Saturday, 8 March 2014

Re-Updated Again: Santana signs in Toronto?

1:00 ET-

Haha.  Enrique Rojas is telling us that he'll sign in Toronto by 4:00 ET if nobody better comes along.  Baltimore should really be jumping on this right now.

12:30 ET-

We're the mystery team!  Free agent!  Improvement!  Successful offseason!

I don't mind this.  I would have obviously liked Ubaldo more, but it's tough to argue with a 1-year deal.

I wonder what this means for JA Happ.  He was apparently shut down for a few days with back issues, and this probably has nothing to do with that, but if Happ is suddenly shut down for longer than that, this might be a knee-jerk to that.  I'm kind of expecting Happ to be DL'ed to start the season, which will allow for a little while to let the out-of-options guys settle in to place the way Cecil and Jeffress did last year.

Santana's always been a bit homer-prone, which is a pretty major wrinkle in the Skydome, but I think I read something about a two-seamer that's been getting him more groundballs or something?  I dunno.  He's projected, by and large, to be right around league average, and should provide somewhere in the vicinity of 200 innings, which, judging by last year, would be a fucking godsend, even at a 4.00-ish fip.

Given the state of the offense of this team, I think just having guys that aren't Todd Redmond or Chien-Ming Wang go out there and throw, even if they aren't dominant, should work out pretty nicely.  It's not that Dickey or Buehrle or Santana are especially awesome, but they should be able to keep the game within reach and let Edwin mash enough to keep things close.  Imagine a situation where the Jays get 600 innings out of three starters?!?

Santana is Dominican, by the way.

11:00 ET Update:

A couple of things I didn't mention:

  • Despite Jon Heyman saying that it's down to the Jays, O's and Rockies, I think the Mariners make the most sense for Santana.  There are all the reasons provided, but beyond that, Seattle has traditionally been a pretty good pitchers park, though it was fairly neutral this past season.  I feel like I read something about them bringing the fences in a bit at some point last offseason, but that's forever ago and who cares?  The main thing that we can take away here is that pitching in Seattle is going to be a lot better for Santana's numbers than pitching in, say, Toronto, Baltimore or Colorado would be, especially when you sort that park factors link by HR's.
  • Any team that signs Santana is obviously taking a bit of a risk, by forfeiting a draft pick.  As mentioned already, this would be a 2nd rounder in Toronto's case, and a third rounder in both Baltimore and Seattle's case.  Giving up a pick for one year of Santana seems sort of reckless, but there is upside to it.  If Santana performs well enough this year to earn a qualifying offer and rejects it, the team that signs him for 2013 will be in effect turning that 2nd or 3rd rounder in to a late first rounder in next year's draft.  Obviously, if Santana accepts a qualifying offer next year, or just plain sucks enough to not warrant his team offering him one, then yeah, you blew it.  Baltimore and Seattle really should be all over this, with the hope of turning a third rounder now in to a first rounder later, as there is significantly less value lost in potentially losing that with a 3rd rounder than with a 2nd.

Original Post

I assume we'll know who that mystery team is before I'm finished writing this, but whatever.  Ervin Santana is going to sign a 1-year deal worth $14MM with a yet-to-be-named AL team.  I take this to mean that the deal is done and not announced yet, but I suppose the way that it's worded, it could be that he's just down to a team or two before finally making up his mind.  Given that there's a $14MM value there, I'd assume a deal is done though and that there will be a further announcement shortly.

[Update- Jon Heyman suggests that it's between the Jays, Orioles, and possibly Rockies]

Santana said the other day that he's just going to forget about looking for 3, 4, or 5 years and just focus on a 1-year deal that will allow him to sign a big contract next year, when there's a better market for his services.  It's not that there was a poor market this year, it's just that he was looking for 5 years and $100MM at the start of the offseason.  Sure, you can ask for that and hope that someone gives the maximum payout possible for your services, but you probably shouldn't hold out for that kind of deal after Ubaldo signs for half of that.

Santana makes sense for quite a few teams, especially on a 1-year deal.  Seattle is going to miss both Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker for at least the first bit of the season, plus they've already surrendered a draft pick after signing Robinson Cano.  I believe that their first-rounder was protected, so this would mean that they're giving up a third rounder if they sign Santana.  A 1-year deal works here, given that they're probably going for it, missing some pitching help, and another year of development would be good for their ridiculously good minor league pitching depth.

Santana also makes sense for Texas, given their location on the win curve, as well as Derek Holland's injury status.  We also can't be sure about Matt Harrison, who missed all of last year to injury.

Of course, the Jays make sense.  Brandon Morrow can't be relied upon to throw 200 innings at this point, JA Happ is hurting and might not be very good, and the 5th spot in the rotation is going to be made up of a battle between several question marks.  Santana could lead to some stability, could allow the Jays to further stabilize the rotation behind Dickey and Buerhle, and, as mentioned countless times before, would only cost them their third draft pick, which is a second rounder.  Santana could, of course, be flipped at the deadline if things go south as well, effectively trading a 2nd round draft pick for something of use.

The Orioles make sense, given the way their offseason has shaped up.  They signed Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz, so they've already tossed two draft picks in the fire.  They would forfeit their 3rd rounder for Santana, meanwhile going for it while they still have Chris Davis and Matt Weiters under contract for one more year, before both hit free agency and likely leave Baltimore forever.

Stay tuned!

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