Showing posts with label Jeff Samardjiza. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jeff Samardjiza. Show all posts

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A reason not to fret about Chris Sale's injury: The early-season schedule

It was not good news earlier this week when the White Sox announced that ace left-hander Chris Sale would miss three weeks with an avulsion fracture in his right foot. The injury reportedly occurred at home when Sale was unloading his pickup truck, and it seems unlikely he'll be ready to start Opening Day when the Sox open the season at Kansas City.

Obviously, the Sox would like Sale to make 34 starts this season, but realistically, the team has to assume he'll miss his first two or three starts of the year as a result of this mishap.

But here's the good news: The schedule is set up as such that the Sox can get by with just four starting pitchers until April 21. There are three off-days the first 10 days of the season. Assuming Jeff Samardzija, Jose Quintana, John Danks and Hector Noesi all remain healthy and are ready to go when the bell rings in April, here's how the pitching rotation may work for the first two weeks of the season:

April 6 at Kansas City: Samardzija
April 7: Off-day
April 8 at Kansas City: Quintana
April 9 at Kansas City: Danks
April 10 vs. Minnesota: Noesi
April 11 vs. Minnesota: Samardjiza
April 12 vs. Minnesota: Quintana
April 13: Off-day
April 14 at Cleveland: Danks
April 15 at Cleveland: Noesi
April 16: Off-day
April 17 at Detroit: Samardzija
April 18 at Detroit: Quintana
April 19 at Detroit: Danks
April 20 vs. Cleveland: Noesi
April 21: vs. Cleveland: ?????

As you can see, the early-season off-days would allow the Sox to use their other four guys on regular rest during this stretch. Naturally, if Sale is ready before April 21, he's going to pitch. But it's at least somewhat comforting that the Sox aren't going to have to rush Carlos Rodon into the rotation, or force someone else who doesn't belong to start a couple games, if Sale's injury happens to linger until mid- to late April.

Friday, January 16, 2015

White Sox avoid arbitration with Javy Guerra, Hector Noesi, Nate Jones

The White Sox avoided arbitration with three right-handed pitchers, agreeing on one-year contracts with Javy Guerra, Hector Noesi and Nate Jones.

Guerra, 29, will make $937,500. He went 2-4 with a 2.91 ERA in 42 relief appearances last season. He figures to work in middle relief again this year.

Noesi, 27, joined the Sox as a waiver claim last May and made 27 starts, going 8-12 with a 4.75 ERA. He agreed on a $1.95 million contract and will enter spring training as the odds-on favorite to claim the fifth starting spot in South Siders' rotation.

Jones, 28, appeared in only two games last season and is coming off back and Tommy John surgery. He will make $660,000 in 2015. The best-case scenario for Jones will be a midseason return.

The White Sox have two remaining arbitration-eligible players, pitcher Jeff Samardzija and catcher Tyler Flowers.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Wins coming easy for Daniel Webb, not so much for Jeff Samardzija

Quick, name the pitcher who leads the White Sox staff in wins ...

It's a tie between relief pitcher Daniel Webb and disabled ace Chris Sale, who hasn't pitched since April 17. Both pitchers are 3-0.

Webb picked up his third win of the season Monday in the Sox's 3-1 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. I make note of this only because I've rarely seen a pitcher do so little work in earning three wins. Webb has recorded a combined total of five outs in those three games. On two occasions, he's picked up a victory after pitching to and retiring just one hitter.

A summary of Webb's three wins:

April 15 vs. Boston -- Webb enters in the top of the ninth inning with the score tied, 1-1, runners on first and second and two outs. He throws one pitch and retires Boston's Mike Carp on a tapper back to the mound. The Sox score an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth and prevail, 2-1. For Webb, one pitch, one win.

May 4 at Cleveland -- Webb comes on with the Sox trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the eighth. He gets two outs quickly, then walks a guy and gives up a single before getting out of the inning with no runs allowed. The Sox score three in the ninth on a home run by Dayan Viciedo. The Sox win, 4-3, and Webb is 2-0.

May 5 at Cubs -- Webb enters in the bottom of the 11th inning with the score tied, 1-1. There are runners on first and second with two outs. He falls behind in the count, 3-0, to Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro before rallying to strike out the free swinging Castro on a high-and-tight fastball. The Sox score two in the 12th, and Webb is rewarded with yet another win for recording a grand total of one out.

Contrast this with Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija, who started Monday's game and went nine innings while allowing just an unearned run in the first inning. Samardzija has been one of the best pitchers in the National League through the first month of the season, and he was masterful against the Sox.

What does he have to show for it? An 0-3 record, despite a 1.62 ERA and despite giving up three runs or less in each of his first seven starts.

Quite a few members of the Chicago media are wondering when poor Samardzija is finally going to be rewarded with a few wins for his fine pitching. My guess is Samardzija will start winning once the Cubs trade him to a contender this July.

If you're Samardzija, there isn't much you can do when you've got a struggling team behind you, other than just keep pitching and hope for a change in luck. It's just humorous that a guy like Webb can have three wins for doing so little, while Samardzija can't catch a break despite being far and away the Cubs' best player to this point in the season.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Scott Boras recently criticized the Cubs ... were his comments fair?

We can all agree the Cubs stink at the major league level right now. They've lost 91 games or more in each of the last three seasons.

Given the circumstances, you would think the Cubs would be at least somewhat active this offseason --especially since we're talking about a big-market team that presumably has money to spend.

But, the Cubs have been fairly quiet so far. Their only free-agent acquisitions have been backup catcher George Kottaras and situational left-hander Wesley Wright. On Thursday, the Cubs traded outfielder Brian Bogusevic to the Miami Marlins for outfielder Justin Ruggiano. Bogusevic was one of three left-handed hitting outfielders on the roster (Ryan Sweeney and Nate Schierholtz are the others). The Cubs made the swap for purposes of balancing things out with the right-handed hitting Ruggiano. A sensible move, but hardly one that figures to make a major impact on the Cubs' 2014 fortunes.

The rebuilding process on the North Side is dragging on at a glacial pace. Barring some unforeseen moves in the coming months, the Cubs seem to be tracking toward another 90- to 95-loss campaign next summer.

High-profile agent Scott Boras (pictured), for one, has had enough of the Cubs' methodical ways. Boras criticized the organization at the winter meetings this week, calling the North Side rebuilding plan an "all-day sucker."

“It (a lollipop) takes a long time to dissolve,” Boras said. “The idea is it's going to take some time for them to reach the resolve to say they are going to compete on all fronts.”

Boras went on to say the Cubs are acting like a small-market team.

“It’s just with major-market teams you see a little bit different approach,” he said. “This is more of a customary small-market approach, if you will. … The Cubs have the capacity to sign any player they want at any time. The question is whether it fits their plan and it's good business.”

Obviously, the Cubs don't feel that big spending this year fits their plan. Here are the questions I would pose: Are Boras' comments fair? Has this Cubs rebuilding plan dragged on for long enough? Isn't it time for this regime to start producing at least marginally better results at the major league level?

I agree with Boras, in part, and disagree with him, in part.

I think this year's free-agent crop is weak. I don't blame the Cubs for taking a pass on giving seven years and $150 million to Jacoby Ellsbury, and if I were them, I wouldn't give untold millions to Boras client Shin-Soo Choo either. The Cubs' choice to not spend big bucks in free agency this year is smart and prudent in my book.

What I don't understand is why the Cubs haven't been more active in the trade market. They have prospects to deal, and there's a front-end starter in his prime (David Price) actively being shopped. But I've heard and read little about the Cubs being involved in those discussions. Why not? The Cubs have the dollars to sign a guy like Price to a long-term deal if they acquired him. They seem lukewarm to the idea, for whatever reason.

It's also a little strange that Jeff Samardzija is still on the team, but hasn't signed a contract extension. I think the Cubs should either sign him or deal him this offseason. I'd trade him. The Cubs could fill two or three holes by unloading Samardzija. They might even be able to get a major league ready prospect in the deal, as opposed to the Class A types and reclamation projects they've acquired in some of the other trades they've made involving pitchers.

Boras, of course, wants the Cubs to spend big in free agency. They won't, and nor should they. In that respect, I disagree with Boras. But I do agree with his point that it's kinda silly for the Cubs to just sit on the lousy roster they have now and resign themselves to another season of misery. With the talent they've accumulated in their minor leagues, plus having a movable asset in Samardzija, I think there are some possibilities for them in the trade market that would allow them to improve their team both now and for the long haul.

Why should the Cubs intentionally field another 95-loss roster in 2014? Enough is enough. It's time to at least show some incremental progress. How many more times do fans have to hear about how good Jorge Soler is supposedly going to be in five years?

I've always said, if a GM is waiting for prospects, he's waiting to get himself fired. It's time for the Cubs to add some legitimate major league talent to their roster. On that point, Boras is correct.