5 Keys to Ervin Santana Returning to Top Starter Status in the AL Central

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5 Keys to Ervin Santana Returning to Top Starter Status in the AL Central
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Starting pitching was a glaring problem for the Kansas City Royals in 2012, as their starters combined to go 47-69 with a 5.01 ERA.

Upgrading the team's starting rotation was definitely an offseason priority for Royals GM Dayton Moore. He needed to find at least one viable starter this winter.

On Wednesday, Moore pulled off a trade for the worst starting pitcher in baseball in 2012. Go figure.

As first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, the Royals have acquired 29-year-old right-hander Ervin Santana from the Los Angeles Angels. The Royals sent minor league pitcher Brandon Sisk to Anaheim and are also getting some cash that they can put toward Santana's $13 million salary in 2013.

Several years ago, Santana was one of the most promising young pitchers in the league. He enjoyed a breakout season in 2008, winning 16 games with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.

In 2012, however, Santana went 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. He gave up an MLB-high 39 homers, and FanGraphs calculated his WAR at -0.9, by far the worst among qualified starting pitchers.

If Santana does all this all over again, the Royals are going to be out a minor leaguer and a few million bucks with nothing to show for it. Santana has to be better.

Here's a look at how he can turn things around.

 

Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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