You’d have to be intentionally obtuse not to know that, if it were the right trade, Jeff Samardzija was going to be happy to get out of Chicago.
No, I’m not saying he doesn’t love the Cubs or the city or the fans – I believe that he does. But I’ve always taken Samardzija at his word, and, earlier this year, when he hammered home the idea that he puts winning above all else, particularly at this stage in his career (age: 29), I knew he’d probably be happier on an immediate winner, rather than a rebuilding project.
And so it is with the Oakland A’s, who paid handsomely to get Samardzija this weekend. Samardzija, who will make his A’s debut later today, was introduced yesterday in Oakland.
“Oakland was a pleasant surprise,” Samardzija said, per MLB.com and CSN. “There had been so much talk about Toronto and a handful of other teams. Oakland kept it pretty close to the chest and then all of a sudden they strike. I got word, and I was ecstatic …. I’m right where I need to be, man. I’m excited. I’ve been begging for this for a while, not team-wise, I just mean situation-wise, of coming in every day to win games as opposed to worrying which guys are going to be here or not be here.”
If that could have been the situation in Chicago, I think Samardzija would have been just as happy. The timing there just didn’t line up, and now Samardzija will get a chance to head to the playoffs on a very good Oakland team. I hope they get there, and I hope he pitches well.
The parting visual, which does, indeed look weird:
— Jen Lada (@JenLada) July 6, 2014
Weird, mixed with sad, mixed with happy, mixed with quiet acceptance.
I’ll have more on the departure of Samardzija later. Needed a few days to get the thoughts just right.