The Milwaukee Brewers need starting pitching, and they’ve been clearing money off the books for the past few weeks. Could they look to add San Francisco Giants starter Jeff Samardzija?
Coming into 2019, Jeff Samardzija had two years left on a deal that would pay him $39.6 million through 2020. He also posted a 6.25 ERA in an injury-plagued season, and literally no one was looking to deal for him.
He bounced back in 2019, and he only has one year left on his contract before hitting free agency. Could the Milwaukee Brewers look to add a financially motivated Samardzija for the 2020 season?
How did Samardzija look in 2019?
A lot better than he did in 2018.
Samardzija made 32 starts for the Giants last year, and managed a 3.52 ERA. He tossed 181 1/3 innings, struck out 140, walked 49, and was tagged for 28 homers.
His average velocity on his heater was a career low 91.9 MPH. He made up for the dip in velocity by using his cutter more often and changing speeds. He’s not quite the 95 MPH+ guy he was when he was younger, but he can still eat up innings and keep hitters off balance.
What would it take to deal for Samardzija?
It really depends on how much salary the Giants are willing to eat. If they want to pass the entire salary on the the Brewers, they’d likely get a name on a roster from the Dominican Summer League. If they’re willing to take on money, they could get a fringe top-30 prospect in exchange for Samardzija. Teams aren’t going to fall over themselves to acquire a 35-year old starter with a questionable track record who’s owed almost $19 million next year.
What role would Samardzija play with the Brewers?
He’d likely slot in as a third or fourth starter in front of Eric Lauer and behind whoever they find to fill out the rotation. The team needs an innings eater who can take the ball every fifth day.
Samardzija in a contract year would likely be motivated to get one more bite at the free agent apple before opening a dispensary or a car dealership. A solid year with the Milwaukee Brewers and a playoff run would help his case for some team to give him a multi-year deal after the 2020 season. The two teams are a fit on paper, but a lot has to happen to pull off a deal. However, fans may want to pay special attention to the rumors coming out of San Francisco during the upcoming winter meetings. There’s going to be a lot of smoke around Samardzija while Brewers GM David Stearns and all the other executives are all in the same place at the same time.