Seven Free Agent Signings That Will Impact Playoff Races in 2016

 Source: Jon Durr/Getty Images North America

Source: Jon Durr/Getty Images North America

Number 6: Starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija

When people begin to evaluate the San Francisco Giants’ 2015-16 offseason and assign grades for the moves general manager Brian Sabean and his team made, everybody will start with Johnny Cueto.

I get it. The Giants needed to add more impact arms this winter to go behind ace Madison Bumgarner if they are going to make a run at another World Series title (after all it is an even year).

Cueto, who I will talk about more later, is without a doubt a great signing. He gives San Francisco two aces to go at the top of the rotation.

However, when I take a look at the whole body of work, the move that will stand out to me is the signing of another starter: right-hander Jeff Samardzija.

This is one of the most intriguing offseason signings.

Signing Cueto was great, but the Giants needed another impact arm to add to the staff to compete with what the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers did.

On the surface, the former Cub had a season to forget in 2015. Samardzija complied a 11-13 record in 32 starts with a 4.96 ERA and a 1.294 WHIP.

Stats can be very deceiving, especially the ones mentioned above, and in this case they are.

First, Samardzija was pitching in front of one of the worst defenses in baseball, and moves to AT&T Park and a team that tied for second in all of baseball with a .987 fielding percentage while committing just 78 errors.

Second, Samardzija pitched for his third team in his last four seasons, and the Giants believe they have found some mechanical issues that they can work out.

Finally, Samardzija is only one year removed from a season where he finished with a 2.83 ERA in 17 starts with the Cubs, and a 3.14 ERA in 16 starts with the A’s.

The 31-year-old is durable and dependable, and is primed for a bounce-back season in 2015. This signing more than Cueto will help the Giants get back to their consistent winning play.

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