Jeff Samardzija returns to Chicago, this time to the White Sox


The Chicago White Sox officially announced they acquired Jeff Samardzija from the Oakland A’s in a six-player deal on Tuesday afternoon. The Sox also receive Michael Ynoa, while the A’s will get pitcher Chris Bassitt, catcher Josh Phegley, first baseman Rangel Ravelo and IF Marcus Semien.

After his brief stint in Oakland, the A’s are essentially performing an off-season rebuild. Samardzija has made it known he would like to explore free agency after next season, but the White Sox hope to have an extension in place before the time comes. With the signing of David Robertson as well, the White Sox have looked to propel themselves into the conversation for the AL Central next year.

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Samardzija will join Chris Sale at the top of the rotation, providing and impressive 1-2 punch. Last season, between Chicago and Oakland, he posted a 2.99 ERA in 219 2/3 innings, with 202 strikeouts and a 1.065 WHIP. What the White Sox have done is bought the rights to Samardzija for 2015, and can exclusively negotiate an extension. If the season doesn’t go as planned, they can trade him mid-season, or make a qualifying offer at the end of the year and be assured a draft pick.

If the White Sox do look to trade him, it is possible the Cubs could have some interest, but that will all fall upon where they are in the standings. Talks of him returning to the North Side have floated about since he left, but the club didn’t want to overpay when they had control, and they especially won’t now.

Most knew Chicago would be a newsmaker in San Diego this week, but not many expected the White Sox to be the team that did. The Cubs still may factor heavily, especially with the Jon Lester situation still going. If the Cubs don’t land Lester, Samardzija could still fall into part of their plans, as Theo Epstein has said the plan is for the next 15 months. Joe Maddon‘s hire seemed to speed things up in the fan’s minds, but not in the Chicago front office.

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