The San Francisco Giants had won three World Series championships in six years when they signed Jeff Samardzija before the 2016 season, in their effort to stock up on starting pitching that winter. Instead, they’ve been engulfed in The Curse of the Shark.
I doubt that I’m the first person to notice, but am probably the only on to care enough to write a post about it, but Jeff Samardzija is c-u-r-s-e-d. Cursed.
By all accounts, the San Francisco Giants righty is having a decent season by the Bay. Well, his record stinks, currently at 2-9, and his ERA is just below five, but his FIP (3.49) is right up there with the best season of his career: The year that the idea of a curse took place, though we should have noticed immediately upon his arrival in the big leagues.
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Samardzija, or “Shark” for those that don’t care to learn how to spell his name, debuted with the Cubs in 2008 but didn’t transition into being a starting pitcher at the big league level until 2012. It may be hard to recall a time when the Chicago Cubs weren’t good after the runs they’ve been on the past couple of years, but back in 2008, well they were also good, finishing first in the NL Central with 97 wins.
From there they went into “rebuild mode” or “holy crap we’re so cursed by this guy–oh hey look we can draft good players and start to rebuild this team through the farm system” mode. The Cubs win totals from 2009 to 2013 (keep in mind they were coming off a 97 win campaign): 83, 75, 71, 61, 66. In 2014 Samardzija was having a breakout season, which bought him a ticket to Oakland at the beginning of July.
The A’s had the best record in baseball at the time of his arrival. By the time the trade became official on July 5, Oakland was already 21 games above .500 and looking to add some pitching depth with Samardzija. They went 34-41 from that point on and barely squeaked into a wild card spot where they got to have an exciting back-and-forth game with the Royals. Jon Lester, also acquired by the A’s for just such an occasion, had literally the only bad playoff performance of his career. Cursed.
The A’s traded Samardzija to the White Sox the following offseason and I’ll give you one guess how that turned out.
Even coming off of a terrible season on the South Side of Chicago, Samardzija got paid by the Giants at five years and $90 million. Last year, his first with the orange and black, was almost a mirror image of the A’s 2014 season. They were the best team in baseball at the break, and just utterly fell apart in the second half, clinching a wild card spot on the season’s final day. The biggest difference: The Giants made it to the NLDS where the Cubs vanquished the cursed one. The baseball gods even made it rain in Game 7, which ultimately led them to World Series glory.
This season the Giants were expected to contend in a weak National League but instead are 27-49, getting clowned by the Mets of all teams, and have more wins than only the rebuilding Phillies. That’s right, even the Padres, who started the season with three Rule 5 picks on their 25-man roster, have more wins than the lowly Giants. And it’s not going to get better for them either. They don’t have a farm system, they’re pressed against the luxury tax, teams around them won’t be rebuilding forever and they have a cursed Jeff Samardzija.