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MLB trade rumors: Giants' Jeff Samardzija unlikely to waive no-trade clause

While Jeff Samardzija’s salary already made him an unlikely trade candidate, his no-trade clause makes the chances of a move even slimmer.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants Photo by Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

As Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News reports, Giants starter Jeff Samardzija is not planning to waive his limited no-trade clause. Samardzija’s deal prevents him from being dealt to 21 teams, with the Red Sox, Cubs, Mets, Yankees, Angels, Dodgers, Athletics, and Nationals being the only clubus the Giants can trade him to without his permission.

This news seemingly takes the Astros, the team that had been rumored to have interest in acquiring Samardzija, out of the running for the 32-year-old right-hander’s services.

Samardzija has dealt with some tough luck this season, posting a 4.85 ERA in 135.1 innings despite recording 146 strikeouts and just 17 walks. While he has a career-best strikeout rate this year, the rest of his numbers are about in line with what he’s done for most of his big-league career, as he’s got a 4.13 ERA and 1.26 WHIP over 10 seasons. Over that 10-year span, he’s allowed roughly one home run per nine innings, and he’s actually exceeded that average this season, giving up 1.4 homers per nine. He’s owed $19.8 million over each of the next three seasons, so he’d be a costly investment for any team that would have interest in acquiring him.

On the bright side, though, he had one of his best starts of the season on Wednesday, holding the Pirates to one run on four hits and two walks over seven innings. He’s now gone six innings or more in 17 of his 21 starts this season, which would have made him a solid innings-eater for a contender that needed rotation reinforcements at the deadline this year.

But that same quality could provide a boost to the Giants in 2018, just as it did when they earned a playoff spot last season. And if the Giants can get a full season out of Madison Bumgarner and a bounce-back campaign from Johnny Cueto—which is a big if, considering he can opt out of his contract after this season—then Samardzija can slide back into a mid-rotation role, which suit him much better than the de facto ace role he’s been thrust into for most of 2017.