MLB Storylines: Is Ervin Santana the next to sign?
In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @ajnicholsIBI.
Here are the stories from Sunday, February 9th.
- According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Ervin Santana may finally be heading toward a contract agreement. The Blue Jays and Orioles have both been linked to Santana, and Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reported that the Orioles plan to strongly pursue either Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez this week.
News and Notes
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote that there is mutual interest between the Pirates and Kendrys Morales, but Pittsburgh may still prefer to find their first baseman through a trade. However, a small market team like the Pirates may find the draft pick compensation tied to Morales too high of a price.
- Cafardo also said that the Mets are the favorite to land shortstop Stephen Drew, but Red Sox players still text Drew, hoping that he will return to Boston. Red Sox general manager told Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette on their MLB Network Radio show that he has kept in touch with Drew throughout the offseason, but does not foresee anything happening between his club and the shortstop before Spring Training begins.
- Contrary to Cafardo's report on Drew, Newsday's Marc Craig wrote that the Mets and Drew have not talked much recently.
- More from Cafardo: There appears to be plenty of interest in South Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon, and one National League source said he could go to anybody.
- According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Paul Maholm knows that if Josh Beckett is healthy and named the fifth starter this spring, he will be pitching out of the Dodger bullpen.
- Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported that lefty Nate Robertson has spoken to several teams about a chance to earn a bullpen spot this spring. Robertson has not pitched in the Majors since 2010, but spent last season with the Rangers Triple-A affiliate, posting a 3.04 ERA in 50.1 innings.
- Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times said that former Indian Johnny Damon is open to returning to the MLB as either a player or a coach.
1. I still don't believe he stays here long-term (may be wrong on this, but I don't think the arbitration case, specifically the distance between the two amounts, is a good sign).
2. I have doubts and don't believe that signing him to a long-term and large-amount contract is in the Indians' best interest (i.e. I don't think they should sign him long-term, especially if he'll cost more in dollars, years, or both over Jimenez to sign long-term).
I just think this could backfire to where they bring back neither long-term (and that has already been discussed how that could hurt the Indians in the future in another thread), or it has the capability of really strapping down the Indians financially long-term and could burn them, since I'm not confident in Masterson's ability to put together strong years consistently, as he hasn't done it yet. Plus, I just don't think he's an elite pitcher that's worth a really long-term, large contract (4+ years at the rate Jimenez might get or more).
If that's the reason the Indians haven't made a move to bolster the rotation yet (I.e. resign Jimenez), I'll be a bit disappointed and concerned that it could really come back to sting them long-term. I hope it doesn't, but Masterson's overall track record doesn't instill me with a great deal of confidence, less so than Jimenez does, in fact.
According to Rosenthal, the Indians haven't been in contact with Jimenez for sometime. Rumors indicate the Tribe has come back to Ervin Santana as an option. I mentioned this a few days ago, but I'll recap my thoughts.
If for whatever reason the Indians sign Santana over Jimenez, the Indians would lose their first rd pk, but gain the comp pk with the loss of Jimenez. For the Tribe that will equate to dropping about 10 slots in the draft, but they would still have a comp pk and a competitive lottery pk before the second rd. That's 2 top 50 pks with large chunks of pool money attached.
Personally, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Indians pull something off in the next few days. That might mean signing Santana or even Morales for under mkt value deals. I believe this was / is the Indians plans...fill all possible needs and then jump back into the mkt late to shop for deals. Not a bad plan for a small mkt club looking to take advantage of the mkt on their terms.
For some reason fans stayed home last year. I was at the balt game after labor day when there was about 6k actually there!!! And we were in the race. An embarrassment. No excuse. Dolans spent money, team contended and no one showed. I'd be pissed if I was them.
2013 MLB Attendance: 1,572,000
2012 MLB Attendance: 1,603,000
2013 MLB Attendance: 2,357,000
2012 MLB Attendance: 2,102,000
2013 MLB Attendance: 2,536,000
2012 MLB Attendance: 2,100,000
To answer your question, yes. Toronto is a huge market. Baltimore isn't a big market, but it is a significantly bigger market than Cleveland, and gets about 600K more attendees per year. If 600K more fans showed up last year, I am sure the Dolans would fit Ubaldo in the budget.
Before this ownership has to go I guess Haslem and Gilbert are head of them. At least the Indians are not the laughing stocks of MLB.
Didn't we sign Swisher and Bourn last year?
Reports are saying that both the Phillies and the O's could be out on him, despite them being listed as the two favorites just last week. Both made sense as he reportedly wants to play near his Maryland home.
If you take those two teams out...you have the Nationals nearby, though they seem pretty set in the rotation. Though then again they seemed pretty well set at the backend of the bullpen last year and signed Soriano late.
If the Nats pass though....closest teams would be the NYs and Pittsburgh. Can't see a Yankee reunion personally. Mets....does that really make sense for either party? Pirates make sense but they've added Volquez and still have Wandy around. I'm sure they can find a spot for a guy like Burnett in the rotation but financially does it still make sense?
And if all 3 of them are out....the next closest city/team to his offseason home?....That would be the Cleveland Indians (less than a 6 hour car ride to his home).
Sure it's probably a pipe-dream but Burnett was better than Jimenez or Santana last year and should be cheaper (at least in years)....plus doesn't cost a pick in any form. I'm sure he'll cost more than $10M, probably closer to $14-15M, which would put the Tribe payroll around $95M. Maybe that's impossible...but man would he look get at the top of the rotation with Masterson...
Or with pitchers or catchers reporting tomorrow , would the Indians want to sign an additional pitcher would that happen within the next 24-48 hrs?
Interesting to note from last year
Tribe's offensive ranks vs LHP:
Runs scored: T-1st in all of baseball
Team OPS: 1st in all of baseball
Team SLG: 3rd in all of baseball (3rd in AL)
Team AVG: 1st in all of baseball
Team OBP: 1st in all of baseball
Team XBH: 5th in all of baseball (5th in AL, 12 XBH behind leader)
Ranks vs RHP last year...
Runs scored: T-13th in all of baseball (8th in AL)
Team OPS: 14th in all of baseball (9th in AL)
Team SLG: 13th in all of baseball (9th in AL)
Team AVG: 21st in all of baseball (11th in AL)
Team OBP: 14th in all of baseball (7th in AL)
Team XBH: 16th in all of baseball (8th in AL...77 XBH behind leader)
I'm fine with getting a RH power bat as long as that bad crushes RHP. Tribe was great against lefties last year and not just the first month when Reynolds was on fire. As Jim said, we need power in general...not really RH power.
Last year, the #22 pick was slotted $1.9 million. The competitive balance picks from #28-#39 were worth from between $1.43 and $1.78 million. Obviously, when it gets down to the nitty gritty, $500,000 can be a big deal, but if they can steal Santana or Ubaldo for a savings (in their eyes) of more than $500,000, and it appears that's a likely scenario depending on what you value these starters at, then it's a no brainer...
The Indians have been waiting all offseason to address this with their eyes likely on whomever was left. We'll see. I doubt there are going to be over-aggressive team at this point, so I do think the Indians will be in play...depending on years.
You also have to wonder what they are seeing with regards to Carrasco/Tomlin/Bauer/Marcum...obviously not enough to NOT go after someone at this late stage...
The Indians could be sitting on 3 first round picks this year....obviously understand last year signing QO guys as the 1st rounder was protected but with the extra 2 picks this year I think you have to consider signing a QO guy if you feel the price is right.
1. Jimenez has a better track record (as inconsistent as Jimenez has been, Santana has been more so).
2. I think Jimenez has better stuff than Santana.
3. Jimenez and Santana probably sign for close to the same amount, but Jimenez won't cost a draft pick or the draft pool money.
Combine all three reasons, and I see the Indians only being in on Jimenez, not Santana. Yes, you could make the argument that the Indians would gain the draft pick from Jimenez to make up for the loss for signing Santana, but unless Santana signs for a great deal less in terms of cost, years, or both (and I don't see that happening), the better bet would be to resign Jimenez. All of the knocks you could make against Jimenez can also be applied to Santana, and arguably, to a greater degree. Plus, as mentioned, I think Jimenez is the better pitcher overall, plus the Indians are familiar with him.
Unless there's a surprise discrepancy between these two in signing contracts, I would have to think the Indians are in on Jimenez, not Santana.
I think out of Carrasco, Tomlin, Marcum, and Bauer we could find a starter that really surprises and steps up too. But we're likely to see one of the other four in the rotation (Masterson, Salazar, Kluber, McAllister) to struggle or get hurt.
Per Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 in Minneapolis
"@DarrenWolfson: No #MNTwins interest in FA Ervin Santana. Told Balt., Seattle, Dodgers, Cleveland, & the Yankees all have inquired in the last few days."
Questions remain about Salazar over a full season despite his upside and Macallister, Masterson, and Kluber all missed portions of the season.
My concern isn't which of Carrasco, Bauer, Tomlin, Marcum etc can be the fifth starter, it's who steps up when the inevitable happens and we lose a starter.
I keep some hope for AJ Burnett to sign with the Indians but understand it's not likely.
I would still be more comfortable with another starter of some kind brought into the fold. Burnett? Capuano? I suppose other tha Burnett, not many of the other options outside if Santana and Jimenez bring a whole lot.
I'm just not comfortable with Carrasco, Bauer, Marcum, Tomlin, or even House as 5th starter/depth options.
Really looks to me like the Mariners, Blue Jays and Orioles are in line to get Jimenez and Santana. I would be surprised if both did not end up at one of those three spots.