Samardzija appears to be staying put
BOSTON -- Shark Week is about to come to a close, and it has nothing to do with the Discovery Channel or any particular body of water.
The shark being referred to in this instance is the nickname for Jeff Samardzija, the right-hander who has been the subject of trade rumors over the past week, although nothing seemingly close to taking place. With Samardzija poised to become a free agent at the end of the season, the White Sox could move him before Friday's 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Trade Deadline while still making a play for him in the offseason.
But a funny thing happened on the way to Friday. The White Sox started hitting, they started catching the baseball and they started winning. Winning, as in six straight moving into Wednesday's contest at Fenway Park.
With the American League Wild Card picture jumbled by parity, the White Sox find themselves firmly in playoff contention as the 100-game mark approaches. Samardzija appears to be going nowhere, and general manager Rick Hahn actually could add to a group that has won 16 of its last 24 games.
Hahn might be looking to make a big splash before Friday, but he also has talked previously about not tearing down the work done to grow the team's base in the process. According to Samardzija and manager Robin Ventura, finding the right fit is the best way to help a possible contender at this time.
"You need to know your personality of the clubhouse and the guys you have in there and when you add the similar type personality guys, things usually work well," Samardzija said. "You've got to match up personalities and how does he fit into the team? What at-bats is he taking away? Who is he taking innings from, and things like that. But if you hit it right, it can be a huge addition to a team, especially if the guy is a big energy guy and loves to come to the field and work."
"Depending on who they bring in, it changes the dynamic," Ventura said. "It can change sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. So you're careful about introducing people, especially at times like this."
If Samardzija stays and the White Sox fall out of contention, the team still won't come away empty-handed even if he signs elsewhere. They can make Samardzija a qualifying offer and receive a sandwich pick at the end of the first round of the 2016 Draft if he turns down said offer and signs before the Draft.
These somewhat uncertain times have been handled perfectly by Samardzija, both on and off the field. He reiterated Wednesday an enjoyment for this team and how it plays the game.
"I always thought things that didn't go well were strictly performance based," Samardzija said. "It was on-field play and bounces here and there, and when that's the issue, it's a good problem.
"You know that you need to put a little harder work in, pay a little closer attention on the field and then things will turn around. If it's chemistry or other random things, that's tough to deal with. The problems we had were all fixable. The personality and everything in the clubhouse has been great."