Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Blue Jays said to be favorites for either Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez

With a pair of potential openings in their starting rotation and having had a relatively quiet offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays have emerged as a favorite to wind up with either Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez before much longer. Ken Rosenthal at FOX Sports has more:

The Blue Jays, quiet for much of the offseason, still figure to acquire one and possibly two starting pitchers once the logjam caused by Masahiro Tanaka starts to resolve.

The Jays are a leading candidate to sign either Santana or Jimenez. They have two protected first-round picks, Nos. 9 and 11, and would sacrifice only a second-rounder and the accompanying pool money for one of those free agent right-handers.

Santana is coming off a solid, though unspectacular season with the Kansas City Royals and has yet to truly develop much of a market this winter. Having posted a 3.24 ERA and 1.142 WHIP over 211.0 IP this past season one might have expected Santana to be one of the first arms to come off the board, but he’s been one of the hardest hit options thanks to Tanaka’s availability. Teams have been waiting to see what happens with the Japanese import before turning their attention to the likes of Santana and others.

Rumblings early on this offseason suggested that Santana could end up with a deal in the neighborhood of five years and $100 Million, but he’s yet to be linked prominently to the Blue Jays. Santana’s hardly been the model of consistency throughout his career, but he’s one of the best arms remaining from a limited market.

Jimenez has also been linked to exorbitant contract demands, with recent reports suggesting that he was looking for something in the $17-20 Million a year range. Jimenez – who posted a 3.30 ERA and 1.330 WHIP over 182.2 IP in 2013 – is like Santana in that he’s hardly consistent, but he’d likely be the higher upside signing given the two pitchers’ career track records.

Toronto appears set with Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow, and R.A. Dickey atop their rotation. The organization does have options to compete for the final spot in the rotation, but both Santana and Jimenez would represent certain upgrades over many of them.

Tags: Ervin Santana Toronto Blue Jays Ubaldo Jimenez

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