Ervin Santana Ervin Santana

MLB Trade Rumors: Ervin Santana Receiving Interest From Eight Teams


Aug 30, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Ervin Santana (54) delivers a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays beat the Royals 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

MLB reporter phenom Chris Cotillo has the latest on the Ervin Santana rumor market, which is starting to heat up after the Masahiro Tanaka and (apparent) Matt Garza signings. Here’s the brief gist of what Cotillo has learned in tweet form.

You can find a few more thoughts on Santana from Cotillo at MLB Daily Dish but the message is the same.

We already knew there was interest from the Yankees, Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays and Cubs, but for the most part that was considered to be “due diligence.” However,  a lot has changed since the time those reports came out. For one, Tanaka and Garza are off the market, which is a significant development. And two, we know Santana’s asking price has come down considerably and will probably have to come down even more if the figures for Garza’s contract are correct.

Those two things mean teams we once thought may be out on Santana – Yankees, Orioles, and Cubs, specifically – may be back in. Don’t forget that the Diamondbacks and Tigers have also been connected to Santana, so the market may be growing for Santana more than shrinking.

The three teams to really watch out for are the Dodgers, Yankees, and Blue Jays. All have the money to push Santana’s bidding way out from where the Royals are willing to go, and all have shown interest in adding another starting pitcher in one way or another.

As we talked about last week, Toronto is looking to add two starting pitchers this offseason with at least one of those coming via free agency. Their need for starting pitching and the fact their first round picks are protected may aid them in signing Santana for more money than what other teams are willing to spend. It should also be noted Toronto has been linked to Ubaldo Jimenez, too.

New York and Los Angeles are the other two huge obstacles for the Royals. Both have a desire to add another starting pitcher, with the Yankees situation being more of a need than want. Both teams have boatloads of money and, with the Yankees now having no shot at avoiding the luxury tax, are willing to spend all of it. So long as the Dodgers and Yanks are in play for Santana, the Royals have no shot at re-signing him.

Coming up with a reasonable scenario that sees Santana’s price falling towards what the Royals are willing to spend is difficult. The Blue Jays will have to choose to sign someone like Bronson Arroyo and the Yankees will need to sign Ubaldo Jimenez. Los Angeles will have to pass on signing a significant free agent starting pitcher.

There is a chance both New York and Los Angeles do not sign a pitcher at all, too. Los Angeles could easily decide to stay put with what they have – their rotation is stacked even with missing out on Tanaka – knowing that Chad Billingsley will be coming back by mid-season. And they still have to trade one of Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, or Matt Kemp in order to make room for Yasiel Puig. Trading one of those three could net them a starting pitcher.

New York needs another pitcher, but they also have other needs around the diamond. They may choose to wait to fill their starting pitching problem at mid-season or next offseason.

Should the market shrink to Baltimore, Arizona, Seattle, and Colorado, then the Royals have a serious shot to bring back Santana. Colorado, Arizona, and Baltimore are in similar payroll situations as the Royals in terms of remaining cash left to spend, and do not want to part with a first round pick. The Mariners may want to save their money for another bat or a David Price trade/extension.

Another possibility is that the market for Santana doesn’t exist. Reading between the lines of Cotillo’s report, there’s a pretty reasonable chance his source for his story is Santana’s agent. Santana’s agent may be trying to build a market for Santana in order to get a team to move on his client. An actual market doesn’t have to be there for a player, what matters is that a team thinks there is a market for said player. This principle was used to get Robinson Cano a $240 million contract earlier in the offseason.

By no means is it unreasonable to think the Dodgers, Yankees, Cubs, Rockies, and Mariners have moved on from Santana. Toronto may be the only team considering signing Santana at this point. If Toronto chooses Jimenez over Santana, it is entirely possible that there will be no suitors left for Santana at all. The precedent already exists for that in the form of Kyle Lohse.

It is going to be interesting to see how all of this turns out. Waiting for the Tanaka signing really messed with the starting pitching market, so it may still be a while before we know where Santana ends up. However, things are (finally) starting to heat up in terms of chatter, which is way more fun than the silence of the last month.