Despite starter Jeff Samardzija‘s immense struggles with the White Sox this past season, the Giants still elected to sign the right-hander to a five-year, $90 million contract earlier this week. They’re betting on the veteran hurler benefiting from a change in parks and defenses, but they’re also hoping Samardzija can figure out what went wrong and make adjustments.
It sounds like Samardzija has a diagnosis: tipped pitches, according to CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic.
“When you’re tipping your pitches it’s hard to have a ton of success out there,” Samardzija said in an introductory press conference at AT&T Park. “Everyone has got a ton of film on you. Hours and hours and years and years, and you need to stay ahead of that. If anything it just made me realize that you do always have to stay on top of little things like that, how long you’re holding the ball when you’re set, how long you’re holding it when you’re throwing a slider, when you’re throwing a splitter.
“Where are you looking when there’s a runner on first? Are you checking on him or going home? That’s the aspect of this game that’s so great, is you can always get better. What’s pushing you is the competition, and there’s always someone watching you to try and find that hole that you have.”
Samardzija, who turns 31 years old in January, finished this past season with a 4.96 ERA and a 163/49 K/BB ratio in 214 innings. He led baseball in hits allowed (228) and earned runs (118) while leading the American League in home runs allowed (29). His strikeout rate, 17.9 percent, was his lowest since becoming a starter in 2012.