2.) Jeff Samardzija, RHP
2016 Projected Stats: 12-11, 200.0 IP, 3.85 ERA, 7.39 K/9
Samardzija bet on himself before the 2015 season and did not sign a long-term deal. Perhaps not the best move for the 30-year-old. Samardzija lost 13 games and his ERA rose from 2.99 in 2014 to 4.96 in 2015. He gave up 29 homers in 32 starts and struck out only 6.86 per nine after striking out 8.28 per nine in 2015. There were glimmers of hope, however. Samardzija twirled a one-hit shutout against the A’s in September, but those flashes of dominance were few and far between.
As with Upton and Heyward, there is an incredible amount of hope pinned on Samardzija. He has shown All-Star potential at times, and has reduced wear and tear on his arm compared to many other pitchers his age thanks to a college football career. Someone will give Samardzija a four- or five-year deal, and hope for the best. I wish them all the luck in the world.