Jon Lester’s year-to-year consistency is something at which we should all marvel. The veteran lefty has never pitched fewer than 180 innings or made fewer than 31 starts — he’s made 33 starts three times and 32 starts six times — in any season since 2007. And prior to last year’s arm fatigue, Lester had never pitched fewer than 190 innings in nine full seasons.
Although less successful than the modern-day Cubs legend at preventing runs, Jeff Samardzija has mimicked Lester’s insane durability. Only Max Scherzer has pitched more innings than Shark (1092.1 vs. 1058.1) since 2013, and Samardzija’s aggregate FIP during that five-year period is a respectable 3.73.
According to Steamer, one of the more reliable projection models, Lester and Samardzija are expected to be mirror images of one another next season. The former is projected to fall slightly below the 200-inning mark and produce 3.4 fWAR, while the latter is pegged at 202 innings and 3.5 fWAR.
The Giants might not trade Samardzija if they want to compete. If he’s made available, though, the former Cub seems like a safe bet to lock in valuable innings at a cost-effective $18 million price tag. Granted, Shark’s departure ruffled a few feathers. But time heals what heels wound, right?