The window for the Kansas City Royals to possibly bring back Ervin Santana continues to close. According to Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com Baseball Insider, Santana has been in touch with the Baltimore Orioles.
Evidently, Baltimore’s signing of Ubaldo Jimenez isn’t taking the Orioles out of the picture for adding Santana. If they sign him anywhere close to what they signed Jimenez ($50 million over 4 years), then the Royals didn’t have a shot anyway.
Bernie Pleskoff of MLBPipeline.com, also mentions Baltimore’s interest in Santana, via twitter.
— Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff) February 21, 2014
Many Kansas City fans still hold out hope that the Royals can somehow sign Santana. Since the Bruce Chen signing, it has probably been wishful thinking on the part of the fans.
It is doubtful the Royals sign Chen when they did if they thought they had a snowball’s chance of bringing Ervin Santana back on a one- or two-year deal, probably the most Kansas City could have offered him.
The fact that the Orioles think they can add both Jimenez and Santana is interesting. They also acquired Bud Norris and Suk-min Yoon. While there is a possibility that Norris is moved to closer (according to Heyman), the Orioles are obviously prepared to strengthen their rotation by at least considering Santana.
All the Royals seem prepared to do is consider. They seem content to go into the season with the pitching staff already assembled. That rotation now includes James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Vargas, and Bruce Chen, with Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura set to battle it out for the final spot.
There are no guarantees that Santana will reproduce some of the best numbers of his career from last year, but he did everything the Royals needed him to do, and his numbers will not be easy to duplicate, no matter who is taking his place. The rotation will have some natural regression without Santana’s steadfast numbers behind Shields.
This news just dims the hopes of Royals fans a bit more that Kansas City had a chance to resign him anyway. It was pretty much a pipe dream to begin with.