San Francisco Giants Sign Jeff Samardzija
The Giants have reportedly signed Jeff Samardzija for five years and $90M. All in all, I’m glad the Giants signed Samardzija rather than winning (and shelling out for) the Zack Greinke sweepstakes. Greinke is obviously a better pitcher, but the Giants need more than one great starter, and Samardzija’s signing allows the Giants to sign another free agent starter, quite possibly Mike Leake.
The risk of injuries is just so high with pitchers that Greinke’s contract bears a high risk of blowing up in Arizona’s face unless they go deal into the play-offs in the next couple of seasons. Greinke isn’t a big guy, and I’m not convinced he can routinely pitch 200 innings per year, particularly going into his age 32 season. At least with Samardzija, the risk of his new contract is only about 45% of Greinke’s deal in terms of dollars.
Meanwhile, the Cubs’ two-year $32M deal with John Lackey looks good for the same reasons. Lackey really was good for the Cardinals last year, and the Cubs aren’t locked in for the long term if Lackey quickly gets old.
I’m kind of surprised Lackey didn’t get a third year at the same $16M per, given how well he pitched last year, even if he will be 37 next season. He’s probably looking at the Cubs as a team that will give him the best chance to win a third World Series ring in the next two years, after which he can retire comfortably in two years’ time.
There are still plenty of good free agent starters, including the soon-to-be-posted Kenta Maeda. As the musical chairs begin to fill up, I still wonder whether Johnny Cueto made a mistake rejecting Arizona’s $120M offer. However, as the top remaining free agent starter, it’s certainly possible the Dodgers will step in and offer him $125M-$130M for six seasons to replace the hold left by Greinke’s departure.