Samardzija remains focused post-Deadline

Samardzija remains focused post-Deadline

CHICAGO -- Pitching stood as the sole focus for Jeff Samardzija before Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, even with the free-agent-to-be being mentioned in a number of rumors.

And with the Deadline passing without the White Sox making any moves and without Samardzija and his wife having to pack up and move for the third in a year, the focus won't change for the right-hander.

"That's what I said before," Samardzija said. "You go out and do your job every fifth day, and those things you can't control you don't worry about it. So nothing changes for me."

"I've gotten to know Jeff real well and he's a guy that's going to help us win, get to where we need to be, especially with the way he's throwing now," said White Sox pitcher John Danks, prior to his start against the Yankees on Saturday night. "I would have hated to see him go, but he didn't."

One school of thought was that the White Sox needed to keep Samardzija after the team's 7-1 road trip put them back into the American League Wild Card picture. Erik Johnson has been great for Triple-A Charlotte during a bounce-back season, but he's not Samardzija's caliber at this point.

On the flip side, with Samardzija approaching free agency, the push was to trade him now and get a good prospect haul before going back after him in the offseason. Samardzija was asked Saturday about the White Sox making him a multi-year offer in-season, and he pointed to that as a front-office call.

If they want him around, they'll come talk to him. Samardzija has been very consistent about working to earn free agency and the desire to test it, adding Saturday that there's no down time before the process begins for professional athletes.

"They say there's an offseason, but there's really not anymore. You gotta continue working out and staying on top of things," Samardzija said. "When the season's over you'll adjust those things.

"Right now, you don't want to take anything for granted. What we do is not guaranteed tomorrow so you need to come out and work on what you need to work on, control what you can control and then worry about next year next year."

Samardzija couldn't have been faulted for wanting to go to a clear-cut playoff team, showing his stuff in prime time in this important contract year. But he likes where he's playing on the South Side and believes the White Sox have the ability to become that team.

"We need to keep playing the way we've been playing. Keep pitching the ball well and keep hitting," Samardzija said. "Obviously those early runs are great and gets the pitchers calmed down and really get into a groove.

"We've been playing great baseball, we've been playing great defense too which is I don't think is getting talked about. We're catching everything. We're throwing everything, which makes the game go a lot easier. We need to keep it up, and there's still places we could improve and we have two months to do it."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.