A trade could happen at any time and Jeff Samardzija knows it after last season.
The disappointing White Sox are still on hold as to whether or not they’ll become sellers and the pitcher appears headed for free agency this offseason.
Without question, Samardzija would be one of the prized pitchers available as few teams are expected to become full-fledged sellers. But whereas Samardzija was always of the belief he’d be traded in 2014, he said he has been oblivious to the chatter this time around.
Samardzija, who was traded by the Cubs to Oakland last July 4, said he’s focused entirely on Thursday’s start against the Toronto Blue Jays, who are believed to be one of many potential suitors for his services.
“This time last year I was on the phone, listening to people and trying to get a bead on where I was going and what was happening,” Samardzija said. “And really this year I’ve been pretty relaxed about it, going about my business and July kind of has snuck up on me.”
Part of Samardzija’s nonchalance toward trade chatter comes from last year’s experience when he got too wrapped up in the process. Part of it could also be the signals he’s receiving from the White Sox, who have expressed interest in keeping him around long term since they acquired him from the A’s in December. Part of it could also be a team unwilling to give up on this season as they began Monday only 5 1/ 2 games out of a wild-card spot.
“We just have to get some sort of indication it's possible or not to sign him,” executive vice president Kenny Williams told USA Today. “We have to also see if it's realistic given our resources and the other obligations we have.”
Samardzija told USA Today a trade wouldn’t hurt the chances of him resigning with the White Sox were one to happen. He understands how a deal could help the team’s chances in the long run. But he also intends to keep his mind on the field instead of worrying about where he might land.
[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans]
“Being traded is no fun,” Samardzija said. “You have to start from ground zero. Being here at home has been a great experience and an unexpected one with where I was last winter. Obviously I love it. Like I said we’re going to keep fighting and keep winning.
“You prepare for (Toronto) and all the rumors are exactly that, they’re rumors. As long as you didn’t start them yourself, they shouldn’t matter too much. We’re going to keep pitching and whatever happens, happens.”
“Honestly I’ve been going about a five-day routine and you know you’re in a good place as a baseball player when you don’t know what day of the week it is or what month and it’s just another day.”