Following an offseason in which they were relatively quiet, the Baltimore Orioles have made a pair of signings in the past week to complement and upgrade their pitching staff. The team might not be done, however, as they could still have some potential interest in free agent right-hander Ervin Santana, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Baltimore has “maintained a dialogue” with Santana’s representatives, though there are no indications that the two sides could be close to a deal.
Many of the team’s beat writers have since reported that there’s little to the idea and that the addition of Santana remains unlikely.
Santana is coming off a strong 2013 season in which he posted a career best 3.24 ERA and 1.142 WHIP over 211.0 IP. He’s languished on the free agent market, however, remaining without a team and without any clear cut favorites as teams continue to begin their full squad workouts across Spring Training facilities in both Florida and Arizona. Kansas City made him a qualifying offer following the 2013 season, meaning that any team that signs him will need to forfeit a draft pick, and this has seemingly severely hindered his potential market.
Baltimore could potentially benefit here. Having already parted with their 1st Round pick to sign Ubaldo Jimenez, the team would only need to part with a 2nd Rounder in order to bring Santana into the mix as well (which would be roughly the #55 overall selection in the draft). Parting with the team’s top two picks is never an easy decision, but the price could be one that the Orioles are willing to make if Heyman’s speculation is to be believed. He notes that with Matt Wieters and Chris Davis slated to become free agents following the 2015 season, Baltimore’s best window to win could be right now.
Jimenez projects to lead a rotation that will include Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris, and Miguel Gonzalez. Suk-Min Yoon, who was also signed in the past week, could be another option depending on what role the team ultimately chooses to use him in. Should they bring in Santana as well, Norris would appear to be the most likely candidate to be displaced from the rotation. He could potentially take over the team’s closer role, a role many have suggested he’d be a fit for throughout much of his career.