KC Royals Rumors: KC Scouting Ervin Santana, Sonny Gray
KC Royals rumors indicate that the Kansas City front office sent a scout to the A’s/Twins game on Wednesday to scout pitchers Ervin Santana (Twins) and Sonny Gray (A’s), according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Clearly, KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore is quite aware of his team’s need for starting pitching help and is diligently scouring the trade market for possible help. There’s no reason to believe that Moore won’t do everything reasonably possible to help out the Kansas City Royals at the trade deadline, given the deals he pulled last season to land second baseman Ben Zobrist and ace Johnny Cueto.
Both pitchers looked good on Wednesday. The 33-year-old Ervin Santana pitched a complete game shutout, allowing 2 hits, 0 walks, and striking out 8. Meanwhile, The 26-year-old Sonny Gray lasted 6.0 inings, giving up 6 hits, 4 walks, and 1 earned run with 5 strikeouts.
Former KC Royals pitcher Santana is rounding back into form after suffering back problems in mid-April that caused him to miss three weeks. Ervin Santana’s is 3-7, with a 4.06 ERA and a 6.6 K/9 on the season in 93.0 innings pitched. He certainly looks very much like the guy that put up a 3.24 ERA in his only year with the Kansas City Royals, and could replicate that performance in front of KC’s stellar defense.
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Ervin Santana is under contract for two seasons after 2016, with approximately $32.5 million remaining in guaranteed money. Santana’s pact also carries a $14 million team option in 2019 with a $1 million buyout for his age 36 season.
Meanwhile, Sonny Gray has struggled in 2016 after a dominant 2015 in which he finished third in the AL Cy Young voting for his 14-7, 2.73 ERA season. Gray went on the 15-day disabled list on May 22 with a trapezius muscle strain (the muscle that connects the top of the shoulder to the neck) and has slogged through a miserable season with a 3-8, 5.16 ERA performance in 2016.
However, Gray is a young, Cy Young caliber starting pitcher who is not eligible for free-agency until 2020 and become arbitration eligible in 2017. Gray is under contract for a very cheap $527,000 this season and should be significantly less expensive than Santana over the next few years.
Next: About That New Pitcher, Mr. Moore
It’s interesting to note that both pitchers are long term solutions for the starting rotation. Gray, of course, is the prize given his age and proven upside. However, Santana looks like he might be the most help this year. Oakland might to be all that willing to hand the KC Royals a Cy Young level pitcher, while the Twins might not want to help a division rival. Which deal the Kansas City Royals front office prefers will come down to their evaluation over then next three weeks.