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Jeff Samardzija was supposed to be a bargain of sorts this offseason. He has had success in the past, but not so much that his terrible 2015 can be easily forgotten. Well, in theory, anyway, as teams negotiating with Shark have told ESPN's Jayson Stark that Samardzija is claiming to have a $100 million offer in hand. That, for a pitcher with one great season and a host of average or worse ones flanking it, is ridiculous. And let's not forget he was also given a qualifying offer, so draft pick compensation is part of the deal, too.
A $100 million deal for Samardzija is a huge risk, as it's based entirely on unfulfilled potential that teams believe he has. He's shown flashes of greatness, sure, but his greatest strength as a starter to this point has been his ability to soak up innings, and in his most recent campaign, those innings were terrible. There is value to eating up innings, but a raise and faith of this magnitude for a pitcher who just saw his strikeout rate drop while his homer rate jumped is questionable, at best.
Or, to put it another way: Grant Brisbee wrote a free agent prediction piece for Samardzija, and decided that the Marlins were the team weird enough to give Shark a long-term, lucrative contract. That prediction, though, was just for $77 million, so there is an MLB team out there who has bested a made-up contract value attached to a historically ridiculous franchise by $23 million or so. This, of course, assumes that Samardzija's camp is telling the truth. After his 2015, don't you think the first we heard of a $100 million offer would have been the moment he accepted it? After he tripped over himself to sign it, anyway? Maybe that really is his market, but one wonders if Shark is hurting himself by not taking this reported offer right now, before teams find something else to do with their money and roster space.
- The Red Sox can afford David Price and his $31 million average annual value right now thanks to a roster loaded with inexpensive and talented youth.
- The Red Sox can afford David Price and his $31 million average annual value later on thanks to expiring and expensive veteran contracts and the aging of the youth that makes him possible now.
- Speaking of Price, former Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who left the organization after turning down an extension reportedly due to conflicts with new President and CEO Mark Shapiro, supposedly would have offered Price a contract to stay in Toronto. The Jays, sans Anthopoulos, did no such thing to their free agent.
- The Pirates couldn't find a trade partner for Pedro Alvarez, probably because everyone else knew they were going to non-tender him.
- The White Sox non-tendered Tyler Flowers, which seemed weird at first, but they quickly made it make some sense by inking Dioner Navarro. Not that Navarro is a massive upgrade or anything.
- The Dodgers' front office won't tip their hand with regard to Zack Greinke, but owner Magic Johnson says the ace is their top priority.
- The Orioles acquired Mark Trumbo from the Mariners on Wednesday, so get ready for some dingers.
- David Price's deal has allowed everyone to start arguing about the value of opt-out clauses in contracts, and just who they benefit. They can be team-friendly, as it's the only escape available from the back-end of a megadeal, but they aren't unfriendly to the players because of this. It's another dice roll for both sides, and they add a wrinkle that can benefit both player and team. And there is nothing people hate more in analysis than something that lacks an obvious, upfront winner.