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Levine: Jeff Samardzija Gets Win In Perhaps His Final White Sox Start

By Bruce Levine--

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The one-year run for Jeff Samardzija as a Chicago White Sox pitcher likely came to an end Tuesday evening, which concluded a season to forget for him. While Samardzija finished the season with consecutive wins and only three runs allowed in his final two outings, it wasn't good enough to distract from an 11-13 season with a 4.96 ERA and 1.29 WHIP.

"Unsatisfied" was the term Samardzija used to describe the season after a 4-2 win against the Royals in which he went seven innings and allowed two runs.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura was close to certain that Samardzija is now done pitching for the remainder of this season.

"For me personally, I had a big role in what happened this year (the team's failure)," he said. "You realize that if you would have thrown a couple of better ones, instead of clunkers like I did, we might be telling a little bit different story right now. You let it all hang out. Despite that, it did not go my way as many times as I wanted it to."

The final numbers tell you most of what went wrong. Over the last two starts of the season, Samardzija made some adjustments in his balance points that greatly impacted the results. Before the win against Kansas City, he tossed a one-hit shutout at Detroit.

"It was just a simple fix with my hands," he said. "The fix was the mechanics where my hands were. They had been getting away from my body, which made my delivery get around the ball. That made me miss left and right and up in the zone mostly."

Samardzija is set to become a free agent in November. Once considered a $100-million pitcher, he will have to take a shorter-term deal that would likely be loaded with incentives moving forward.

Money has never been a driving force for Samardzija.

"I could care less," Samardzija said of costing himself money with this poor 2015 season. "I had enough money when I signed with the Cubs ($10.6 million when he was drafted in 2006). Like I have said before, for me it's more about a professional thing. It's about respecting things and people that have come before me that have put us in this position to make the money we make and have the fun we have and travel the way we do. All of that needs to continued by players coming behind me and current players."

What drives Samardzija and will likely determine were he next chooses to play is getting a ring and playing for a winner.

"Ultimately, I want to be in a winning situation," he said. "I want to be pitching every year in October."

Samardzija's hired a new agency to represent him in this free agency period. Samardzija's brother will now work with Adam Katz of Wasserman Media Group to help coordinate his offseason contract pursuit. Katz and that agency have always had a good relationship with White Sox officials.

Despite that, a return to the White Sox seems like a long shot. The team must give a qualifying offer of around $16 million within five days of the World series ending, in order to get a compensatory draft pick as compensation. Samardzija would have one week to accept or decline the offer. If he accepted, that secures a one-year deal, binding the player and the team in a contract, but he'll likely decline it and seek a bigger payday on the open market.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.


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