Sep 20, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Ervin Santana (54) delivers a pitch against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Stark: Blue Jays Unlikely To Sign Ervin Santana Or Any Starter

When the 2013-2014 offseason started, the Toronto Blue Jays made it known that their priority was to add starting pitching depth and hopefully improve the team’s 25th-ranked rotation in the process. With an enviable position in terms of protected draft picks, it was almost a given that Toronto would make a move.

Well, so much for that pipe dream.

According to Jayson Stark at ESPN, sources are saying that the Toronto Blue Jays are unlikely to sign free agent starter Ervin Santana, who went 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA and a 3.16 K/BB ratio last season for the Royals, or any of the remaining free agents on the market. Instead, as Stark takes it from comments from Alex Anthopoulos earlier today, the team seems content to test its mettle with the internal options that include Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek, Todd Redmond, J.A. Happ, Esmil Rogers, and rookie Marcus Stroman.

“We’d love to add a starter to maintain that depth,” Anthopoulos said. “But we’re comfortable with what we have. If the right guy were to come along at the right price, we’re definitely open-minded to the idea of adding one more starting pitcher. But again, we’re comfortable with our internal options.” – (h/t Jayson Stark, ESPN)

That news will come as a stark disappointment to fans that have waited anxiously for the team to make a move to better the ball club. While the entire division has made a move to improve their respective clubs, up to and including the Orioles signing of Ubaldo Jimenez earlier this week, the Blue Jays lone significant move was the signing of catcher Dioner Navarro.

With two protected first round picks, Toronto was seen as a favorite to land one or two of the available starters this winter. However, their unwillingness to spend beyond a certain point prevented them exploiting that position, and the team instead chose to watch Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, and likely Santana sign elsewhere. Even fallbacks like Scott Feldman, Bronson Arroyo, et al received nary a head turn from the Blue Jays brass, seemingly indicating that the team’s motives all along were to either make a free agent cave to their chosen price point, or to simply hope that they can execute their 3-year plan with the players they have in camp.

So while Stark makes a note that the Blue Jays haven’t closed the door completely, the contract given to Jimenez and the Orioles willingness to surrender the number 17 pick in the draft for him, Santana’s likelihood of falling into Toronto’s lap is minimal at best.

In other words folks, as has been the case all winter, there is nothing to see here, and it is time for us to move on.

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  • Doug Hall

    If Morrow is healthy and we can get 10-12 wins from 5 starter and we certainly have the potential in either Rogers ,Hutcheson, Dyrbec,

    • Kyle Franzoni

      10 -12 wins out of the number 5 starter is a bit of a reach, especially considering the Blue Jays have had 3 Total 10-game winners over the last two seasons (Morrow in 2012, Dickey and Buehrle in 2013). That said, I’d love Morrow to join that group this season, but it depends on his health.

      • Doug Hall

        I hear you , maybe I’m being to optimistic . So let’s consider a trade to get pitching . A small shape up among the line up might be not a bad idea.

  • jaysin n

    Thsre is no reason Rogers cant either make a big/smart trade or sign one the top free agents other than being cheap.

    • Shaun Doyle

      The reason the Jays can’t/won’t make a trade has nothing to do with Rogers being cheap. It has to do with other teams having sky high demands for their average pitchers. The ridiculous asking price of Stroman and Sanchez for a .500 pitcher is obscene. Imagine what it would take to trade for someone like David Price! If not willing to give up young studs for average talent is cheap, then they can be as stingy as they like if you ask me. As for the “top free agents”…… They are only top because of who is in the free agent crop with them. They aren’t the best in the game, but because of the limited options, they want to be paid like they are the best. Why pay top salary for something that you can get from what you already have? Considering the many arms available they’re already employing, why fork over a ton for a player that will give them the same, or near same results? It is not good business sense. We’ll get 10 wins from the combination of the potential #5 starters mentioned.

      • RevRollie

        I agree with the trade cost not being worth it, but the issue I have is that the asking price for Ubaldo et al is/was not that high considering the current cost of doing business in mlb! With the billions in TV revenue coming in, a 13 million av pitcher is (sadly) a bargain. The top notch guys will be getting 25 mill plus. 13 million is now your #3 pitcher, and guys like Ubaldo could have been a real trading chip if/when the young guys proved their worth.

        • Shaun Doyle

          Agreed. The cost of pitching keeps escalating, so $13m may not be a bad price for a mid rotation starter. Unless you have someone who can give you that for a fraction of a price ie: Drabek, Hutchison, Redmond, Stroman, Sanchez…I think 10 wins is possible from that group. 15 for Dickey, 11 for Buerhle, 10-15 for Morrow if healthy, 8 for Happ, then if we can get 10 or so from the rest, we’re in good shape.

          • RevRollie

            I’m not in stark disagreement, but I don’t think there is one of those guys that is ready to just have a go at it. All have huge question marks, and the only one that can potentially pitch a whole season (200 innings) is Redmond (and that ain’t gonna happen!). If they did get a mid rotation guy with an easily tradeable contract they could let the young bunch prove their stuff in AAA first. You don’t know what you are going to get from them! We could very easily be going into July having tried 3 of those guys and all have been disasters! We apparently had this money earmarked anyway (although it looks like that may have changed). It would not have taken a long term commitment! I don’t think throwing out a number of projected wins means anything, to be honest. Can they pitch 7 plus innings, or are they going to tax the bullpen all the time (a huge problem last year). Are we throwing guys in before they are ready? I personally hope we don’t get Santana b/c of his long ball issues, and I hope we don’t trade the farm either… so at this point I may just agree with you; but I don’t have to like it! One of the young guns may surprise us, but more and more I find myself disagreeing with AA’s supposed philosophy.

          • Shaun Doyle

            I share your concerns. I’m not so sure we need 200 innings form them, but still. Your fears are valid. There are a lot of question marks. I think we could debate around in circles, but we essentially agree. I don’t want to accept the current situation, but…..

      • jaysin n

        As we’ve seen so far this year, it’s not the 5th spot we need to worry about, it’s 3-4 spot! They need to pop for Jeff Samardjia now while they are still in 1st

  • bob l.

    i like the fact that the jays did not sign any of the over-hyped and over-priced f/a pitchers. as a huge mcgowan fan, i have a question. he is out of options but he could VOLUNTARILY go down to aaa to help stretch himself out ,right? i would much see dustin as the #4 (maybe in early may)instead of happ (trade happ) and #5 go to hutch, drabek or possibly stroman.

    • JoseJose

      You sound like Jimenez getting 12.5 AAV for 4 years is a huge overpay. Santana is probably seeking roughly the same. They are both significant upgrades to our current rotation (I’m not saying that they are aces or a #2′s, but they are solid #3 or #4 starters that have the ability to eat through innings). Don’t get me wrong, I would love McGowan to reach his potential as well but maybe we should see him in the bullpen at least a full season before we start depending on him as a regular starter to pitch 160-190 innings. If we are hoping for unreasonable thing that all Jays fans fantasize about, maybe we should hope Drabek will be the Doc Halladay we traded him starting next year for and win multiple Cy Young awards. Final note, it is not unreasonable that Morrow does not play for the entire season, when he’s out Happ is our #3. Do you still feel good that we did not overspend? If the teams that they were on (who know him better than the Jays or their fanbase) offered Santana 14.1 million dollars, he’s not a bum. Would we offer any of our back-end options 14.1 million? Probably not…

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  • Jared Sochan

    Happ’s a 5 starter at best. Not big on Redmond or Hutchinson are garbage. I sure hope Drabek comes back strong and becomes our no.4, there’s also Esmil Rogers. I doubt there’s even a 1% chance the jays would make an offer BUT…how much do you think Johan Santana would cost?