Jeff Samardzija, Tyler Flowers reach terms with White Sox


The White Sox have managed to come to terms with their last two arbitration eligible players. Right-handed starter Jeff Samardzija and catcher Tyler Flowers reached deals with the Sox on Friday. Jon Heyman was first to report the news on Samardzija, who signed for $9.8M, and Scott Merkin of received news of Tyler’s $2.675M from an industry source.

Samardzija was an All-Star for the first time in his seven year career this past season. He split 2014 between the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics before acquired by the White Sox in December’s Winter Meetings along with pitching prospect Michael Ynoa. The trade sent catcher Josh Phegley, first baseman Rangel Ravelo, infielder Marcus Semien, and right-hander Chris Bassitt back to the Athletics.

Between Oakland and Chicago, Samardzija was 7-13 with a 2.99 ERA, 1.065 WHIP, and 202 strikeouts in 33 starts and 219.2 innings. His performance made him an ace-caliber pitcher for the first time. Jeff Samardzija finds his place in between Chris Sale and Jose Quintana as the number two man in one of baseball’s best rotations. The right-hander will enter free agency for the first time in his career at the end of the 2015 season.

More from Call to the Pen

Flowers, who turns 29 before the start of spring training, ranked 4th in the American League with 1,052 innings caught and 120 games started behind the plate in 2014. He also threw out 30% of attempted basestealers and was considered the 7th-best defensive catcher in the AL according to Defensive Runs Saved at +3.

The backstop also achieved positive results at the plate, posting a .241/.297/.396 line along with 15 homers and 50 RBIs through 442 plate appearances. He also made promising offensive improvements following the All-Star Break. After managing just a .218/.273/.304 line with 5 homers in 279 first-half PA’s, he upped his numbers to .280/.337/.553 line in his 163 trips to the plate in the second half.

Flowers has to prove that his strong second half wasn’t a fluke, but he delivered enough of a breakout to be the Sox’ number one catcher entering 2015. If he is going to stay there, he needs to continue to perform. The White Sox have made it a priority to add to their catching depth this offseason, adding Rob Brantly and George Kottaras to Flowers and Adrian Nieto.

In other Sox news: Chicago also avoided arbitration this week with starter Hector Noesi ($1.95M), relievers Javy Guerra ($937,500), Nate Jones ($660,000), and outfielder Dayan Viciedo ($4.4M). Jordan Danks, who was designated for assignment when the Sox signed free agent Emilio Bonifacio, was also claimed off wavers by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Next: Unanimous Hall of Fame Pick? Never