Ervin Santana's long, disappointing offseason could be over soon.
The 31-year-old right hander is likely to decide between the Blue Jays, who are offering a one-year, $14MM deal, or the Orioles, who are offering a $13MM deal that includes additional incentives, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com. Rojas also notes that two other clubs have expressed interest in Santana today, with the Mariners, Rangers and Phillies seeming like possible destinations after being linked to him in recent weeks.
The Blue Jays, who have been reluctant to be aggressive in their pursuit of Santana on a multi-year contract, recently increased their pursuit and are in serious talks with the pitcher, according to reports. A source notes that the sides are "still talking", and that no agreement has been reached.
The Blue Jays will forfeit their second-round draft pick -- since both of their first-round picks are protected -- if they are able to get a deal finalized.
Last season, Santana bounced back from a disheartening 2012 season after the Angels traded him to the Royals. He posted a 3.24 ERA in 211 innings in Kansas City, thanks to a more effectively mixed repertoire and a heavier reliance on his sinker. Santana used the pitch to induce a groundball rate of over 57 percent.
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The proposed one-year deal has to be considered something of a disappointment for Santana, who was originally seeking a nine figure contract at the beginning of the offseason. While that might have been a stretch from the beginning, Santana's market shrunk significantly due to his demands. However, his attachment to draft compensation appears to have been a major obstacle in his efforts to land a multiyear deal.
The Royals could have lost their compensatory draft choice if Santana had decided to sit out until after the June draft, but if his deal with the Blue Jays is secured, the team will receive a draft choice at the end of the first round and an added slot recommendation of around $1.8 million.
Santana's previously reported willingness to sit out until after the draft was a concern for the MLBPA, and although the right hander is now on the verge of procuring a deal, the length of the contract is still likely to be a topic of discussion in the MLBPA's evaluations of the offseason -- not to mention the fact that also-qualified free agents Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales are still unsigned.
Toronto's rotation will feature R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Kyle Drabek, and Brandon Morrow, with J.A. Happ entering the mix as well when he is deemed ready to return from back inflammation.