Given how barren the free agent landscape is this winter, with very few marquee names, it’s no secret that middle-of-the-road types and lower tier free agents are going to get paid much more than they deserved. Ervin Santana, most recently of Kansas City Royals fame, is set to take his market value to the next level.
According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Santana is seeking a deal in the neighborhood of $100 million. He’s looking for that total to span over five years, a simply absurd contract for somebody with his track record. Even coming off of a career year, those demands seem outlandish.
There is a noticeable shortage of starting pitching out on the market. There are very few starters available that could be added to a team’s front end, to the point where Santana is seeking a nine figure deal, while the likes of Ricky Nolasco is looking for a deal in the $80 million range, over the course of the same amount of years. Imagine what someone like Matt Garza could be commanding.
As far as free agent starters go, it’s going to be difficult to do better than Santana, perhaps justifying his crazy demands to a certain degree. He’s been a figure of consistency over the last few seasons, with the exception of a bad 2012. Even with that down year, he’s still averaged a 3.87 ERA and 32 starts over the last three seasons.
Santana is coming off of a season in which he very nearly helped the Royals snap their playoff drought. He was their best starter for most of the season, posting a 3.24 ERA and a 3.69 xFIP, both career marks, while punching out 161 hitters and walking only 51. It’s not elite stuff that he has, but he’s a good option as a no. 3. Signing him to be a lock as a no. 2 might be a stretch.
It’ll be interesting to see what Santana actually sees on the market. There’s no doubt that those demands are astronomical, and quite frankly absurd, but in this market, it’s possible that he might actually be able to make a team pay that much, and probably make a regrettable decision in the process.