections for the 2015 All-Star Game.
First Base: Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks, 4.1 fWAR
Second Base: Joe Panik, San Francisco Giants, 3.1 fWAR
Shortstop: Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis Cardinals, 1.9 fWAR
Third Base: Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds, 3.9 fWAR
Catcher: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants, 2.2 fWAR
Outfield: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals, 5.0 fWAR
Outfield: Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins, 3.3 fWAR
Outfield: Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers, 3.5 fWAR
First Base: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers, 3.3 fWAR
Second Base: Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians, 4.6 fWAR
Shortstop: Jose Iglesias, Detroit Tigers, 1.9 fWAR
Third Base: Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays, 3.8 fWAR
Catcher: Russell Martin, Toronto Blue Jays, 2.9 fWAR
Designated Hitter: Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners, 1.9 fWAR
Outfield: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels, 4.0 fWAR
Outfield: Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City Royals, 2.9 fWAR
Outfield: Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays, 2.7 fWAR
ESPN's Outside The Lines released a new report on Pete Rose today, stating that they had found documents that showed that Rose had bet on baseball while he had been a player, something that had never before been known. Rose has admitted to betting on the Reds to win as a manager, but never as a player.
Again, this brings up the question of reinstatement for Rose. With the new commissioner Rob Manfred, Rose did apply for reinstatement back into the league, which would allow him to participate in baseball-activities, such as throwing out a first pitch at a Major League game, and perhaps let him into the Hall of Fame.
Many writers believed that, with this report, Rose had blown his second chance at being allowed back into baseball. While I don't necessarily agree, they have a valid point. Rose not only bet on the game, which is already punishable by banishment, but he also lied about it for all these years.
Even still, Rose did nothing on the field to taint his statistics (as far as PEDs go). This gives him a more favorable view in my eye, as I believe that Rose should be in the Hall of Fame before the writers even consider putting Barry Bonds and the PED users in (not that they never should, but that's a whole separate issue).
On Twitter, I brought up the question to my followers: Should Pete Rose be allowed to be reinstated? The results are below. Every retweet is a vote for Pete's reinstatement, while every favorite is a vote against it.
But then a follower of mine, Josh Barnes, brought up a very solid idea, one that I think would be a good compromise for both sides.
Barnes suggested that Rose be banned from being allowed to do baseball-related activities (like throwing out the first pitch), but should still be put in the Hall of Fame for his on-field abilities, including being the all-time hits leader with a whopping 4,256.
That way, Rose is given the opportunity to be where he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but still punished for ruining the integrity of the game by betting on baseball.
After doing some research, I found that the National Baseball Hall of Fame is its own entity and does not fall under the umbrella of MLB. This means that it could put Pete Rose on the ballot, even if he is on baseball's permanently suspended list.
Following the banishment of Pete Rose, the Baseball Hall of Fame made a rule that it would not allow barred players into the Hall of Fame, which has kept Rose out ever since. However, that rule was made by the Hall of Fame, not by Major League Baseball. So, even if Rose is banned, the Hall of Fame could technically still put him on the ballot, they would just have to break their own rule, not MLB's.
Could Pete Rose still be put in the Hall of Fame without being reinstated by MLB? It probably isn't a realistic option to actually happen, but is an interesting perspective on this whole situation nonetheless.
The Baltimore Orioles look like they're in no position to begin selling pieces off their roster.
At 34-32, the Orioles are right in the heat of the AL East division rate, sitting just three games out of first place. With a +36 run differential, the Orioles could be looking to get on a tear soon, perhaps catapulting them up in the division or the Wild Card races.
Despite all this, the Orioles need to move slugging first baseman Chris Davis at some point during the season.
Davis, 29, would be an attractive piece due to his power, as he's hitting for a .224/.314/.461 line this season with 14 homers and 38 runs batted in over 264 plate appearances. He's just a season removed from a 53 home run performance.
Teams like the Cardinals and Rays could have need for the first baseman Davis. St. Louis has had to deal with a season-ending injury to starter Matt Adams. The Rays would be a good fit for Davis due to the injury and under-performance to James Loney, but the Orioles may be reluctant to move Davis to a division rival.
With free agency impending following this season, it seems nearly impossible that the Orioles will have Chris Davis following the 2015 season. Scott Boras, who is known for commanding big deals for his clients, represents Davis.
The Orioles may just not be willing to pay Davis like a primer slugger when he has trouble hitting for a good average and getting on base. This makes him a perfect to candidate to be dealt.
It's also a possibility that the Orioles decide to offer Davis a qualifying offer after the season and collect their draft pick. So, a trade is by no means a given.
However, a trade is an interesting thing to think about for the front office staff and GM Dan Duquette, who is known for being extremely creative with his roster. Perhaps the Orioles could get a Major League starter for Davis, as their rotation is among the worst in baseball. It is definitely a possibility.
As for the Orioles at first base, Steve Pearce could get a look, as he is suffering from an extremely low BABIP and is still hitting plenty of line drives. It's possible that he could rebound and make Davis seem like he was never gone.
With the trade deadline just a month away, it is finally time to be talking about possible "out of nowhere" moves. The Orioles could and probably should move Chris Davis in the next month.
Oh, boy. How do I start?
When MLB announced the latest update in the American League All-Star voting race, I was shocked. As were many others.
Of the nine starting spots in the AL (DH included), eight are currently being led by Royals. Kansas City fans were nice enough to allow Mike Trout to lead in a starting spot, but other than that, it's all Royals, including those of which that are not deserving.
Not a single Royals player leads his position in fWAR, and none of their outfielders in is the top three. How can the American League be fielding an All-Star starting lineup when their best players are all on the bench?
It's good that Royals fans are showing their support for their team. Major League Baseball can't be unhappy about that. But when fans are taking something this important into their own hands and are not voting for the most deserving players, there becomes an issue.
I love voting for the All-Star team. I've been doing it for the past few years, always writing about my selections on here. But something I don't want to see happen is the fans lose the privilege of voting for the All-Star Game when it just turns into a popularity contest.
What threw me over the edge was the second base race. Jose Altuve and Jason Kipnis are by far the best second basemen in the American League. Altuve is more inclined defensively and speed-wise, while Kipnis is more offensive-minded.
Not Kipnis nor Altuve lead the AL second-base vote. Neither do Brian Dozier, Dustin Pedroia, or Ian Kinsler.
It's Omar Infante, who is in fact the worst second baseman in the American League by fWAR, that leads the AL second base All-Star voting. Jokes were made that Infante will likely lose his starting job in Kansas City and still get the "honor" of starting the Midsummer Classic.
Infante is hitting a measly .204/.213/.283. His wRC+ is 30. His fWAR is -0.7. He is actually costing the Royals victories. Yet, as of right now, he is going to be voted on to the All-Star Game.
At this point, the All-Star voting is turning into pure bogus. All the voting is legitimate, but it's all coming from the Kansas City fanbase. But when Omar Infante leads the All-Star voting, there is obviously an issue with this system. Even though I really don't want to see a change in the system, it may just not be the best route for MLB.