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Saturday, March 08, 2014

Blue Jays To Sign Ervin Santana

A pitcher with injury concerns signing with the Jays. What could go wrong?

The Blue Jays have agreed to terms with Ervin Santana on a one-year, $14MM deal, Dionisio Soldevila of ESPN Deportes tweets. Earlier in the day, Soldevila had reported that Santana would sign with an AL club for $14MM. Santana has until recently been represented by Proformance, although there have been recent reports about the possibility of Santana ending his relationship with that agency.

Santana pitched 211 innings with the Royals in 2013, posting a 3.24 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. After the season, he rejected a $14.1MM qualifying offer, hoping to strike it big on the free agent market. Obviously, that didn’t happen, as the issue of draft pick forfeiture supressed the market for Santana and several other players. The Blue Jays have two first-round picks, at No. 9 and No. 11, and both are protected. So they’ll have to give up the No. 50 overall pick for signing Santana.

Santana’s one-year deal gives him the opportunity to hit the free agent market again next offseason, when he will turn 32. If he performs well, however, he may still have to deal with the qualifying offer issue.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 08, 2014 at 01:41 PM | 126 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays, ervin santana, free agents

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   101. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 12, 2014 at 08:32 AM (#4670031)
As noted, Ervin to ATL, 1 yr
Sad flip
   102. Jeff R., P***y Mainlander Posted: March 12, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4670037)
I wonder how much the Twins' 3-year offer was for. Knowing them, it was probably $30M/3 years.
   103. Honkie Kong Posted: March 12, 2014 at 09:16 AM (#4670044)
As noted, Ervin to ATL, 1 yr
Sad flip


Why sad? Not because of the draft pick, I hope. Not to pick on you but rant below...

<Climbs on soap box>
I think the pendulum has swung the other way to where draft picks are overvalued. To have the chance of a major leaguer at 3 cheap + 3 reasonably priced years, teams should not ignore what can help them now. And the probability that said pick will generate positive returns is fairly low ( probably should link to some gargantuan Walt Davis posts here ).
</descends>

Braves are in a sweet spot in terms of contention. They have a bunch of young players coming into their prime. Upton and Heyward are signed for 2 more years. The value of 200 league average innings is fairly high for them. Esp given that neither Teheran nor Wood have ever pitched 200 innings, and are fairly young. Minor has a sore shoulder. The rest of the current rotation is Freddy Garcia / David Hale?? Floyd is rehabbing. And then you are hoping for some step ups from Martin/Schlosser/Thomas, who are at best middling prospects.

You are a Braves fan..surely I don't need to remind you of http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/ATL/2006.shtml
And that the Braves had to sign Ben Sheets out of retirement cpl of years.


Just feels like signing Santana for 1 year is a good deal. No long term committment. See if the young pitchers step up.
Never too much pitching. And on a one year contract, its hallelujah time!

   104. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 12, 2014 at 09:39 AM (#4670053)
It is in large part because of the pick. I'm receptive to the idea that picks have been become overvalued but...

Using the CW of the day: the EV of that pick is a bit over four WAR and, in monetary and simplistic terms, that's roughly 6M per win. So, we're forfeiting an asset with an estimated value of, eh, 22M? (once you net out the signing bonus). To be clear, under the current system, you can't just instead spend that money on other players - it is now a lost option for talent acquisition and development.

In exchange, we get to pay Ervin Santana, a player I'm not terribly fond of (he's okay - the high HR rate bothers me + I worry that he'll struggle to sustain the low BABIPs... he's a #3 pitcher), 14.1 million dollars for a year of his services. While you're looking at it as "we only have to have him for a year!", I see it as "we only get to depreciate the lost of the draft pick over a year of services".

Let's assume that that initial calculation is wildly overestimating the value of a pick - that it's only worth, say, 11M. Would you offer Santana 1/25 (absent FA compensation rules), given the limited other options on the market, or stick with what you've got? Maybe you would, given where Atlanta is relative to the rest of the league. I wouldn't.
   105. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 12, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4670064)
I think the pendulum has swung the other way to where draft picks are overvalued. To have the chance of a major leaguer at 3 cheap + 3 reasonably priced years, teams should not ignore what can help them now. And the probability that said pick will generate positive returns is fairly low ( probably should link to some gargantuan Walt Davis posts here ).

I agree with this. I had no problem with the orioles giving up the pick for Ubaldo. I wasn't thrilled about giving up another pick for Cruz, but it's a second rounder. (That said, I'm happy they didn't give up yet another pick for Santana, who I don't trust.)

The nationals got a lot of praise for trading Robbie Ray for two years of Fister, but what are the chances that a late first round pick turns out to be a better prospect than Ray? I still think it was a good trade for the Nationals and not particularly good for the Tigers (putting aside for the moment the concerns about Fister's health), but I think there's a tendency to overvalue the potential of a draft pick vs. a good but not great prospect who's already played well at AA.
   106. Greg K Posted: March 12, 2014 at 09:52 AM (#4670065)
What is the difference between winning 78 games and winning 60 games? In both cases our teams are out of the playoff race by August; the 100-loss team is probably more entertaining.

I could be wrong, but this kind of sounds like a fan of a team that hasn't lost 100 games in 30+ years. Making the playoffs is the goal, but not every non-playoff year is made equal. Every season I watch the majority of Jays games and irrespective of the standings I like watching the Jays win individual ball games. I had more fun watching the Cito Gaston 2.0 Jays, or the 2006-2008 JP Ricciardi spending push Jays than I did watching the team do poorly last year.

As an additional point, I don't really have any evidence to back this up, but I think sometimes we underestimate the damage truly terrible (rather than mediocre) seasons do to the fanbase.
   107. Matthew E Posted: March 12, 2014 at 10:19 AM (#4670090)
I could be wrong, but this kind of sounds like a fan of a team that hasn't lost 100 games in 30+ years. Making the playoffs is the goal, but not every non-playoff year is made equal. Every season I watch the majority of Jays games and irrespective of the standings I like watching the Jays win individual ball games. I had more fun watching the Cito Gaston 2.0 Jays, or the 2006-2008 JP Ricciardi spending push Jays than I did watching the team do poorly last year.

As an additional point, I don't really have any evidence to back this up, but I think sometimes we underestimate the damage truly terrible (rather than mediocre) seasons do to the fanbase.
All very true.

Although I'd say that the last couple of years were terrible in ways that weren't captured by the won-lost record. Every time you looked up, some new weird thing was going wrong. I've seen Jays teams with comparable won-lost records that didn't inspire anything like the same reaction in me.
   108. Greg K Posted: March 12, 2014 at 10:43 AM (#4670114)
Although I'd say that the last couple of years were terrible in ways that weren't captured by the won-lost record. Every time you looked up, some new weird thing was going wrong. I've seen Jays teams with comparable won-lost records that didn't inspire anything like the same reaction in me.

I'd definitely agree with that. The last couple seasons have been awful. Probably among the worst since 1993, I'd guess the worst two-year stretch in that time. Combine that with the promise 2013 appeared to hold, and I think this is a very dangerous time for the fan-base. Just being bad is bad enough, but when you (and the mainstream baseball media world) tell the fans you're a contender, and you're this bad it's got to damage the team's credibility among fans. A few more seasons like this and we could be in trouble.

As much as hovering around .500 for decades at a time and getting no playoffs is frustrating, it's very different from what's been happening the last two years. A couple seasons in the 65-70 win range right now could be deadly.
   109. Paul d mobile Posted: March 12, 2014 at 10:50 AM (#4670121)
Agreed. I think there are going to be so ugly crowds this summer.
   110. Matthew E Posted: March 12, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4670176)
Also, even if you're optimistic about the '14 Jays, you have to admit that this team is going to need a major overhaul soon. Lots of guys getting older, lots of key players hitting free agency... If Anthopoulos has lost the ability or the will to address problems, what's the team going to look like in '16?
   111. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4670195)
18 wins.


Yep.

Every time I went to a "meaningless" Pirates game in the mid '00s, it still made me happy to see them win and sad to see them lose.
   112. Matthew E Posted: March 12, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4670199)
Every time I went to a "meaningless" Pirates game in the mid '00s, it still made me happy to see them win and sad to see them lose.
Absolutely. I've said several times about the Jays that I'm a macropessimist and a microoptimist: I think that they're going to have a bad year and then more bad years after that... but they've always got a real good chance of winning today's game.
   113. Paul d mobile Posted: March 12, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4670207)
In the lounge we've been talking about the Jays ' just missed' list. Darvish, Santana, Chapman, maybe Kinsler. Hell of a team AA almost put together.
   114. PreservedFish Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4670209)
Using the CW of the day: the EV of that pick is a bit over four WAR and, in monetary and simplistic terms, that's roughly 6M per win. So, we're forfeiting an asset with an estimated value of, eh, 22M? (once you net out the signing bonus). To be clear, under the current system, you can't just instead spend that money on other players - it is now a lost option for talent acquisition and development.


I'm suspicious of this type of accounting. The 6M per win number is derived from the bizarre and distorted free agent market, I don't like when it's applied across the board.

If the pick is worth 4 WAR (over 6 years), say Santana is worth 2 WAR (in 1 year, this year) ... on talent alone it seems like a reasonable swap.
   115. Greg K Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:24 PM (#4670238)
Also, even if you're optimistic about the '14 Jays, you have to admit that this team is going to need a major overhaul soon. Lots of guys getting older, lots of key players hitting free agency... If Anthopoulos has lost the ability or the will to address problems, what's the team going to look like in '16?

Certainly. I'm assuming this is the general "you" and not directed at me specifically, but as I've mentioned before, I think the Jays are in a pretty bad position in the short and mid term.

Though I think key players getting old is more of an issue than free agents. Which is itself a problem...I think if Rasmus does fairly well you can get something for him at the deadline, or a qualifying offer at the end of the year. It's less clear how to see a silver lining in the future of Reyes or Buehrle. Due to the strength of the Jays bullpen, and the fact that relievers are relievers, I'm not too worried about Janssen's impending free agency. Melky Cabrera is theoretically a key player in that he's a starter, but he's not exactly played like a key player (though it is nice to see him able to actually run in spring training). Janssen and Rasmus I actually see as opportunities rather than problems. Though you're right...we'll see if AA is able to make something of those opportunities. I'm not entirely sure what to think of him at this point.

I guess my two thoughts on the Jays right now are:

1) They aren't a very good team right now, but if everything falls right they have a slim chance - I've picked 2% as a random number so I'll stick with that! (you can always say that about every team, but I think they are particularly volatile)

2) No matter how they do this year, I expect they'll likely be worse in 2015.
   116. Matthew E Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4670244)
It was the general "you", yes. A couple of names you didn't consider...
- isn't Bautista a free agent after next year? And even if he's not, how long is he going to be productive?
- isn't Lind a free agent soon? Even if the general you doesn't think much of Lind, he is a guy who's going to have to be replaced.

I can see your point about trading Janssen and Rasmus, but I'm not sure I see Anthopoulos doing that unless it's as part of a larger shift into Fire Sale Mode. I wonder if they'd get qualifying offers...
   117. Greg K Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4670264)
- isn't Bautista a free agent after next year? And even if he's not, how long is he going to be productive?

14m in 2015, and 14m team option for 2016. I think that's the best of both worlds in that it's a reasonably cheap price for Bautista and I'm not sure he'd be worth committing to in 2017.

Lind has a 7.5m option for 2015 and an 8m option for 2016. If he's a useful player those are reasonable prices to bring him back at. Of course, as you point out, nowhere near a given that he's a useful player.

I think the problem is there aren't enough impending free agents. We're apparently at the spending limit of Rogers and there's not much money coming off the books this off-season. You could decline Lind's option, but that saves you 7m? And then, as you point out, you need to find a DH with that money.

I doubt Janssen is worth a qualifying offer, even if he has another one of his steady, productive seasons. He seems the likeliest trade bait as the bullpen should be strong enough to be good even without him.
Rasmus could be if he does what he did last year over a full season (again, not a given).

I do think the real problem is, as you pointed out, the age of the core. This was clearly a gamble for 2013-2014 and it hasn't worked. So now you pay the price of that gamble for 2015-2016.
   118. Matthew E Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4670273)
Then again, two teams have traded for Vernon Wells; we shouldn't assume that Buehrle and Reyes are immovable.

--

The thing that really worries me with not getting Santana is not who he's going to be replacing in April and May. It is, assuming the scenario that the Jays have a comparable number of pitching injuries this year to the last couple of years, who his replacements would have otherwise been replacing in August and September. I mean, if Santana was a Jay, it might take him until, oh, June to get hurt. So, okay, we replace him with Todd Redmond, who gets hurt in August, and gets replaced by Sean Nolin. But without Santana, Nolin may already be in the rotation in August, and they have to, I don't know, bring back Jo-Jo Reyes or something. Always assuming, of course, that this injury pattern continues in '14, which assumption has at least a 5% chance of not being true.
   119. FrankM Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4670275)
The Blue Jays publicly stated that their top priority in the off-season was to upgrade the rotation. They haven't, and have also come across to the fanbase and players as inept and cheap.

If they didn't want to give Ubaldo Jiminez 4 years, I'm all right with that. Didn't want to give Santana a multi-year deal, especially at the reputed asking price? I'm fine with that too. Now I don't know the dynamics of the negotiations, but once the Santana camp made it known they'd take a one year deal, the Blue Jays needed to make it happen asap. Instead, it looked for all the world that they were trying to nickel-and-dime the situation, signing him for one dollar more than the next best offer, while hoping that the one year factor didn't draw in a bunch of new suitors or that nobody would have an injury to the rotation (like the Braves) in the meantime. Ugh.
   120. Greg K Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4670282)
Then again, two teams have traded for Vernon Wells; we shouldn't assume that Buehrle and Reyes are immovable.

Yeah I suppose it's a reverse jinx...I suppose lightning can strike in the same place twice, but I wouldn't want to anger the baseball Gods by saying so!

Assuming
Dickey/Buehrle/Morrow are set

You've got
Hutchison/Happ/Rogers/Drabek/Redmond/Nolin/Jenkins/Hendricks/Romero (I'm sure I'm forgetting someone) to fill out the rest and serve as replacements. Stroman maybe as a long-shot?

Hutchison's really the only one I have any kind of confidence in. I think they'll be dipping into the "suspect pitcher" category before they even hit the first injury (spoiler alert, Morrow on April 21st).

EDIT: Maybe add Deck McGuire?
   121. Matthew E Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4670284)
They haven't, and have also come across to the fanbase and players as inept and cheap.
I don't think cheap is the right word. Not exactly. The team payroll is on the high side. The team does spend in areas like international signings and stadium improvement. They just don't seem to know when not to stop. I guess that goes under 'inept', though.
   122. Matthew E Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4670289)
I think Stroman's more than a longshot. I think he's up as soon as he's ready; there ought to be a couple of guys he could easily replace in the rotation, whenever that is. Oh: you forgot McGowan, speaking of longshots.
   123. Greg K Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4670331)
I think Stroman's more than a longshot. I think he's up as soon as he's ready; there ought to be a couple of guys he could easily replace in the rotation, whenever that is. Oh: you forgot McGowan, speaking of longshots.

That's true, looking at Stroman's 2013 again he probably has as good a shot as anyone on that list. It was interesting seeing him pitch for the first time last week. You can see how he gets all his strikeouts, though his fastball was all over the place.

Obviously, you don't get much out of seeing a guy pitch two innings in March. He could be a guy to get excited about.

McGowan back again would be all sorts of fun to see, though I would guess they seem him as purely a bullpen guy now.
   124. Matthew E Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:39 PM (#4670345)
Dustin McGowan is the only guy I'd rather see win the Cy Young award than Ricky Romero.
   125. Greg K Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4670452)
Heh, I just found out my mlb.tv subscription automatically renewed, despite me asking for it not to (though to be honest I may have forgotten to do that) and the fact that my old UK card it was previously on is now dead. Kind of impressive they managed to track back to when I last subscribed on a Canadian card, four years ago, and managed to track that one through three expirations and renewals with a new number. So much for not being able to afford it this year!

Oh well, at least now I can get a head start of my hunt to find my "B Team" for 2014. Last year it was the Indians, and they might be the front runners again.
   126. Paul d mobile Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4670476)
I think the Pirates are an easy choice for a second team.
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