Apr 14, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Ervin Santana (54) delivers a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Ervin Santana Should Be On Blue Jays Radar With One-Year Contract Demand

Attention Alex Anthopoulos and everyone in the Toronto Blue Jays front office. Ervin Santana is sending you every signal he can from across the bar. Now is the time to make your move.

According to multiple tweets from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the season of endless free agency is wearing thin on the right-hander. He has parted ways with agent Bean Stringfellow, who was pushing for Santana to sit out until after the draft to get the big deal he wanted without the weight of a compensation pick attached. And now, he is signalling his willingness to accept a one-year deal in order to get into camp as soon as possible.

For the Toronto Blue Jays, this was what they’ve been waiting for.

Alex Anthopoulos has been adamant that he would make a move if a free agent pitcher were willing to come down to his price point. Whether that was an indication of dollars or years, one doesn’t truly know. If Santana is willing to sign on the dotted line for a one-year deal, even at an average annual value of $10-$12 million, that should be feasible for the Blue Jays considering the length of commitment.

Now granted, Santana does come with some issues that won’t make him a sure thing for the Blue Jays. He carries with him a lifetime ERA of 4.19 and has surrendered 21 or more home runs each of the last 8 seasons. However, he has also contributed a groundball rate of 43% or higher each of the last three seasons and holding batters to a .238 average during that time.

Given the state of flux the Blue Jays rotation currently sits in, a one-year deal with Santana could net multiple winning scenarios. First, it would instantly move J.A. Happ out of the four spot in the rotation and making him compete for the firth spot with a suddenly very intriguing Drew Hutchison.

Second, it would allow the Blue Jays to give one more year of development to Marcus Stroman. Alex Anthopoulos recently indicated that service time would not hold Stroman back if he proved himself in camp, but Stroman has been hit pretty well in his five innings of work this spring. Inking Santana to a one-year deal would allow him to get a full season of Triple-A development without blocking him in 2015.

Still, this all means the Blue Jays desire to make a move at this point in the spring. But if there was a time to make that play, now would be it.

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  • SM

    There’s no money in the vault to sign anyone.

    • Paul Miller

      If he signs elsewhere for 10-14 million, then yes the vault is closed.

  • Doug Hall

    This is a must if we are serious at all about a run at this . Can’t be a should .

  • Kevin

    We’ll get him, I think our pitching so far has proved that he is worth the money especially for a one year deal

  • Momus

    This I would do. When the Jays were being linked to Jiminez and Santana early on in the off-season I was adamantly against the idea of signing Santana: Too homer-prone and too inconsistent. But the risks I saw there are completely mitigated by a 1 year deal. Back when the word was he was looking for 5 years and big money I wouldn’t have even bothered talking to him.

    A 1 year deal for under $15M? Yeah – that’s a risk worth taking. There are so many upside scenarios:

    1) He pitches well but the Jays are out of the running by the break. Trade him to a contender for prospects.

    2) He pitches well and the Jays are in the running but miss the post-season. Give him the qualifying offer and gain a pick in the 2015 draft. Or they get him on another 1 year deal for ~$15M.

    3) He pitches well and the Jays make the post-season. Well… obviously the best case scenario.

    The downside is that he might not pitch well, and there is a significant risk of that because he seems to be a pitcher particularly ill-suited to Toronto. But honestly what player with any potential wouldn’t you sign on a one-year deal?


    • brad

      The real plus is that it’s very unlikely he will pitch worse than a guy like Happ will over a full season. If he is horrible and has an ERA of 5 and pitches 200 innings he has as much value as anyone in the 4 and 5 spots last year that were filled by Morrow/Happ/Ortiz/Romero/Laffey/Jenkins/Rogers/Wang and pitched to a combined 5.10 ERA in 380 innings. Worst case scenario the team doesn’t get any worse and best case scenario they get a #2 pitcher…. for 1 year it’s definitely a worthwhile risk