Jun 8, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Ervin Santana (54) throws to first for an out in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Blue Jays "Seriously Interested" In Ervin Santana


The Toronto Blue Jays search for starting pitching continues, albeit very slowly. And when things go slowly, people throw out reports and the masses jump to it. Take for instance the following tweet from Andrew Rickli of SportsReelBoston.

Now, I’ll admit that I’m not familiar with Rickli’s work, or whether his “sources” are dependable to not. That said, I’m going to take the tweet above with a grain of salt. However, it follows along the logic that we’ve witnessed in the last few days.

Matt Garza‘s still pending signing with the Milwaukee Brewers, for a measly 4-year, $52 million commitment, made Blue Jays fans wonder why Toronto wasn’t involved. With his deal now held up, by what may very well be an issue with his physical, settles that argument a bit. However, it still points the Blue Jays towards looking elsewhere, and with Ervin Santana’s demands coming down into the 4-year, $60 million range, which may put him more in the Blue Jays wheel-house.

Santana may not be the sexiest name in the long-run, but at least the long-term commitment makes eating a mistake a bit easier to swallow. Granted, Santana may have some appealing qualities to the Blue Jays.

Over the last three years, Santana has enjoyed a favorable turn in his ground-ball to fly-ball ratio, seeing it his ground-ball rates rise into the solid 40% range while watching his fly-ball rates decline.

Ground-Ball Rates:
2010 – 35.2%
2011 – 43.5%
2012 – 43.2%
2013 – 46.2%

Fly-Ball Rates:

2010 – 42.7%
2011 – 37.9%
2012 – 37.3%
2013 – 32.9%

Now, while his fly-ball rates have declined, his home run numbers still sit in a relatively uncomfortable range, with Santana averaged 29.5 long-balls over the last four seasons. That may not be the type of mix we want to introduce to the homer-friendly confines of Rogers Centre, but beggers can’t be choosers at this stage.

Perhaps the Blue Jays can talk Santana down into the same range as Garza, especially considering that the team would need to sacrifice a 2nd round pick in next year’s draft to secure him. Ubaldo Jimenez comes with the same level of risk, and sacrifice of a pick, but with likely higher demands.

Of course, this could all still be straight speculation, someone trying to make something happen on the internet on a slow day, so he prods the masses of the two markets that have done next to nothing.

So will the Blue Jays make good on this pursuit? Will they sit back and declare their work done for the winter? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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  • Jason Ramnauth

    I don’t know how I feel about this. I believe the jays could have a good team without adding a mid rotation arm. I think it’s a waste of money because Drebak and Drew Hutchison can do the same thing for less. But that’s my opinion.

    • RyanMueller

      I don’t know if I agree with you. Hutchison might be able to, but I highly doubt if Drabek could become a 3rd starter on a AAA team. If Drabek is able to find some control, than maybe he might have some value. Hutchison hasn’t thrown enough major league innings to even compare him to Santana (not that you were doing that).

    • ziggy13

      Well one of the 2 openings in the rotation is pretty much guaranteed for Happ so that leaves us with one spot. I agree Hutchison wouldn’t be a terrible choice however I’d rather we sign Jimenez/Santana and let Hutch get some work in AAA and serve as depth for when a starter goes down.

  • Eric

    No jays! Don’t do it Santana is not even good! He had one really good season when he was with the Angels and was ok last year. He’ll get murdered at Rogers center worst than dickeys 16-1 loss to the Red Sox he’s go no potential in Toronto plus he’s in his early thirtys! No thank you!

    • brad

      He has pitched 200 innings with a sub 4 ERA 3 times in the last 4 years with an ERA+ over 110 in 2 of the last 3 years(ERA of 3.38 and 3.24 in those 2 years). The guy is a solid #3 starter who is going to get less than he deserves because of 3 bad seasons over a 9 year career. Giving him the same money as the John Lackeys and John Danks of the world is perfectly reasonable. It’s also encouraging that he was better on the road than he was at Kauffman last year. The dome is definitely a bandbox but any pitcher you pick up is going to need to deal with that. Giving the best one available a 4 year/60 mil contract makes all kinds of sense.

      • Eric

        He is most definitely not worth 60 mill if garza got only 54. Santana is honestly ok but Jimenez would be a whole lot better given his ground ball rate and k’s

        • brad

          Garza hasn’t pitched 200 innings since 2010, has never in his career posted an ERA lower than Santana had last year and only once has beaten Santana’s 3.38 in 2010. He is almost a year younger I suppose but that should barely effect value at all on a 4 year deal. Do I think Santana will get 60? Probably not since he has compensation attached but value wise he is no doubt worth 1.5M more than Garza per year.

          As for Jiminez, talk about someone who has had 1 good season and 1 ok season! He lost 17 games(!!!!) 2 seasons ago and had an ERA over 5. The K/9 is certainly good but he doesn’t have the ability to eat innings like Santana does(likely because he throws so many pitches per batter…. because he relies on the K). Ground ball rate? Lower than Santana the last 2 years. I would be happy if the Jays signed Jiminez but I don’t agree that he would be “a whole lot better”

          • Eric

            Honestly I don’t think you know anything. We have one of the best bullpens in the league and your worried he doesn’t pitch enough innings. Who cares. Our bullpen needs to work MORE after last year we have dickey and buerlhe for that. He really only had one terrible year and that was just an off season. Watch what he does for our organization if he comes. He’ll prove u wrong he will do very well.

          • ziggy13

            Are you kidding me? Our bullpen needs to work more? Our bullpen got overworked last year and it showed in the second half of the season. I think we’re fine on workhorses but we definitely need to add one of Jimenez or Santana to the rotation

          • brad

            this^

          • Eric

            I said we need Jimenez why you arguing? I just don’t think I’m into Santana very much.

          • brad

            forgetting that you can’t post links in comments, I put some in the nicely written reply I had…. and it probably won’t appear now so here’s a summary:

            1) Thinking innings don’t matter is absurd. The Jays had some of the worst bench production in the league last year (link to article on hardball times) because they had to carry 1-2 extra relievers. They got the 3rd fewest innings out of their starters and it is definitely an area of need. If a guy pitches 30 extra innings at the same level of production as another pitcher, he is worth more because you can take an arm out of the pen and put another guy on the bench(creating more pen depth in case of injuries or trade and adding production to the bench)…. not to mention the extra rest afforded to the bullpen leading to better production the next time they pitch.

            2) Summary of areas Santana is better: Statistically better seasons in each of the last 3 years, higher GB%, fewer walks, strikeout pitchers age worse than control pitchers(link to fangraphs article about this)

            3) In spite of bombshells like: “worst than dickeys 16-1 loss to the Red Sox”,”go no potential in Toronto”, “in his early thirties” (exactly 1 year older than Jiminez), Jiminez has a higher GB rate(which he doesn’t) and Innings don’t matter(see above)…. your only real argument in the higher K rate(which declines rapidly with age)

            Conclusion: I disagree that I am the one who know’s nothing. Have a nice day.

          • ziggy13

            You may have just talked me into Santana haha

          • Eric

            I disagree with you as well. We’ll see who is right when Jimenez has a better year than Santana.

          • brad

            That could very well happen but you should have some actual facts to support your opinion before telling someone they don’t know anything.

          • Eric

            But you do know nothing. Have fun working at mcdonalds all your life

          • brad

            Lmfao…. someone’s a sore loser

          • Eric

            Lmao no that’s you cuz you work at mcdonalds

          • brad

            Your unparalleled creativity confounds me… glad everyone is here to have a baseball conversation…..

          • Eric

            It was until you started being a goof. Your logic is beyond earth. Santana over Jimenez. Your loco bud

          • brad

            Really yet to hear a piece of logic for Jiminez over Santana out of you…. pitch the bullpen more? Talk about loco. If you aren’t prepared to support your opinion in a baseball article comment section, don’t post! If you have to resort to petty, uncreative(at least be creative!!) insults it generally means your argument doesn’t hold any water. So I’ll ask straight up…. again “what is your reasoning for saying Jiminez is a better idea than Santana?”

            god forbid an actual baseball debate ensue in the comment section of a baseball article…

          • Eric

            We have the best bullpen in the league! We need someone that won’t give up a homer each game. Jimenez will have better stats than Santana at Rogers centre period.

        • RyanMueller

          Agreed

          • Rui Hanazawa

            After watching their videos and reading their stats, it’s tough to quantify who the better pitcher is in this thin market. Tanaka would have been my first choice but his salary is just too stupid. Garza would have been my 2nd. He’s a beast in our division, cost was reasonable and I like his alpha male attitude. We need a couple of guys with chips on their shoulders to keep the high fives down and up the fist pumping. Healthy pitchers still get hurt in T.O. So his health issue isn’t too concerning given his current contract without sacrificing a draft pick.

            I would stand pat for now, save the money and draft picks for a proven ace or a number 2 man before the trade deadline. The success of this season depends largely on Morrow just pitching a full season to his potential with Buehrle and Dickey carrying over their 2nd half success. Groom Stroman as the fifth starter. Pray for Romero, he could be the X factor.

          • RyanMueller

            I totally agree with you. Let us see what we have before throwing away prospects and draft picks….even though our top 2 picks are protected.

  • Justin Jay

    Like I said… I would not be stunned if this is the guy the Jays get out of the 3… well… now 2… that were left after Tanaka

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  • Jason Kerr

    It seems like a lot of money to waste on a pitcher that really is not worth that much. Give our pitchers a chance you never know when one will have a season of their life time or something along those lines. Plus, with the pitchers that are available next year via free-agency. I think it’d be better to save our money this year and get someone next year. The real question is does adding any of these arms make us a contender? Probably not …