The San Francisco Giants are reportedly interested in acquiring Chicago Cubs‘ staff ace Jeff Samardzija, who earned his first win of the season in opposition of the team he could potentially pitch for in August. Samardzija was outstanding in notching a win on Memorial Day, tossing seven innings of three-run baseball while striking out 10 Giants. He’s just 2-6 on the season, but owns a solid 2.77 ERA, averaging 8.1 K/9.
Samardzija has been a victim of minimal run support on a team that ranks 26th in that department. He likely wouldn’t have that problem as part of the Giants’ vaunted starting rotation. San Francisco has been consistently productive at the plate all season, enabling the best record in baseball. They average 4.31 runs per game, ranking 9th in slugging percentage (.404) and 6th in total home runs (71).
Samardzija is widely considered the most coveted pitcher available this summer. A move appears imminent, especially considering the fact that Chicago isn’t built to contend. Samardzija would remain under club control through the 2015 season before becoming a free agent, which could increase the Giants’ willingness to part with top pitching prospect Kyle Crick, who general manager Brian Sabean must consider trading if the team is serious about acquiring a front-line starter.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports recently reported on Twitter that several clubs are intrigued by the idea of adding Samardzija to their respective rotations. The Giants would presumably have six starting pitchers on their 25-man roster if they were to acquire the Cubs’ ace, which would push either Tim Lincecum or Ryan Vogelsong to the bullpen. After re-signing Lincecum to a two-year deal worth $35 million over the offseason, it seems unlikely for San Francisco to demote the two-time Cy Young Award winner to his 2012 postseason role.
The Giants don’t necessarily need to add a starting pitcher before the non-waiver trade deadline. Their pitching staff has collectively registered a 3.22 ERA, which is more than good enough to fuel a postseason run at their third World Series title in five seasons. Sabean could face increased pressure to pull the trigger on Samardzija simply to prevent the 29-year-old right-hander from ending up with the arch-rival Los Angeles Dodgers. The boys in blue have recently made up three games in the NL West standings.
Giants executives have a difficult decision to make. Even though the addition of Samardzija would make the Giants a more dangerous team, it would create an internal roster problem in that either Lincecum or Vogelsong would likely be forced to pitch in relief. It would also likely require the team to part with its top prospect, which the Giants have become accustomed to doing over the past several seasons.