Finally putting an end to a challenging offseason, Ervin Santana has agreed to sign a one year deal to join the Atlanta Braves. The deal’s been reported as being worth $14.1 Million, the same value of the qualifying offer he’d rejected from the Kansas City Royals following the 2013 season.
Coming off one of the best season’s of his career, Santana seemed likely to receive a multi year deal on the free agent market up until the Royals made their qualifying offer. With teams wanting to wait until the Masahiro Tanaka situation played out, a market flush with alternatives, and Santana’s reported salary demands (initially they were in the neighborhood of six years, $100+ Million), he remained on the sidelines for weeks at a time without much significant interest developing. Spring Training finally arrived and he remained without a job.
Interest has piqued in the past week, with news that Santana was now willing to accept a one year deal. The Baltimore Orioles extended an offer. As did the Toronto Blue Jays. As of this past weekend he was reportedly still weighing the two offers but it was unclear just how much longer he’d need before making a final decision.
With their pitching staff in disarray, opportunity suddenly knocked in Atlanta. The Braves have seen nagging injuries slow Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy. The team may have also lost Kris Medlen for the entire upcoming season.
Santana made 32 starts for the Royals this past season, posting a 3.24 ERA and 1.142 WHIP over 211.0 IP. It was one of the best seasons of his career, likely only coming in after his 2008 campaign with the Los Angeles Angels. He’s spent his entire nine year career in the American League.
The delayed start to his spring may push Santana’s first start with the Braves back to mid-April, but he likely steps to the top of the team’s starting rotation with Medlen expected to be lost for the season.