After losing the Zack Greinke sweepstakes last night to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the San Francisco Giants signed former Chicago White Sox starting pitcher, Jeff Samardzija. Final numbers for the contract are 5 years for $90 million dollars with a limited trade clause. The Sox officially gain the comp draft pick after Samardzija declined the qualifying offer. If the Sox do sign any free agents with a qualifying offer attached to them, it will be this pick that they will give up.
It is well noted that Samardzija had the worst season of his career while on the South Side. Sox pitching coach, Don Cooper spoke with 670 the Score's Bruce Levine Saturday morning in which he took some of the blame for Samardzija's struggles by trying to tinker his stuff too much. One of the pitches that Samardzija seemed to abandon in 2015 was his split-finger fastball.
That pitch will be making a comeback in 2016.
The #SfGiants believe the best is yet to come for Samardzija who plans to incorporate his split finger back into his pitching arsenal.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 5, 2015
On paper this seems like a good marriage. Giants are very good developing pitchers and pitching coach Dave Righetti is one of baseball's best. Of course, that is what we said last year when the White Sox acquired Samardzija from Oakland. Perhaps the return of Shark's splitter will lead to better outcomes in 2016, but pitching at AT&T Park with a better defense could have an even greater impact.
Giants were MLB's second-best defensive team in 2015 by UZR (+37.2) White Sox were MLB’s worst defensive team in 2015 by UZR (-39.5)— Beyond the Box Score (@BtBScore) December 5, 2015
Samardzija lead the American League in home runs allowed with 29 in 2015. That number probably will shrink in 2016 pitching at AT&T Park which allowed the fewest in all of MLB (0.6 per game).