According to Heyman, the Royals are one of several teams, including the Blue Jays, Orioles, Mariners, Rockies, and Indians still with strong interest in Santana, plus a number of unnamed teams.
Since the signing of Bruce Chen, it hasn’t appeared as if the Royals were looking at Santana for anymore other than a way to acquire a draft pick from the team that signs him. The Royals rotation and bullpen are already extremely crowded with expensive options, and while it is obvious Santana would be better than most of the pitchers slated to start, it is hard to imagine Kansas City shelling out any kind of multiple year deal for him now.
Santana had a career year for the Royals in 2013, producing a 3.24 ERA, which was helped along by a top notch defense, still relatively intact, and a big ball park, which helped his tendency to give up the long balls.
Still, it is doubtful he could match those numbers in 2014, for the Royals or any other team. No teams have been very aggressive in pursuing his services at the price it is thought he wanted early on, around $100 million for 6 or 7 years.
Now Santana is probably hoping to get what Matt Garza got from the Brewers – 4 years, $50 million. If that’s the deal he ends up with, it won’t be with the Royals. It would be surprising if the Royals signed him for more than 2 years, say $30 million, and even then, that is a stretch for a Royals team thought to be maxed out on payroll.
Santana is one of two pitchers that still could help ball clubs. Ubaldo Jimenez is still looking for work, and he is a riskier option than Santana. Both will find work eventually, but the where is still very much uncertain.
If Santana signs elsewhere, the Royals still receive a compensatory draft pick, but that won’t help them win in 2014. The Royals should still pursue Santana, and see if they can get lucky. If they could sign him, they would almost have to trade Luke Hochevar ($5.21 million) or Wade Davis ($4.8) to fray some of the costs, but it will be difficult to find takers for those pitchers at those prices.
It is good to hear the Royals are still active, even if it is in a small way. Don’t hold you breath, Royals fans. It will take plenty of cash, and the Royals apparently are out of that right now. We shall see if they truly think they can win this season. If they somehow sign Santana, the answer will be yes.