San Francisco Giants: Jeff Samardzija is a Giants albatross

Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his right shoulder and is expected to miss at least one start.


(Photo Credit: Tom Thai)

San Francisco Giants pitcher Jeff Samardzija is injured once again. The right-hander will undergo an MRI on his right shoulder and is expected to miss at least one start after giving up two runs and three hits in just one inning of work last night against the Colorado Rockies.

As reported by Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports, Samardzija has been pitching with discomfort all year but in his start last night, it all came to a boil when the righty claimed he just couldn’t get himself going when there was clearly some discomfort.

In late March, Samardzija was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right pectoral muscle, and it is safe to assume that the remnants of that injury have been affecting him all season. This is no surprise as Samardzija basically rushed back from injury hoping to help his team. In the long run, his impatience to get back on the field may end up hurting his team more than it could have helped it. 

Samardzija has made eight starts for San Francisco this year and only has one win to pair with his 6.56 ERA. 

The Contract

In the 2015 offseason, when Samardzija was a free agent, the Giants were hunting for a starter that would pitch behind ace Madison Bumgarner in their rotation. Samardzija signed a five-year, $90m contract that would keep him in a Giants uniform until 2020. That’s a big contract and not one that has given San Francisco much return on investment. 

In 2016, his first year with the Giants, Samardzija pitched to a 3.81 ERA in 32 starts, which was his best year for the San Francisco thus far. It has only gone downhill from there. 

In 2017, Samardzija again made 32 starts for San Francisco. Of those 32 starts, he only won nine games and pitched to a 4.42 ERA. While he has always given the Giants length, pitching 207.2 innings last year, his inability to keep runs off the board really hurts the team and, by extension, his value. 

The Woes

The Giants have been playing without Bumgarner, who went down in spring training when he took a line drive off of his pitching hand and suffered a fracture which required surgery. Bumgarner will finally make his season debut for San Francisco next Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. San Francisco has really suffered from the absence of their ace and solidified themselves a fourth-place spot in the NL West with 25-30 record that has the team five games behind the first-place Colorado Rockies. 

Bumgarner’s return on the horizon makes the Samardzija news a little easier of a pill to swallow, but still a big blow to an already struggling, sub-.500 Giants team.

Samardzija is now 33 years old and still has two years remaining on his contract after this one. The numbers have gotten progressively worse, meaning that Samardzija’s best years are behind him and he is now on the decline. The remaining years of his contract look to be bleak for Samardzija and San Francisco alike, and some hard decisions may soon loom for management.

Is Jeff Samardzija a liability for the San Francisco Giants? Leave your thoughts in the comments section!

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