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.
If Jays show no interest in Santana on a one year deal, there's only one conclusion to draw: AA can't get approval to spend.
— Mike Cormack (@MikeCormack) March 8, 2014
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.And then again reiterated the point about free agent prices in February:
From a free-agent standpoint ... we have been given a price and we just don't necessarily see the value right now."
"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 ...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?
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.'"
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