John Heyman of CBS Sports says the Blue Jays are one of five teams still in contact with free agent pitcher Ervin Santana but according to Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com, it seems like the Toronto Blue Jays are an unlikely landing spot for the 31-year-old right-hander.
At least publicly, we’ve known for some time that the Blue Jays are downplaying any interest in Santana. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says “don’t believe it” but based on comments from Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulos on Thursday it doesn’t sound like he is exactly working the phones.
“Here and there, just more [to] touch base and things like that,” Anthopoulos said. “I don’t know how you qualify dialogue. You get a text, an email, things like that, an occasional phone call, but I don’t think we have anything active.”
Chisholm goes on to explain that “it seems like the only way Toronto would be considered a realistic landing spot for Santana is if his asking price significantly drops.” This year the Blue Jays are on the hook to pay Mark Buehrle $19 million, R.A. Dickey $12 million, Brandon Morrow $8 million, Ricky Romero $7.75 million and J.A. Happ $5.2 million. Next year Morrow and Happ each have buyouts ($1M and $200k respectively) but Dickey and Buehrle will make a combined $32 million and Romero will receive one last $7.75 charitable donation. So at least for the moment, the Jays already have quite a bit of money tied up in the rotation. (All figures from Cot’s Baseball Contracts.)
I’m basing this on absolutely nothing (okay, maybe from the Jays’ inaction this off-season), but it doesn’t seem like the Blue Jays are exactly eager to shell out the reported $50 million over four years that Santana is still looking for. There could be a minor move on the horizon (when is there not with AA?) as Anthopoulos made it sound like he he was looking forward to the last week and a half of spring training, when players out of options start hitting the waiver wire.
“Periodic, maybe two conversations on trades, but no sense of urgency at all, just more ideas with the understanding with those clubs that, ‘Hey, let’s just see how camp goes.’ I’d say the last 10 days of camp or so is when you’re expecting guys to stay healthy and it’ll be interesting, especially with all the guys we have who are out of options.”
It appears as though at least for now, Santana is still an afterthought. Despite his evolution to become much more of a ground ball pitcher, he’s still homer-prone and it’s a huge question mark whether or not he would succeed in the Rogers Centre.
At this point, it sounds like the Blue Jays are more likely to end up with someone like Scott Diamond, who pitched below replacement level for the Minnesota Twins last year and is fighting for a job with two other out of option pitchers, Sam Deduno and Vance Worley. Now those are difference makers…