Braves are expected to make a qualifying offer to Ervin Santana, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The offer comes after Santana's first season with Atlanta, which O'Brien notes is likely to be his only season with the Braves
The qualifying offer would pay Santana $15.3 million in 2015, but Santana will likely get a much larger offer on the free agent market. Assuming Santana declines the offer and signs elsewhere, the Braves will land a compensatory draft pick in the 2015 draft.
The Braves signed Santana in March, just after Kris Medlen re-injured is elbow in spring training. The Santana signing worked out well for Atlanta, as Medlen, Brandon Beachy, and Gavin Floyd ended up suffering season-ending injuries. Santana would make 31 starts for the Braves, posting a 3.96 ERA and a 3.39 FIP. Santana entered last offseason seeking a deal in the four-year, $50 million range. He settled for a one-year deal with Atlanta, but will likely have his sights set on a four-year deal again this offseason.
The Braves will be in the market for pitching help once again, as Aaron Harang is also set to hit free agency. With the questionable health of Beachy, and the likelihood of a non-tender for Medlen, the Braves will only return three proven starters. As O'Brien notes, it is unlikely that the Braves will be big spenders in free agency, so they may turn their attention to potential candidates in the trade market.