The San Francisco Giants have agreed to a five year deal with free agent starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija, per multiple reports on Twitter. Jon Heyman says the deal is for $90 million.
The Giants were reportedly in the mix for Zack Greinke, who signed with Arizona last night, and apparently decided they weren't going to wait for another one of their targets to disappear from the board.
Samardzija was one of the more intriguing members of this year's free agent class...was he is viewed as having top of the rotation stuff and potential, he has just one season with at least 2.0 bWAR -- 2014, when he put up a 3.7 bWAR while splitting the season between the Chicago Cubs and the Oakland A's. His career 4.09 ERA and 96 ERA+ are underwhelming for a guy who is getting $90 million guaranteed, especially given he's coming off a 4.96 ERA season where he led the majors in hits and earned runs, as well as the A.L. in home runs allowed.
On the other hand, $18 million per year isn't really top of the rotation starter money anymore -- its more like strong #3 starter money. And Samardzija doesn't have a lot of innings on his arm, so it may be that the Giants feel like he's someone who can grow and improve in his early-30s, or at least not have a serious age decline, while also being a safer bet, health-wise.
There was talk that Samardzija would get a nine figure contract, or else might sign a one year deal and then re-enter the free agent market next season, when the pickings will be slim. It appears, though, that Samardzija preferred the safe money now, even if it was a little less than some thought he might get, rather than wait longer into the offseason.