MLBTR (and other media outlets) had prematurely reported that the Toronto Blue Jays signed the top remaining free agent starting pitcher Ervin Santana to a one-year $14MM contract. It appears that no deal is currently close with the Blue Jays, or any team for that matter.
Here are the latest headlines:
2:21pm: O’Brien hears from a person connected to the Royals that the Braves may now be making a run at Santana (Twitter link). In addition to Medlen’s injury, Brandon Beachy left today’s Spring Training start with biceps tightness.
10:17am: The Braves haven’t completely ruled out Santana in the event of a serious Medlen injury, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, but the financial and draft pick costs are definite factors. Atlanta would very much like to strengthen its crop of top prospects, and sacrificing the No. 26 selection in the draft would go against that thinking.
9:19am: Over the weekend it was reported that Ervin Santana has completely changed course and is now seeking a one-year deal with an eye toward a lucrative multi-year deal next offseason. With one-year offers of $13MM plus incentives and $14MM without incentives from the Orioles and Blue Jays, respectively, there appear to be a pair of clear favorites for Santana.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides some updates on the Santana sweepstakes this morning, noting that the Blue Jays’ players are lobbying for Santana to come to Toroto. Santana has many friends on the club, including countrymen Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Reyes. One source told Rosenthal that several Jays players got together and texted Santana a picture of themselves holding a poster that read, “Come to Toronto.”
The conspiracy theorist in me feels that perhaps Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has never had any intention of signing Ervin Santana. Anthopoulos is a chronic and notorious window shopper and perhaps he was hopeful that breaking this story would take some of the heat off him from a disgruntled fan base still sore with the team after last years debacle. However this is pure speculation and probably not even good speculation.
If I was Ervin Santana and the goal was to put up another half way decent season to secure a long-term contract I would be hesitant to choose the Toronto Blue Jays. Pitching a majority of my games in the AL East and possibly half of my starts at the Rogers Centre wouldn’t be the best business decision.
If the Atlanta Braves are interested and are offering a contract on par with Toronto I don’t see how they aren’t a heavy favorite to land him.