Boston Red Sox: Five Free Agents to Target this Off Season

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Aug 19, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Samardzija is one of the most interesting players in this upcoming free agency class. He has been awful for the Chicago White Sox this season, currently sitting with a disastrous 4.96 ERA. Samardzija’s 4.23 FIP this season suggests that there has been a little bit of bad luck involved, but he is undoubtedly getting hit harder now, than ever before.

Samardzija has allowed an MLB leading 228 hits on the season. The longball has killed him as well, as he has allowing an American League leading 29 homeruns. His 118 earned runs on the season are also the most in all of baseball. Simply put, Samardzija has been bad, even among the worst starting pitchers in all of baseball.

His disastrous 2015 season is baffling, as Samardzija had always had success as a starting pitcher in the past. In fact, when Oakland traded for him before the 2014 MLB trade deadline, Samardzija was considered to be one of the best young arms in all of baseball. The Athletics traded a large haul for Samardzija because they thought he would lead them to a long postseason run.

Samardzija continued to be good for the A’s last year, ending his 2014 season with an impressive 2.99 ERA and 202 strikeouts in 219.2 innings pitched. The talent is there for Samardzija to succeed, but for whatever reason he struggled with the White Sox.

Signing Samardzija would clearly be a risky move. It is possible that he was exposed this season, and it was just the beginning of a downward spiral. However, I am not seeing anything that really suggests that. He is good, his stuff is for real and I think the Red Sox should target him as a free agent.

Samardzija’s value on the open market has obviously changed after his performance this season, but I see an opportunity to strike potential gold. He would join the Red Sox starting rotation that is filled with mid-tier options, and he would immediately have the most upside.

As we have seen, the downside is also real, but if Samardzija can get back to anything close to his 2014 season, the Red Sox may find their ace for a relatively cheap price.

Next: Xander Bogaerts: Boston Red Sox's Star in Making

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