Shark turns down White Sox qualifying offer
CHICAGO -- Jeff Samardzija rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the White Sox on Friday, making the right-hander one of 16 from the 20 offered to decline. If Samardzija signs with another team, the White Sox will receive a compensatory pick in the 2016 MLB Draft between the first and second rounds.
Samardzija, who will turn 31 at the end of January, came to the White Sox from Oakland via a six-player deal on Dec. 9, 2014, in a move intended to provide 1-2 rotation punch for the South Siders with staff ace Chris Sale. But these perfect plans turned out far from ideal, as Samardzija finished with a 4.96 ERA over 32 starts, along with an 11-13 record and 163 strikeouts in 214 innings.
Samardzija's focus seems to remain on a multi-year deal, as he finished a disappointing '15 campaign on a strong note by allowing just two runs over 16 innings in his final two starts, including a one-hitter against the Tigers in Detroit. Samardzija talked about finding a mechanical flaw in his delivery where his hands were getting away from his body, making him get around the ball and miss left and right, as well as up in the zone. He implemented that change over those final starts.
There's also the fact that Samardzija is durable, having topped 213 innings in each of the last three seasons, and having been a full-time starter only since 2012. Numerous teams scouted Samardzija over those final two trips to the mound.
Adding Samardzija stood as a significant part of why general manager Rick Hahn and the White Sox were considered to have won the previous offseason, although Hahn joked at this week's General Managers Meetings that he's still waiting for his award for such an honor after the club went 76-86.
"I sure hope at the end of this offseason, people are objectively saying that we won the offseason again," Hahn told reporters in Boca Raton, Fla. "I do think winning the offseason, so to speak, is a function of starting with a club that has numerous needs. You don't traditionally, at least in the recent past, say the St. Louis Cardinals won the offseason. Because they've been so strong heading into the offseason, they don't have that many needs.
"We enter with the same desire to be as aggressive as we were, the same intention of addressing as many of our needs that we can. If that comes with praise at the end of the offseason, that's great. Hopefully, it leads to success in the season, which is far more important."
The White Sox are expected to pursue another starting pitcher of the No. 2 or No. 3 variety.