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The Phillies might have checked in with Ervin Santana

Mar 7, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

ervin santana getty Getty Images

The Phillies are reeling after Cole Hamels suffered a setback, pushing his 2014 debut into May most likely. They’re thin on starting pitching depth even after adding A.J. Burnett last month. As a result, they have checked in with Ervin Santana according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

Or maybe not. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported shortly after Cafardo’s tweet that a team source told him that the Phillies have not checked in on Santana. [.gif of Larry David hemming and hawing]

It would be surprising if the Phillies wound up with Santana because it isn’t as if they’ve lost Hamels for an entire year. Additionally, they have set a franchise-high payroll following the Burnett signing. Not counting pre-arbitration players, they sat at close to $172 million, per Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly back in February. Once you include those pre-arb players, they’re close to $180 million. Adding in their 1/30 share for player-benefit costs (between $10-11 million), they’re right up against the $189 million luxury tax threshold. Adding Santana would undoubtedly push them over. The Phillies would then have to pay a 17.5 percent penalty on the amount they exceed the threshold, and it would put them in line for a harsher penalty next season if they were to exceed it again. There’s an incentive to stay under if you don’t have unlimited amounts of money like the Yankees and Dodgers.

Amaro recently said in an interview with MLB Network Radio that he needed ownership approval to sign Burnett and would undoubtedly need it once more to sign Santana, which might be one wrench in his plans if Cafardo’s tweet is true. As it stands, the Phillies can hope Jonathan Pettibone is healthy by mid-April, that Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez can handle Major League competition, or choose from a handful of non-roster invitees including David Buchanan, Jeff Manship, Sean O’Sullivan, and Mario Hollands.

Santana, by the way, recently fired his agent. Seems he isn’t happy about being unemployed going into March.

  1. chc4 - Mar 7, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    That would be so Ruben Amaro, Jr. I sense a 7 yr. $100m contract in the offing!!!

  2. leylandshospicenurse - Mar 7, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    I have seen O’Sullivan pitch twice this spring. I think he is more major league ready than the other options. That heavy sinker is a pretty nasty pitch. he won’t overpower hitters, but I think he can induce ground balls even in the majors.

  3. proudlycanadian - Mar 7, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    It is more likely that Santana’s agent (the one he just fired) checked in with the Phillies. Similarly, AA has put cold water on reports the Jays have been keeping in touch with Santana. Without specifically naming names (he never does) he implied that Santana’s agent has been keeping in touch with the Jays rather than the other way around. Recently, Jay’s broadcaster, Greg Zaun has publically said that medical staffs thing that Santana will need Tommy John surgery in about a year. I have seen a similar comment this week on Rotoworld.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Mar 7, 2014 at 11:19 PM

      If the Jays were willing to spend a buck they would sign this guy, but he isn’t cheap enough. I got my fingers crossed he belongs with the jays

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 8, 2014 at 7:18 AM

        Alas Harry, you will be disappointed once again.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Mar 8, 2014 at 8:41 AM

      “It is more likely that Santana‚Äôs agent (the one he just fired) checked in with the Phillies.”

      That is what CSN Philly is reporting – and they are very accurate. They also are saying Phillies sources are saying the Santana’s camp leaked this news

      Which is not say a deal would not happen with the Phillies – but my guess only if he will go down in value a bit more first

  4. rockthered1286 - Mar 7, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    Not that spring training means a ton, but after watching Burnett pitch this afternoon? For the Phans sake lets just hope that was not a sign of things to come from AJ… Yikes…

  5. Joe - Mar 7, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    Pushing over the luxury tax for a guy who isn’t on his own enough to get you to the playoffs seems like a bad idea.

    • AlmostForty - Mar 7, 2014 at 6:34 PM

      I don’t think that this move, if it’s real, would be about trying to get to the playoffs as much as it would be about trying to get someone to come watch them play. The Phils are up against it when it comes to payroll but they also need people in the seats and they’re not doing much to inspire the fanbase right now. The idea of Lee, Burnett, Kendrick, Roberto Fausto Carmona Hernandez, and “some dude” in their rotation has to have them sweating.

      For all we know, Hamels is done for the year. It’s becoming an annual thing. Utley was “fine” until he was found to be covering up a bad situation with his knees that forced him to miss the start of the 2012 & 2013 seasons. Howard was “fine” until it turned out that he tore something in his knee and basically missed all of 2013 after having missed most of 2012. Doc was “fine” until he was forced to go under the knife and then retire after two forgettable seasons. Now it’s Hamels who was “fine” a few weeks ago, threw a bullpen, and is now not close to pitching.

      Forget WAR, or WARP, or win shares or how much this increases their Pythag or any of that. They gotta try, for the first time in two seasons, to field a competitive team. There’s no way around it. This isn’t about increasing their playoff chances it’s about putting an actual MLB quality team on the field.

      • Joe - Mar 8, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        Ervin Santana known putter of asses in the seats.

        I don’t think the Phillies’ long-term competitiveness is bolstered by paying a premium (draft pick and luxury tax hit) for a guy who has been pretty erratic over the course of his career. High-risk for the relatively low reward of maybe going from 78 wins to 80 for the year.

      • Joe - Mar 8, 2014 at 11:25 AM

        *Santana is not a known putter of asses in the seats.

        I tried to get fancy with my comment, but I failed the HTML test.

  6. tfbuckfutter - Mar 7, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    This would be an amazing move for the Phillies.

    Granted, he has only driven in 2 runs in his career, but that is in only 25 at bats.

    If he had 600 ABs, that is 48 RBIs!

    You show me another team getting that kind of production from the pitching spot.

  7. toodrunktotastethischicken - Mar 7, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    Phillies doom watch

    • tfbuckfutter - Mar 7, 2014 at 8:04 PM

      Umm… Only if we’re watching it in the rear view.

  8. Youknowimright - Mar 7, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    Hamels has a torn rotator cuff. Coming soon.

  9. zemongoose - Mar 8, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    Brilliant…give up a high #2 and go over the threshold to add a wildly inconsistent SP to a team with no plausible post-season asperations.

    The most depressing aspect of this all; this time in 2015 the Phillies GM will be…Ruben Amaro Jr.

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