[So many things to update from the overnight hours. Be patient. It’s all coming. I was up early, but the kiddos had a tricky morning. So I’m sprinting now to catch up.]
It was one of the early morning rumors yesterday, it carried throughout the day, and then it came to fruition: the White Sox have traded for Jeff Samardzija, who now returns to Chicago a year prior to free agency. Boy, it’s going to be weird watching him in that White Sox uniform, but it’ll make for some good storylines.
Jon Heyman first reported the deal was agreed to (technically not complete yet), and Susan Slusser says that the return will include at least infielder Marcus Semien and pitcher Chris Bassitt. There will likely be a third player, and, for Billy Beane’s sake, I hope it’s a very good one.
That’s not a strong return for the year of Samardzija’s under-market service, which probably doesn’t bode well for the many other teams hoping to trade a one-year pitcher (and could mean that an opportunity to make a good deal later in the offseason could pop up for the Cubs, even if getting a one-year guy may not have previously seemed like their preference).
The White Sox weren’t stopping there, though. According to multiple reports, they also agreed to sign closer David Robertson for four years and $46 million. The signing will cost the White Sox their second round pick, but that’s a far lesser concern in this context than committing more than $11 million per year for four years to a reliever. Robertson is very good, but there’s so much volatility. I would have been cool with the Cubs pouncing late in the offseason on a two-year deal if Robertson had to settle … but not this. Good on the White Sox for going big, but I just don’t love the deal for them.
In any case, that puts to bed those Robertson rumors from earlier in the offseason – maybe they had the wrong Chicago team? – and takes another pricey arm off of the market.
As for the White Sox, they’re having a solid offseason, in terms of returning to contention in 2015. Robertson and Zach Duke should help the pen, Samardzija is a great addition in the rotation, and Adam LaRoche should be a nice bat for them. I have no beef with the White Sox being good, and, in fact, think it’s a good thing for baseball in Chicago overall. The rising tide lifts all ships, and all that.