According to CBS Chicago‘s baseball expert, Bruce Levine, the former ace of the Chicago Cubs, Jeff Samardzija, will be on the move again this offseason and the Chicago White Sox could one of the teams that looks to secure the young right-hander.
Jeff Samardzija an Ideal Fit in Chicago?
The Chicago White Sox currently have somewhat of an issue in their starting rotation. With Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and John Danks, three of their five projected starting pitchers are left-handed and locked into the rotation. Then, there’s the “x-factor” and last season’s No. 3 overall pick Carlos Rodon, also left-handed, who could be fighting for a spot in the rotation come 2015.
A dominant, hard-throwing, right-handed pitcher is exactly what the White Sox are in desperate need of; however, would Samardzjia just be a stop-gap for one season? Upon completion of next year, Jeff will enter free agency in search of a huge long-term deal having already turned down a lucrative offer from the Cubs in 2014.
A five-year deal that exceeds $100 million will be the starting point in any conversation for the power pitcher’s services beyond this season. The issue being, Chicago does not have a top quality right-handed arm in their system to promote in 2015.
Money versus Assets
The White Sox will have money entering the 2014-15 season thanks to GM Rick Hahn unloading a few pieces, namely Adam Dunn, Gordon Beckham and Alejandro De Aza, paired with the retirement of Paul Konerko.
Despite another tough year at the turnstyles, Levine believes the White Sox have ample resources to sign at least two top-tier free agents this offseason. The restructured player payroll has been reduced to the point that commitments for the 25-man roster will now be at about $60 million for 2015.
Chicago started the 2014 season with a $90 million payroll. Therefore, depending on the payroll budget that chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and his directors give general manager Rick Hahn for 2015, the baseball department may have $85 million-$90 million to spend on players salaries.
The money is there. Assets, not so much.
Oakland’s Billy Beane went all in last season in an effort to win the 2014 World Series and came up empty. Now, Mr. Money Ball himself will begin unloading his big money players in an effort to keep his small market team’s payroll down.
The question becomes, what will it take to land Samardzija? Beane will be commanding young, less exspensive talent in return for the 29-year old, top of the rotation pitcher.
The White Sox are unlikely to trade young talent for a one-year rental player. They would need to be committed to re-signing long-term if they pursued a trade to acquire Samardzija.
This offseason should be interesting to say the least.