In case anyone here was still holding onto illusions of Dayton Moore shocking the world by striking quickly and signing Ervin Santana to a contract extension, it's time to put those dreams to rest.
Fox Sports MLB reporter, noted bow tie enthusiast and resident of The Shire Ken Rosenthal has been informed by sources that Santana is seeking a deal north of 5-years and $100 million.
The response to Santana's demand on Twitter was mostly confusion with a healthy mix of jokes:
Also seeking Atlantis, fountain of youth, unicorns. RT @Ken_Rosenthal: Sources: E. Santana seeking $100M, Nolasco $80M on five-year deals.— David Cameron (@DCameronFG) November 8, 2013
I'm not sure any of the general public actually thinks that Santana will receive a $100 million contract, even with the new TV money involved. Even if he did just throw 211 innings with a 3.24 ERA, his disastrous 2012 season should still be fresh. You'd have to be a really big believer in Santana being able to out-perform his FIP by .7 runs again, likely playing in front of a much worse defense, to even pretend to entertain that kind of offer.
I'm not convinced Santana and his agent actually think they will get $100 million either, but it doesn't hurt to ask for the moon. It only takes one GM who thinks his team really needs Santana and is willing to acquire him at any cost for his price to completely balloon. Fortunately for us, the Royals GM doesn't have that kind of money to spend on such a big question mark.
It will be interesting to see how much Santana actually signs for and how quickly. I have a hard time imaging a world where Santana signs for more than Anibal Sanchez, even with salary inflation. Sanchez, who signed with the Detroit Tigers for five-years, $80 million last winter, entered free agency with a stronger track record over the past three years, pitched well for Detroit in the 2012 postseason, is younger than Santana and would not have cost a draft pick no matter who signed him.
I think Santana should be happy if his agent can get him a deal north of the deal Edwin Jackson signed last offseason (four-years, $52 million). Santana has had better seasons, but Jackson did enter free agency without a complete clunker on his track record (that proved to be this season for the Chicago Cubs starter).
The only real hope for the Royals to re-sign Santana is to wait and hope the market for the starter collapses Kyle Lohse style. Lohse waited a long time during the offseason before he signed a three-year, $33 with the Milwaukee Brewers. It appeared that other teams were not willing to forfeit a first-round draft pick and drop a lot of money on the veteran pitcher.
For what it's worth (basically nothing), Santana signed with the Shadow Minnesota Twins for four-years, $40 million in the RoyalsRetro-led SB Nation offseason simulation. Matt Garza, who will not require a team to forfeit a draft pick, signed with the Shadow Brewers for four-years, $75 million.
You could talk me into Santana at four years, $40-million, although I would still argue that it's not the best use of the Royals limited resources. It's a far cry from what Santana and his agent want, but it's likely closer to the contract he will receive.
Santana seems to have priced himself out of the Royals free agent options, at least for the time being. Things can always change, but it's pretty clear (if it wasn't already) that Moore needs to look elsewhere for starting pitching help.