Giants Sign Jeff Samardzija

A day after missing out on Zack Greinke, the Giants quickly turned to their secondary plan.

Even coming off a miserable season, Samardzija was still able to land a deal for $18 million per year, $3 million more per season than I predicted, and well north of the $64 million the crowd projected. The Giants, like the other suitors, chose to look beyond his 2015 performance, and are paying for the expected future value that lies in a right-arm that still owns premium stuff.

Even with the lousy 2015 season on his track record, Steamer still sees roughly a +3 WAR pitcher going forward, so this deal isn’t nearly as crazy as one might think by just looking at most recent season.

Jeff Samardzija’s Contract Estimate — 5 yr / $77.4 M
Year Age WAR $/WAR Est. Value
2016 31 2.8 $8.0 M $22.4 M
2017 32 2.3 $8.4 M $19.3 M
2018 33 1.8 $8.8 M $15.9 M
2019 34 1.3 $9.3 M $12.0 M
2020 35 0.8 $9.7 M $7.8 M
Totals 9.0 $77.4 M
Value: $8M/WAR with 5.0% inflation
Aging Curve: +0.25 WAR/yr (18-27), 0 WAR/yr (28-30),-0.5 WAR/yr (31-37),-0.75 WAR/yr (> 37)

Dan Szymborski put up the ZIPS forecast for Samardzija on Twitter, and it’s even more optimistic.

While $90 million isn’t cheap, Samardzija doesn’t project dramatically worse than Jordan Zimmermann going forward, and this is the price range the market is establishing for above average pitchers. And by signing Samardzija for $90 million, the Giants likely have room to add a second starter as well while still coming in under the total amount they would have had to pay Greinke over the next five or six years.

While there will likely be lots of criticism of this deal from those who simply look at Samardzija’s disaster season in Chicago, the stuff and the longer track record suggest that he’s still a quality arm who just had a bad year. $90 million isn’t a bargain, especially when you factor in the cost of the draft pick surrendered to sign him, but Samardzija’s a good pitcher who will help the team win, and this isn’t a dramatic overpay for a team looking to win in the short-term.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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And the Giants get to give Billy Beane a reminder right in his back yard of the guy that he gave up Addison Russell and more just to rent for a half-season

Owen S
Owen S

I think you mean to say, a reminder that he gave up Addison Russell and stuff for Marcus Semien, Josh Phegley, a half season of Jeff Samardzija, and stuff

Cool Lester Smooth
Cool Lester Smooth

(Which really doesn’t make it better)