New York Yankees’ starting pitcher Luis Severino’s injury has left an opening in the starting rotation. One name that has frequently popped up is San Francisco Giants’ Jeff Samardzija.
Severino will miss the entire 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. With James Paxton also out for the first few months and Domingo German on the restricted list, the Yankees will be scrambling to fill two starting pitcher spots to start the season.
Samardzija could slide into the bottom of the rotation with relatively low expectations. Gerritt Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, and J.A. Happ are already tasked to carry the load for the short staff.
Samardzija is coming off a resurgent year
Samardzija has been in the league for 12 years, but last season was one the finest of his career.
At 34 years old, Samardzija started 32 games for the Giants and recorded a 3.52 ERA. He also won 11 games, which is the second-highest mark of his career. That number would only spike in 2020 with one of the game’s elite offenses behind him in New York.
Samardzija led the entire Giants roster in WAR in 2019. He also led the starting pitching staff in ERA, wins, and WHIP even though he was the oldest of the group.
At 35, Samardzija is as effective as ever, and he undoubtedly has plenty left in the tank.
The Yankees are one veteran starter away from having an elite team
The Yankees already have one of the most prolific offenses in the majors, and adding Gerritt Cole during the offseason gave them the ace they desperately needed. New York also has one of the best bullpens in the MLB, so the only hole in the roster is at the bottom of the starting rotation.
As of today, the fourth and fifth starters would be Jordan Montgomery and Jonathan Loaisiga. The pair started just five games combined in 2019.
Samardzija, on the other hand, has over 200 starts in his career and made 32 last season.
Adding Samardzija to the rotation would give the Yankees a much-needed veteran arm to hold the team over until Paxton returns from injury. Once he does, Samardzija would become one of the best fourth or fifth starts in the entire league.
Does a trade make sense for both the Yankees and Giants?
It’s clear the Yankees would be better off with Samardzija in the rotation in front of an inexperienced starter, but it would also be beneficial to the Giants to turn Samardzija into a few promising prospects.
The Giants went 77-85 last season and missed the playoffs. They’re projected to be even worse this season. DraftKings Sportsbook has the team’s projected win total at 69.5 for the upcoming season.
Samardzija is entering the final year of his contract, so flipping him for prospects now would be far superior to losing him to free agency in 2021.
Both teams are heading in opposite directions in 2020. The Yankees are one of the favorites to win the World Series, while the Giants will be looking to build a young roster for the future.
The Yankees are a much better fit for a veteran pitcher like Samardzija, and a trade would benefit both sides greatly.