Sep 14, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Ervin Santana (54) walks off the field after being relieved in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles Lose Out On Ervin Santana

 

Ervin Santana has signed with the Atlanta Braves for a reported $14.1 million – the exact amount of the qualifying offer. So, months of maneuvering finds Santana back at the starting point, financially speaking, although it could be argued that Atlanta is a better place to be than Kansas City. Yet again, the Royals are a pretty good-looking outfit, and they may in the end have the better season for all we know at this point.

The Orioles were in the running for the last big free agent pitcher, having offered a one-year deal for $13 million, with talk also of three years for $30 million. The Braves have had a number of injuries that raise rotation concerns, so it made sense that this deal was consummated in that direction. One solace for the Orioles is that Santana did not end up with another suitor – the Blue Jays. But yet again, it could be that the Orioles would need help from the Jays this season to knock off other division rivals. So much speculation!

Santana, like many other of the free agents this offseason, had hopes for a much better multi-year deal, but he wants to get into a camp and get the season going. The one-year deal allows him to play, again prove his worth, and gain a better deal moving forward.

As with practically every pitcher, there are no real guarantees with Ervin Santana. Even if the Orioles would have been able to land him, would they be getting the guy from 2012 with a 5.16 ERA with the Angels, or the 3.24 ERA with the Royals in 2013? How much did the expanse of Kauffman Stadium help those numbers? Or could one expect something more like his career ERA of 4.19, which might not be worth really big bucks?

The big difference between his poor 2012 season and other years is seen in one statistic – the number of home runs allowed – 39, as compared to no more than 26 in all other campaigns. So maybe this fly-ball pitcher is better playing elsewhere.

Year

Age

Tm

Lg

W

L

ERA

G

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

WHIP

2012

29

LAA AL

9

13

5.16

30

178.0

165

109

102

39

61

133

1.270

2013

30

KCR AL

9

10

3.24

32

211.0

190

85

76

26

51

161

1.142

9 Yrs

105

90

4.19

268

1686.2

1634

847

786

229

526

1328

1.281

 

 

 

 

 

However, having called him a fly-ball pitcher, Steve Melewski gave some myth-breaking statistics on that notion in his column just yesterday. Steve wrote, “Last season, Santana’s groundball rate of 46.2 percent was his career best and was 11th in the AL among qualified pitchers. He’s not a fly-ball pitcher to the extent he is being portrayed by some.”

On an additional note, it is simply amazing to see the change in the Orioles organization’s spending posture over the past month. Looking around at articles written by colleagues for other organizations that chose not to spend on Santana – clubs who could have arguably needed him even more than the Birds – there is anger, angst, and frustration pouring out all over the page.

Looking back at my previous posts in the offseason, I wrote this at the time when the payroll was at about $83 million…

Logical Conclusion = If the Orioles use their $17 million to yet acquire another quality pitcher or two, and do so in a way that gains the most bang for the buck, fans are not justified in criticizing the efforts made … recognizing that the core of the team is as good as anyone else out there. BUT, if nothing more is done, after all the talk of a reasonable $100 million target as the “reallocation of resources,” then the fan base has a justifiable right to feel blown off.

According to the salary totals at the site “Spotrac” (here), the Orioles’ salary total right now is at $106.63 million. So, though another Santana would have been likely an additional strength, really, there is not a reason to feel that the O’s were too cheap to make the move. But right now I would say to take that $13 million and put it toward the savings account under the name “Chris Davis.”

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Ervin Santana

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