SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Jeff Samardzija has the durability and strikeout capability to be a front-line starter, if not an ace, on other teams. With the San Francisco Giants, he’s in a potential starting rotation with four other pitchers who have been All-Stars.
The Giants paid big bucks — $90 million over five years — to sign the 31-year-old right-hander who was 11-13 with a 4.96 ERA over 32 starts for the Chicago White Sox last season. Samardzija looks forward to taking his turn every five days in an expected rotation that includes four pitchers with World Series experience: Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Matt Cain and Jake Peavy.
“When you have a starting rotation like this, for me, just as a fan of the game I enjoy it,” Samardzija said after throwing a bullpen session Saturday. “I love coming and watching guys pitch. Lefty, right, hard-thrower, location guy, to me it doesn’t matter. I just like to watch good baseball.”
Samardzija has struck up a friendship with Cain, who lives near him, and is seeking to gain the familiarity with NL West hitters his teammates have.
“You can bounce ideas off each other, and for me it’s great because a lot of these guys have pitched against this division for years now,” Samardzija said.
The 2015 numbers might not look too impressive, but Samardzija pitched 214 innings last season. He had 163 strikeouts to 49 walks, and posted a 2.99 ERA with the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics in 2014. His career record is 47-61, including seven complete games.
“I don’t really dwell in the past, to tell the truth. But you understand that you can only control what you control, and sometimes in this game, the numbers are a little skewed and a little disproportionate to what you did out there,” Samardzija said. “So as long as you know when you put your head on that pillow that you worked your butt off and you did everything you could do preparation-wise to put yourself and your team in a situation to win a ballgame, you’re OK with the results.”
Samardzija has found the Bay Area to his liking. He first got a feel for it playing football for Notre Dame when the Fighting Irish would play Stanford every year, then pitched briefly for the A’s.
“There’s a lot of excitement and energy with everyone that lives in the Bay Area,” he said. “They’re very passionate people, which I kind of fall into that same category.”