Aug 30, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Ervin Santana (54) looks in before delivering a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays beat the Royals 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
The one benefit of the qualifying offer is that, should a player refuse to accept it, the team offering would receive a draft pick as compensation. Naturally, that draft pick would be given so long as the player signs by the MLB Amateur Draft, but that is typically not a problem for the bigger names available. However, with the market not turning out the way that Ervin Santana, Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales have expected, there has been talk that all three players may be willing to sit out until June.
For the Royals, this could be the worst case scenario. Not only would they potentially lose Santana to another team willing to pay his demanded salary, but they would also lose out on the draft pick compensation they may have been banking on. Instead of either signing a second starter at a discount or receiving a draft pick in return, the Royals could end up with absolutely nothing.
There is another possibility. Ervin Santana may just decide to sign after Opening Day, thereby avoiding the possibility of having another team extend a qualifying offer. Both strategies are fraught with risks. If Santana signs after Opening Day, it will still take time before he is ready to face a major league lineup. Signing after the draft could make it where Santana only pitches the final two and a half to three months of the year. In either scenario, he may end up losing even more money this season than he presently would with the qualifying offer.
Perhaps the Royals could still find a way to bring Santana back. Although his agent did state that David Glass may be the only thing holding up a deal, it may be possible that Glass realizes that Santana, at a possibly reduced rate, may be enough of a value where he releases his iron grip upon his wallet, allowing Moore to spend the money needed to truly solidify the rotation.
In all likelihood, Ervin Santana will sign somewhere after June, when he feels he would be able to receive fair market value. If that happens, then the Royals are not only out their second starter, but they also lost draft pick compensation. Somehow, this just seems so very Royals of them.