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Blue Jays GM says Ervin Santana didn’t want to pitch in the American League

Mar 12, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

ervin santana getty Getty Images

Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos had some interesting comments about Ervin Santana after the free agent right-hander turned down a similar offer from the Blue Jays to sign a one-year, $14.1 million deal with the Braves today.

John Lott of the National Post passed along Anthopoulos’ quotes from this morning’s appearance on Sportsnet 590 radio in Toronto, which included the GM saying that Santana had little interest in pitching in the American League and the right-hander’s decision “was not money, was not years.”

“We’re in the American League,” Anthopoulos said. “Guys that don’t want to be in the American League, there’s nothing we can do.”

Santana has spent his entire career in the AL pitching for the Angels and Royals, so it’d probably be a stretch to suggest he’s scared of spending another season in the same league he’s already spent nine years. And looking at things from Santana’s point of view it’s tough to blame him for trying to build up future value pitching in the NL East instead of the AL East. That’s just logical, rather than some sort of test of manhood. None of which makes his decision any less frustrating for Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays, of course.

  1. themanytoolsofignorance - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Smart move by Santana. One lest big bat in lineups to face- and easy out with the pitcher’s spot- and he gets bigger parks to play in. He understands his weaknesses and has avoided playing in an environment that might him expose him more while getting the same money he’d have made if he’d stayed with KC

  2. Detroit Michael - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    Are there any MLB general managers left who offer contracts for over $10M annually based on surface statitics without adjusting for home ballparks, level of competition, etc.? If not, then it’s delusional to think that pitching in Atlanta will build up Ervin Santana’s market value next off-season more than pitching in Toronto would.

    • js20011041 - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      Were I a pitcher, I’d much rather give myself the best chance at putting up good numbers rather than playing in the more difficult league/park and hoping that GMs take note of that.

      Oh, and as to your question, Ruben Amaro would like a word with you.

    • bfunk1978 - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      Well, there’s always the Phillies.

    • yahmule - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      It only takes one.

    • paperlions - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:43 PM

      While that is all true. It is still much better to prove that you can be successful in the NL in front of a good defense and than to prove that you struggle in the hitter’s parks of the AL east. In the first scenario, at least you can give GMs confidence that in such a setting you can be successful, whereas in the other they only know the scenario in which you won’t be successful (or, alternatively, if he pitched great in the AL east for a year, his market may expand greatly).

      Still, he’s a 9 year vet with a long history of inconsistency….so, no matter what he does this year, teams still aren’t going to line up to offer him a 4-5 yr deal on the hopes that he’s finally figured out how to be productive every year.

  3. tedwmoore - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    Color me shocked that AA flamed a guy for not signing with Toronto. Also, you could replace AA’s phrasing with “guys that want to play for likely playoff contenders, there is nothing we can do”.

    • proudlycanadian - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:37 AM

      Listen to the complete interview. Santana wanted to pitch in the NL for a year as he thinks that his ERA will be lower in the NL than in the AL. It was not about the money or the 1 year term.

      • tedwmoore - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:51 AM

        The way it was phrased and presented here, it seemed a dig, but if AA was repeating what Santana’s reps told him, then fair enough. Apologies to AA.

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:36 PM

        If he really wanted to burn Santana, he would have answered the question about whether he thought he had a deal in place with Santana. He refused to answer that question.

    • mdyoung1971 - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:03 PM

      Okay, all this crap I’m hearing is supposing that only an AL East team would sign him is just that, crap. If he’s looking to pitch in bigger parks with fewer big hitters….excuse me but a lot of the biggest hitters in the game are in the NL! Why did he have a good year last year? He was in a pitchers park in Kaufman Stadium were it has the big dimensions and the wind is usually blowing in or across the diamond, rarely do you have a good wind blowing out of Kaufman Stadium. With the exception of second base, he had a very sound defense behind him….three gold gloves worth of sound defense. The biggest problem for the Royals was a down sophomore campaign for Moose, and inconsistency on offense as a whole.

      All of that aside, Santana’s biggest problem is his greedy agent. Coming out of the box and demanding $100 million without finding out what the market as whole is like was absolutely stupid from day one. One good year in a pitcher friendly home stadium doesn’t make you a $100 million man. He needs to string together a few good years in a row before demanding that kind of money. As for your critique of AL ballparks, let’s remember that some of the greatest pitchers in MLB history played a large portion of their careers in the AL, and the AL East in particular.

  4. jrocknstuff - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    Sadly yes, there are GM’s left that look a lot at surface statistics like wins, losses and ERA. For instance, Seattle. Based on that, would you rather look for a big deal with numbers pitching against the Mets and Marlins or the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox and Orioles?

  5. proudlycanadian - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    The complete interview is on sportsnet.ca. Santana’s representative told the Jays that it was not about the money and the 1 year term. He simply wanted to pitch in the NL to enhance his long term value. Pitching in the NL does tend to subtract about half a run from a pitcher’s ERA.

    • sophiethegreatdane - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:33 AM

      Yes sir. And if he can replicate what he did in 2013, and wind up with a sub-3.00 ERA in 2014 because of the difference in the leagues, it will set him up for an even better contract next off season.

    • proudlycanadian - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      During the interview AA mentioned Drew Hutchinson a lot. Hutchinson is coming off Tommy John surgery, and so far has looked great. It appears that that the original plan was for Hutchinson to pitch in Triple A and to build up his arm strength there. Now, he is on the verge of making the rotation. Happless was not mentioned. At the end of the interview, he does mention the most interesting dark horse for the rotation. Rickey Romero looked great in his last outing. Much to early to see if Romero has regained his old form, but he is a pitcher to watch.

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:55 PM

        Ricky Romero pitched another solid 4 innings against the Rays today. His ERA this spring is 1.29. Prospect Marcus Stroman showed that he needs more seasoning in the minors. At this moment, I would project the rotation as Dickey, Morrow, Buehrle, Hutchinson and Romero.

  6. nymets4ever - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    Loser wimp mentality.

    • js20011041 - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      Honestly, if I was playing for the last big contract of my career, I wouldn’t care what some fan thought about my mentality. I’d do everything to ensure that I earned the largest contract possible.

      • Old Gator - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        You’re dealing with a kvetch, js. He knows that, but if he didn’t bellyache about something today his spleen would have ruptured.

    • yahmule - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      How much of your persona is schtick, man?

      8~)

  7. tfbuckfutter - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    I don’t blame him.

    I would love to make the same money doing a much much easier job.

  8. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Apparently Anthopoulos reads the comments of this blog, because I said the exact same thing this morning…

    • Old Gator - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      Anthopoulos is ackcherley just a figment of this blog. We keep mentioning him because nothing else seems to awaken our virtual village idiot from his coma. We tried banging pots and tooting kazoos, but he just started waving his index fingers around without ever opening his eyes.

  9. ez4u2sa - Mar 12, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    I think the real reason is that Santana didn’t want to throw away a year of his career playing for a perennial loser like the Blue Jays.

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