The Atlanta Braves have signed right-hander Ervin Santana to a one-year contract, as first reported by David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The deal will pay Santana $14.1 million (the exact amount of the Royals' qualifying offer he turned down earlier in the offseason), according to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.
After pitching to a 9-10 record and 3.24 ERA in 32 starts with the Royals last season, Santana entered free agency in hopes of landing a multi-year, high-value contract on the open market. After turning down the Royals' $14.1 million qualifying offer in November, Santana waited through the month-long Masahiro Tanaka saga and was expected to sign at the end of January. At that point, nothing materialized due to teams' hesitation to part with a draft pick in order to sign Santana, and the right-hander remained a free agent until today.
Santana was said to be drawing strong interest from the Blue Jays and Orioles over the weekend, and was also linked to the Twins, Rockies, Rangers and Phillies in recent weeks after telling teams that he was interested in a high-value, one-year deal instead of a multi-year contract. Toronto seemed like the favorite after offering a one-year, $14 million deal on Saturday, but an injury to starter Kris Medlen created an immediate need in the Braves' rotation. The sides negotiated over the past couple of days, coming to agreement today and announcing the deal shortly after.
Santana joins a rotation that already includes Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Brandon Beachy and Alex Wood in Atlanta, and will likely be one of the team's top-line starters this season. He will hit the free agent market again next offseason in hopes of receiving the multi-year deal he was originally looking for this winter.
In nine major league seasons with the Angels (2005-2012) and Royals (2013), Santana is the owner of a lifetime 105-90 record and 4.19 ERA in 268 appearances (265 starts).