St. Louis Cardinals: What the Big FA Signings Mean

5 of 6

Jeff Samardzija to the San Francisco Giants

Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Un. Be. Lievable. No one benefited more from the panicky, sweaty aftermath of the Greinke signing than Jeff Samardzija. The Shark got five years for $90 million from the jittery San Francisco Giants, who figured they were neck-and-neck with the Dodgers for Greinke.

Maybe the Giants figured the last of the upper-tier free agent pitchers, Johnny Cueto, is bound to be signed by the Dodgers. Maybe the Giants didn’t want to go through all that angst again.

The bottom line is that it’s really hard to call Samardzija an upper-tier pitcher. He’s had one good season as a starter. One. Last year with the Chicago White Sox was an epic fail. He put up a 4.96 ERA in 214 innings on the South Side. After two straight seasons of 200+ strikeouts, he managed just 163 in 2015.

So the Giants are investing in his youth, right? Wrong. He’s 30. Remember the whole “star wide receiver at Notre Dame” thing? That stretched out his development in the minor leagues.

Then again, these are the San Francisco Giants we’re talking about. If they can turn Aubrey Huff into a World Series hero, they can certainly turn Samardzija back into his 2014 self. And if that happens, a one-two punch of Madison Bumgarner and Samardzija could be a problem for the St. Louis Cardinals in the playoffs.