Samardzjia Added, Former Knights Going to A’s…
Jeff Samardzjia is going back to Chicago. This time, however, he’s going to the South Side.
On December 9, 2014, the Chicago White Sox made a big splash at Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings by dealing for one of the game’s top pitchers — Jeff Samardzjia. The deal, which was announced by the White Sox at 12:30 PM EST, also featured the addition of right-handed pitcher Michael Ynoa.
From the official White Sox press release:
“Jeff is one of the elite right-handed starting pitchers in baseball, and we believe his addition to our roster gives us the potential for a formidable starting rotation,” said Rick Hahn, White Sox senior vice president/general manager. “His competitiveness fits well in our clubhouse, on the mound and in our city.”
Samardzija, 29, was 7-13 with a 2.99 ERA (73 ER/219.2 IP), two complete games, 202 strikeouts and a .234 opponents average (191-815) over 33 starts between the Chicago Cubs and Oakland last season. He was traded from the Cubs to the Athletics on July 5. Samardzija made 23 quality starts, worked at least 7.0 IP 21 times, allowed two earned runs or less in 21 outings and one earned run or less 14 times.
Samardzija is one of just five pitchers to record 200 or more strikeouts in each of the last two seasons. The list includes the White Sox Chris Sale, Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and Detroit’s Max Scherzer. He is 36-48 with a 3.85 ERA (333 ER/777.2 IP), five complete games, one shutout and 738 strikeouts in 222 career games (99 starts) in seven seasons with the Cubs (2008-14) and Athletics (2014). Samardzija has allowed just 81 homers and 277 walks lifetime.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Samardzija is a native of Merrillville, Ind. and was an All-Big East pitcher and All-American wide receiver at Notre Dame (2003-06). Samardzija originally was drafted by the Cubs in the fifth round of the 2006 draft.
Ynoa, 23, spent the entire 2014 season with Class A Stockton, going 4-2 with a 5.52 ERA (28 ER/45.2 IP) and 64 strikeouts over 31 relief appearances. He limited left-handers to a .191 average (13-68) with 36 strikeouts and posted a 12.61 strikeout per 9.0 IP mark overall. He entered 2014 ranked by Baseball America as the No. 4 Prospect in the Oakland system.
The White Sox sent four players to the A’s in exchange for Samardzjia and Ynoa. Long-time Charlotte Knights standout Josh Phegley, who spent parts of the past four seasons with the franchise, was dealt in the deal. I’ll have more on Phegley in another Knight Fever blog entry. Stay tuned!
Joining Phegley in the deal were infielder Marcus Semien, first baseman Rangel Ravelo, and right-handed pitcher Chris Bassitt. Semien spent parts of the past two seasons with the Knights (2013-’14) and hit .266 with 31 doubles,19 HRs and 69 RBIs in 115 games. Semien, a California native, compiled a .267 batting average with 15 home runs and 52 RBIs for the Knights in 2014. Semien played 2B, 3B, SS, LF, and DH last year for the Knights.
Ravelo was drafted by the White Sox in the sixth round of the 2010 draft and has compiled a .301 career batting average over five Minor League seasons in Chicago’s system. The Florida native spent the entire 2014 campaign with Double-A Birmingham and hit .309 (147-for-476) with 37 doubles, 11 home runs, 66 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases.
Bassitt made his way through Chicago’s system over the past four seasons — especially in 2014 when he made it all the way to the majors. Bassitt, who was drafted by the White Sox in the 16th round of the 2011 draft, made his Major League debut on August 30 with Chicago. In six games with the White Sox, the Ohio native posted a 1-1 record with a 3.94 ERA (29.2 IP). Although he never played for the Knights, he was optioned to the team on August 31. He was later recalled when rosters expanded in September.