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Ervin Santana would rather sit out until June than take a Nelson Cruz-like contract

Feb 22, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

ervin santana getty Getty Images

As D.J. Short wrote earlier, free agent starter Ervin Santana is drawing interest from several teams including the Orioles and Rangers. But as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports, the right-hander says he would rather sit out until June — draft pick compensation disappears after the draft — than take a deal similar to the one-year, $8 million contract outfielder Nelson Cruz signed with the Orioles earlier today. The $8 million Cruz will be paid is significantly lower than the $14.1 million qualifying offer he rejected from the Rangers in November.

The compensation system has drawn some criticism lately. Free agent shortstop Stephen Drew thinks the system needs tweaking. Tony Clark, head of the MLBPA, said that it “is a concern” adding that this situation would be a “topic of discussion”. It is unlikely any significant changes will be made until the collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2016 season.

  1. timmons94 - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    Yes cause 8 mill plus possibly another 750k is chump change…. Wow.. How would he feed his kids ???? Ervin. C ya in June…..

    • clydeserra - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:08 PM

      because $8M is not what the servces of Drew cruz and santana are worth.

      The PLayers association really blew this one. It will be the major sticking point in 2016, unless the Players association of the A-rod affair shows up and caves to their billionaire benevolent dictators.

      • chunkala - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:57 PM

        You’re absolutely right, they are all worth substantially less than $8m.
        However, you have a very strong union that is inflating salaries and inhibiting the owners from quasi-collusion that happens everyday in the free market.

      • rhandome - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:05 PM

        They are world-class, elite athletes who dedicate their lives to training for a sport that makes literally billions in profits every year. They are worth whatever the market can bear. Baseball players make more that the 8.50/hour you make because they are worth it. Deal with it.

      • jeffbbf - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:21 PM

        Well, in Cruz’ case, he’s a drug-using cheater, whose value is a total wild card because nobody can be sure what effect the drugs have had on previous results, or will have on future health.

      • straightouttavtown - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:32 PM

        Didn’t stop the Cards from breaking the bank for Peralta

      • donniev77 - Feb 23, 2014 at 3:39 PM

        These guys all over played their hands. How about you accept the 14.1mm and then test the market next year. It’s not like you weren’t given an excellent opportunity, you and your agents just didn’t understand the market

      • tuberippin - Feb 23, 2014 at 6:01 PM

        Neither player is worth more than $14mil. Both players could have had $14mil this season.

  2. 1981titan - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    Maybe the tweaking the system is a realistic vision of one’s value and not turning down 14 million.

    • straightouttavtown - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:31 PM

      A. He’s a pitcher and pitcher could blow out their arms anytime. Like Ubaldo, he would rather get a long-term deal with a lesser per year salary than go one year at a time after paying his dues (6 years of service time).

      B. No one should be forced to stay another year in Kansas City.

      Nuff said.

      • mikekc816 - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:09 AM

        Str8 so what is your issue with KC remind you the Royals were only team to trade for Santana and resurrected his career with a good year not great in a pitchers park. He turned down 1 yr tender of $14 million for one year which probably wouldn’t feed his children either. I do not know what city in which you reside but I bet it would be hard pressed to match KC when people move here they fall in love with the small city and usually stay here long after playing days are done. Santana wasn’t even the ace on staff last year but is commanding or was commanding $100 mil??? That’s crazy he said all last year how he loved the KC area and the chemistry he developed with the other young talent KC has assembled but $14 mil wasn’t enough. So when you listen to everyone without listening to to your heart or head ( I would have to think at some point he said to himself should I take the 14 mil or not) then you are playing Russian roulette with your financial folder as well as his ego. Seriously if he was roger Clemens ( or input Maddox, R Johnson , any other great ace of the staff)in the day do u think any of these other teams would balk at giving up a draft pick? The answer is 14 mil in Kc would last 4 lifetimes compared to jus about any other MLB city. Sometimes you get fed great advice sometimes it’s jus bologna.

      • mdyoung1971 - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:41 PM

        What a jackass you are straight. These pitchers are overpaid, and a lot of them are waaaay over-rated. Santana is in both categories. Since when is a 9-9 record worth $15M? He had an average year compared with the best pitchers in the league, never got any consideration for Cy Young, yet he wants to be paid like he’s a future hall of famer. It’s jackass agents like Santana’s that have inflated the salaries of players and in turn inflated the ticket prices at the stadiums. Next, you don’t even have a clue as to what you’re talking about. He’s not going to accept less per year in a multi-year, he has said that more than once since this whole drama began.

        As far as your really jackass comment about KC, have you ever been there? I would rather live there than any other metro in the country. KC also can say something that almost no other team can say, most of their players actually live in the KC area. The vast majority of MLB and NFL players rent apartments in their home city, but have their permanent homes somewhere else. In KC, both Royals and Chiefs, almost all of the players actually have bought their permanent homes in KC. Hall of Famer George Brett lives in the KC suburb of Overland Park, and that’s 20+ years after his playing career. The only reason why a pro athlete leaves KC is for bigger money, and a lot of them keep their permanent homes in KC even after the leave the team.

        No is forcing Santana to stay with the Royals, only the greed of his agent is keeping him from staying. He’s already been replaced, so he can go ahead and pack up his toys and leave.

  3. slaugin - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    I hope he knows this year would be pro rated if he waits til June

    • clydeserra - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:10 PM

      and he can get a multi year deal worth a guaranteed $40M.

      I was not a math major, but I think $40M >$8M

  4. zackd2 - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    Let me guess, a pitcher with an average FIP of 4.57 over the last 5 years wants a 5 year deal for 15m+ – and if he doesn’t get it then lets all blame the draft pick.

    • clydeserra - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:13 PM

      xFIP is much better, and much of the bad santana FIP came from 2012 where his HR/FB % jumped to 19% up from 11/12%

      • zackd2 - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:23 PM

        xFIP takes away HRs that a pitcher allowed, I’m not a fan of ‘taking away HR allowed’ from a fly-ball pitcher. He allowed 39 HRs in 2012.

      • clydeserra - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:01 PM

        I was a little unclear, not that xFIP is better, but His xFIP was better. (they are better in tandem if you ask me) Yeah it normalizes all flyballs. Like I said though, that was an outlier year for him as far as home runs go, and that is what ballooned his FIP over the last 5 years.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:56 AM

        xFIP takes away HRs that a pitcher allowed, I’m not a fan of ‘taking away HR allowed’ from a fly-ball pitcher. He allowed 39 HRs in 2012.

        It doesn’t take them away, it normalizes them to the league average (which tends to be around 10% of HR to FB). However, here’s Santana’s last five years of HR/FB:

        09 – 12.8%
        10 – 9.2%
        11 – 10.1%
        12 – 18.9%
        13 – 12.4%

        Over his career (1686 IP) he’s allowed 11% HR/FB rate. I wouldn’t use a stat that normalizes something he’s shown no ability to normalize. And note, he’s put up those rates at two ballparks that suppress HR, so if he were signed by a team like the Yanks, Blue Jays or Orioles for instance, those rates would probably increase.

  5. uyf1950 - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    It really will be interesting to see the type of contract Santana gets. Putting aside the loss of the draft pick that’s attached to him for a moment Santana really should get about the same deal as both Garza and Jimenez 4 years / $50MM guaranteed. Just for the record Garza did not get a QO will Jimenez did.and turned it down.

    I guess it’s easy to understand Santana’s frustration with his situation but part of hesitancy of teams my be the fault of Santana himself with his initial demand for $100MM deal. That probably forced some teams to look elsewhere from the very start.

    • zackd2 - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:25 PM

      Correct, if teams checked on his demands on 100m sooner or later GMs will look elsewhere to spend their money. No team has 100m to hand out come spring training, typically their money is already allocated and they’re looking to extend their own young talent.

    • cackalackyank - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:23 PM

      As with so many things somewhere between the two extremes lies the true correct value of Santana. I think the 4/50 is about right. I guess the question is was the 100m his idea or his agents. None of the MLB experienced FA starters this off season were worth a 100m type deal. Ironically he seems likely to wind making about as much as Phil Hughes….

      • uyf1950 - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:31 PM

        I don’t think so. My guess is if he decides to sign and not hold out till June when the amateur draft takes place he will get a little over Arroyo’s deal of 2 years $23.5MM. I’ll say 2 years $25MM with some additional incentives.

    • straightouttavtown - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:29 PM

      It’s a negotiation tactic from his agent not unlike Manny and A-Rod’s boast in 2000. Agents do this every offseason. No one in their right mind would give him 100 million and he knows it. Ervin is a good guy who follows a lot of his fans on Twitter. He doesn’t deserve to get railroaded by the system like this. Maybe he just wants to get out of Kansas City. No one should be forced to play for a team after they paid their dues.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 22, 2014 at 11:22 PM

        Well if you buy into your theory that the $100MM figure was just a negotiating ploy. It would appear to have backfired.

      • wallyruss58 - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:52 PM

        No one is forcing Santana to stay anywhere. Santana was told by his agent that he is worth a 100 million dollar contract and the agent was wrong. Hell everyone in KC knew the agent was wrong and the Royals offered the qualifying offer hoping another team would sign him and in fact praying for it. It’s just business!

  6. crcoord - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:50 PM

    who does this idiot think he is, cy young?

  7. missingdiz - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    Sigh, young.

  8. straightouttavtown - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    For all of you people who are knocking Ervin for turning down the qualifying offer (14 mil), have you ever been to Kansas City? The whole fight to end the reserve clause is to give players with 6 years of service time the right to choose where to pry their trade like all of us could. If I were Ervin, I would be counting down the days till I could get out of KC too. Sometimes it isn’t just about the money. Plus, as a pitcher, a one year contract is extremely risky due to how easy it is to suffer a serious injury and undergo Tommy John surgery. That’s why Ubaldo Jimenenz rather take 50 million for 4 years (12.5 a year) rather than the higher per year value of the qualifying offer). Essentially, the whole draft compensation system is unfair since it is deliberately targeting high-performing players while rewarding mediocrities (see Edwin Jackson last year). I’m not saying Ubaldo and Ervin are worth 14 million a year or not, but the bottom line is they paid their dues and should have the right to choose where they work instead of being coerced into accepting the qualifying offer from their original team or like Ubaldo’s case, earn a long term commitment with a lower per year salary.

    • wallyruss58 - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:54 PM

      Sorry but I live in Kansas City and your comments have nothing but hateful resentment for a city that you have never been too. Santana already stated that he liked the city and wanted to stay. No one is forcing Santana to stay anywhere. Santana was told by his agent that he is worth a 100 million dollar contract and the agent was wrong. Hell everyone in KC knew the agent was wrong and the Royals offered the qualifying offer hoping another team would sign him and in fact praying for it. It’s just business!

      • straightouttavtown - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:03 PM

        I harbor no ill-will toward KC and I’ve heard very good things about the people who live there. I was simply making the point for argument sake. Ultimately, it should be about promoting freedom of movement of where they pry their trade and offering their service of the highest bidder (or the bidder of their choice) after their service time is up rather than accepting the qualifying offer, which is basically like another arbitration case. It’s a joke that lesser players like Edwin Jackson last year was able to cash in on multiyear offers while doing your job well is penalized. It makes no sense and create no incentive to be good at your job.

  9. hardballtalkusername - Feb 22, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    This is actually a pretty smart strategy by Santana at this point. If you wait until the middle of the season, any contending team that needs a quality starting pitcher would likely give him a long look. The benefit would be getting a pitcher without losing any prospects, and at that point they could possibly land him for 3 years/$35 million or so which isn’t too risky.

    I also agree that he put a ridiculously high $100 million price-tag on himself, and teams should look at his year-by-year breakdown to notice a disturbing trend of having a poor season every other year.

    • wallyruss58 - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:56 PM

      It is a stupid strategy. Word is the Royals offered him 4 years for 46 million. Santana was told by his agent that he is worth a 100 million dollar contract and the agent was wrong. Hell everyone in KC knew the agent was wrong and the Royals offered the qualifying offer hoping another team would sign him and in fact praying for it to get the pick. It’s just business!

      • hardballtalkusername - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:52 AM

        Which is why I said “at this time.” I also included how terrible his $100 million asking price was. Clearly they screwed up at the forefront of free agency, but I am merely suggesting that he could be better off by waiting AT THIS POINT in free agency.

    • wallyruss58 - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:57 PM

      No it isn’t!

    • wallyruss58 - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:57 PM

      No it isn’t!

  10. jpalughi823 - Feb 22, 2014 at 11:29 PM

    lol @ that comment from a guy who gives up the long ball constantly

  11. dirtyharry1971 - Feb 23, 2014 at 6:16 AM

    still holding out hope the jays come from out of nowhere and sign this man to a contract that he is asking for, come on AA gotta make at least one big move right?

  12. yordo - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    Posturing. Only Clemens can pull that off.

  13. musketmaniac - Feb 23, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    it was a player’s market this off season. yet that didn’t stop the media blasting the pirates for not throwing money away. let him wait to june, the team who signs him might actually get a pitcher that’s healthy and has arm strength in September.

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