On Thursday we looked at the teams that aren’t on Jeff Samardzija’s no-trade list. It’s unlikely that any of them would swing a deal, but it’s not impossible. If the Giants were just going to give him away, there would be teams that are happily willing to take him.
But the Giants aren’t going to give him away. They signed him when he led the AL in earned runs, by gosh, and they’re going to stick with him when he leads the NL in losses. He’ll probably throw more than 200 innings this year, and he still has that league-best strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s still a pitcher to dream on, somehow, and the Giants would spend their money on someone similar in the offseason if they didn’t have Samardzija.
If you’re keen on dumping Samardzija for salary relief, ask yourself what you think the Giants would spend the savings on. It would be Marco Estrada or someone like that. Which isn’t necessarily the worst solution, but the Giants wouldn’t want to swap out starting pitchers like that unless there was something in it for them.
In other words, what kind of return would make a Jeff Samardzija trade sensible for the Giants?
We need to remember a few things:
Rule #1: Remember that the Giants aren’t rebuilding
They’re reloading. They aren’t going to want more Heliots Ramos. They’re going to want prospects who can contribute next year. If it’s a pitcher who can step in and at least be Ty Blach, that’s even better.
Rule #2: The Giants aren’t interested in a salary dump
That means they want prospects, real prospects, not just a token 25-year-old starting pitcher who would allow them to foist Samardzija’s contract on someone else.
Rule #3: The system is thin in upper-level pitching, which seems bad
Tyler Beede has been erratic all year, and he isn’t missing bats. Chris Stratton hasn’t progressed. Joan Gregorio got suspended for PEDs. If it weren’t for Blach holding his own and Andrew Suarez steadily progressing, this entire season…