Rosenthal reports that Santana has abruptly changed his free-agency strategy following a split with agent Bean Stringfellow of Performance Sports and is now interested in signing a one-year “pillow contract” as soon as possible.
The 31-year-old was previously expected to wait until the 2014 MLB draft before signing with a new team in order to avoid being tied to draft-pick compensation.
With a starting rotation that significantly underperformed last season, Toronto was widely expected to be active in free agency this offseason when it came to signing starting pitchers. But that hasn’t been the case so far as the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza and Bronson Arroyo have all signed elsewhere.
While Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos previously said that he was interested in acquiring pitchers via free agency, he recently changed his tune, saying he was uncomfortable with the asking prices for starting pitchers and the team would use internal options to fill out the holes in its starting rotation.
If Santana is indeed interested in accepting a one-year deal, this could lead to renewed interest from Toronto.
The right-hander was outstanding last season with the Kansas City Royals, making 32 starts and posting a 3.24 ERA in 211 innings pitched.
Rosenthal has also suggested that Toronto could be a potential landing spot since Santana, who won just nine games last year, is looking to join a strong offensive team.
Getting Santana on a one-year deal could provide several benefits for the Blue Jays.
Not only would this move allow the team to make a short-term improvement to its starting rotation, which finished 14th in the AL in ERA last season, it would also give top prospects like Marcus Stroman more time to develop in the minors rather than being rushed to the major leagues.
It’s also worth noting that Toronto has both of its first-round draft picks protected in the upcoming draft and would only lose its second-round pick if it decided to sign a free agent tied to draft-pick compensation.
If Anthopoulos is indeed interested in signing Santana to a one-year deal, he’s going to have to move fast considering that plenty of other teams will now be in the mix for the free agent at those terms.
All player stats are from baseball-reference.com
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