There’s No Excuse Not to Sign Ervin Santana

The Toronto Blue Jays now have virtually no excuse to not sign Ervin Santana … none.

If the latest report is true and Santana is merely seeking a one-year deal, it’s a no-brainer for the Blue Jays – they should sign him immediately. It might seem odd to make such a sweeping proclamation, but very rarely does a move like this seem so completely obvious.

The latest from Santana’s camp is that Ervin wants to sign a deal immediately, which means he’s willing to take a one-year consolation deal at this point. It sounds like he’d rather sign somewhere now rather than wait it out and hope for a multi-year deal.


With this new information in mind, it makes the excuses for the Blue Jays to sign Ervin Santana all but disappear, or at the very least seem trivial.

If Alex Anthopoulos was concerned about delving out multi-year guaranteed contracts, that’s all but thrown out the window. And if Santana is willing to take a one-year deal, he’s likely to sign in the $10-$15 million dollar range.

The Blue Jays are really in a unique position here because they hold most of the power now. If Santana wants to play this year, he’ll have to come down on his asking price (which he’s already done, by all indications).

So if AA can get Ervin Santana on a short-term contract, I can’t really think of a good reason why the Blue Jays shouldn’t go for it.

Is it about depth? Can the Blue Jays confidently say that J.A. Happ, Drew Hutchison or even Marcus Stroman could perform better than Ervin Santana? Happ’s suffering from an injury already, and it’s still too early to say whether Hutchison or Stroman will contribute at the big-league level.

Is it about injury concerns? If Santana’s elbow problems do come into play, what does it matter if it’s only a one-year deal anyway? The Blue Jays could eat the contract and simply proceed down starting pitcher depth chart as originally planned.

Is it about money? As Mike Cormack noted, if Alex Anthopoulos fails to sign Santana, the reason could be because the front office hasn’t given him the go-ahead to spend the additional cash. An additional $14 million is not going to make or break the Blue Jays.

And because of the draft pick compensation tied to Santana, he could practically fall into the lap of the Blue Jays. Earlier this offseason, Alex Anthopoulos said the Blue Jays were interested in free agents, but only at a certain price point. Here’s what he said in January:

“We’ve had a lot of dialogue. There’s still a lot of players out there, just haven’t been able to line up with respect to a price, whether it’s trade or free-agent cost.

From a free-agent standpoint … we have been given a price and we just don’t necessarily see the value right now.”

And then again reiterated the point about free agent prices in February:


“We wanted to add to the rotation, to add depth. But again, where some of the price points were, whether it was years or dollars or some of the acquisition costs in trades …

I wouldn’t have felt good standing in a scrum and saying ‘We didn’t believe in the acquisition cost, we just did it but we don’t feel good about it.'”

If AA was truly waiting for the market to come to him, how much lower can it get than a one-year deal for Ervin Santana with dollars close to or below a qualifying offer? 

Or is it because they don’t want to give up the draft pick? Ideally, the Blue Jays would like to hold onto that second rounder, but when ever will they get another opportunity to sign a free agent without surrendering a first round pick?

Another benefit of signing Ervin Santana right now is it could net the Blue Jays a first round draft pick down the road if they extend him a qualifying offer at season’s end and Santana turns it down.

So in essence, the Blue Jays would be giving up a second round draft pick this year, but it could net them a first rounder next year.

As far as I’m concerned, if AA is willing to start the service time clock on Marcus Stroman and have him crack the Opening Day roster, then all bets are off. Who cares about a second round draft pick that may come to fruition 3-4 years down the road when you’re trying to win now?

Anthopoulos himself said he wants to take the best team north. So if the opportunity presents itself to improve the starting rotation via free agency, shouldn’t Alex take it?


I mean, these are all excuses not to sign Ervin Santana to a one-year deal, but none of them are good excuses.

I’d be interested to see what explanation Alex Anthopoulos would offer (if any) as to why the Blue Jays won’t go for Santana on a short-term deal. I’m guessing he’d respond by saying they’re confident they have enough starting pitcher depth already.

Not that signing Ervin Santana would immediately push the Blue Jays over the top and make them a playoff contender, but you’d have to think Santana would at least improve what the Blue Jays currently have.

Image courtesy of Bleacher Report

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

10 thoughts on “There’s No Excuse Not to Sign Ervin Santana

  • March 8, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Because this idea makes so much sense, I don't see the Jays doing anything. There is going to be the typical AA bulls**t reasoning and excuses, "couldn't work a deal", 'didn't fit with our plan" blah, blah, blah…it's not going to happen. Blue Jays please prove me wrong…I want to be wrong…

    • March 9, 2014 at 3:33 am

      If it ends of the Jays are out on Santana, watch his reasoning be "they're confident in their starting pitching depth".

  • March 8, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    What about the "he's not very good" excuse?

    • March 9, 2014 at 3:34 am

      I'd still take him over Happ/Redmond/Rogers, though (even at $14 million).

  • March 9, 2014 at 3:58 am

    what do you mean by "draft pick compensation tied to Santana"? isn't he a free agent, I thought there isn't draft pick compensation to other teams by signing him

    • March 9, 2014 at 4:01 am

      Because he was extended a qualifying offer by the Royals and he declined, Kansas City is still entitled to a draft pick. They'll get that pick from whichever team signs Santana.

  • March 9, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    He gives the impression that he doesn't give a hoot about the team, but just wants the most money he can get for one year. I'd be concerned about poisoning the team with a selfish rental. Trade for him later this summer for a lesser cost if we're in the running for the post season.

  • March 9, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    To me, it's simple. If Santana wanted to be in Toronto, he would have already signed. Basically, Toronto is the last resort to him. AKA – "I'll go to Toronto if I can't find anything better." And seeing how the O's have been aggressive this off-season (or at least, more aggressive than the Jays, ostensibly), I can see them adding a few extra dollars and/or incentives to play for them. Whereas the Jays will be the Jays and stand pat because they "don't see the value" for more than $14MM. My gut tells me he'll end up somewhere that's not Toronto. I really want to be wrong, but this organization has beaten me up enough to expect it.

    • March 11, 2014 at 1:44 am

      Same here – I'm hoping he'll land with Toronto but with all that's happened this offseason, I'm not holding my breath.

  • March 12, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Signed with Atlanta. Thank God we have a front office and GM who are content with a last place team. PHEW… *Rogers breathes a sigh of relief"

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