MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Astros are doing preliminary background work on Giants’ right-hander Jeff Samardzija. Nothing has been substantiated by either team yet, but the veteran righty would be an interesting get for the Astros, whose pool of right-handed starters currently features Lance McCullers Jr., Charlie Morton, Mike Fiers, Brad Peacock, Francis Martes, Joe Musgrove and Collin McHugh (10-day DL, elbow impingement).
Samardzija hasn’t been hanging around the top of the leaderboard this year, at least not when it comes to run prevention, but his peripheral stats show that he’s putting together a more solid run than his 4-10 record and 4.58 ERA suggest. He’s maintained a 1.1 BB/9 and career-best 9.7 SO/9 through the first 118 innings of the season and has pitched into the sixth inning in all but three of his starts.
Consistency is at a premium these days, especially for a club that’s well-positioned to contend this fall, and that may be reason enough for the Astros to take a flyer on the 32-year-old. He’s no Jose Quintana, to be sure, but has tossed over 200 innings in each of his last four seasons and has stayed remarkably healthy over the entirety of his 10-year career. While Samardzija is set to remain under team control through the 2020 season, he’s still owed $60+ million on his five-year contract, which could be enough to put off any suitors looking for a bargain arm to stabilize their rotation.