Don’t Look for the Houston Astros to go After the Shark
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reported today the free agent right-handed pitcher Jeff Samardzija is “claiming to have $100M” on the table when discussing potential deals with multiple teams. With Samardzija going into his age 31 season and with his awful season in 2015, teams, such as the Houston Astros, should avoid this potential massive and undeserved contract.
Samardzija signed a one-year $9.8 million contract with the Chicago White Sox after being traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland A’s at the 2014 deadline. In what was supposed to be a revamped team with the additions of Samardzija, closer David Robertson, and outfielder Melky Cabrera, the White Sox struggled and finished with a record of 76-86 and 19 games back of the American League Central-leading and eventual 2015 World Champion Kansas City Royals. Samardzija didn’t help out much either finishing with a record of 11-13 with an ERA of 4.96. He led the AL in hits given up with 228, earned runs given up with 118, and home runs given up with 29.
Samardzija’s transition into the AL has not been an easy one. His Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) rating, which, according to Baseball Reference, calculates a pitcher’s effectiveness at preventing home runs, walk, and hit by pitches while causing strikeouts, has steadily increased from 3.09 in the first half of 2014 with the Cubs to 3.30 in the second half of 2014 with the A’s. This past season, Samardzija had an FIP rating of 4.23 and gave up an average of 9.6 hits per nine innings. His strikeout totals have decreased with this switch too from averaging 8.6 per nine innings in the NL to only 7.2 in the AL.
With the increased value of free agent pitchers this offseason, Samardzija is overvalued and is not needed by the Astros. Samardzija would be a third or fourth starter for this Astros rotation behind Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, and Lance McCullers but with the money he is asking for, he would be paid more than those three pitchers combined.
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Also, Samardzija gives up way to many runs and his ballpark usually doesn’t help him. According to a list of 2015 MLB Park Factors on ESPN.com, U.S. Cellular Field factors only .904 runs per game. However according to Samardzija’s adjusted ERA based on his ballpark, he had an ERA+ of 79. With the average ERA+ being at 100, this means that according to his ERA of 4.96, his ERA is way below average in that particular ballpark.
Samardzija performs in the AL like a bottom of the starter rotation nut wants to be paid like a top of the rotation guy. However, the increased value of offensive performance within the American League effected Samardzija’s performance drastically especially in 2015. This is why that no AL team, especially the Astros, should sign this Houston Astros: Samardzija not a good free agent sign for any AL term overpriced and overvalued pitcher.
The Astros’ answer is within their organization. This would go against all of the young progress this team is making within. Luhnow is pressured with all of these high-end players and all of this young talent within to make a move either by trade or in free agency. However, Samardzija is just not the player the Astros should be looking for.