According to a report that surfaced late Sunday night, the New York Yankees are one of eight teams with interest in free agent right-handed pitcher Ervin Santana. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had previously stated that the team’s heavy-lifting was more than likely completed for the offseason, interest is heating up on the former Royal and Angel pitcher. This comes on the heels of Masahiro Tanaka signing with the Yankees this past Wednesday, and the Milwaukee Brewers finalizing a deal with Matt Garza over the weekend.
Besides the Yankees, the Rockies, Orioles, Mariners, Dodgers, Cubs, Marlins and Blue Jays have shown the most interest in Santana. It was previously reported that the Yankees had requested the medical records on Santana earlier in January, and could view the free agent as the final piece of an upgraded starting rotation. The other top-tier free agent arm still on the market is Ubaldo Jimenez. Santana and his representatives were hoping to land a deal in the neighborhood of 4-years and $60 million dollars, but those expectations have to be tempered with Garza signing for 4-years and $52 million. Santana declined the Royals qualifying offer, meaning whatever team signs him, will have to give up a draft selection, thus reducing his value on the open market. Garza had no draft pick attached to his signing.
If the Yankees were to sign Santana, it would show the team’s lack of confidence in the triumvirate of candidates for the fifth and final rotation spot that includes Michael Pineda, David Phelps, and Vidal Nuno. A projected rotation of C.C. Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Masahiro Tanaka, Ivan Nova and Santana, would bring the Yankees that much closer to competing in the American League East with the likes of the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.
The just turned 31-year old Santana, bounced back with a nice season for Kansas City in 2013, posting a 9-10 record, with a 3.24 ERA in 211 innings pitched. Santana had previously pitched for the Angels and was basically a salary dump to the Royals after a disastrous 2012 campaign with a 9-13 record and a third season with an ERA of over 5. Santana has been an innings-eater throughout his career, going over the 200 inning mark five times in his nine-year career in the bigs. With injuries and ineffectiveness as a possibility of plaguing the Yankees rotation in 2014, Santana would add much-needed depth to complete the Yankees offseason roster makeover.
Billy serves as the co-editor of Yanks Go Yard. You can follow him on Twitter @Billy_Brost.