Former KC Royals and current Minnesota Twins pitcher Ervin Santana cleared waivers Saturday morning. The Twins can deal him to any team in baseball. Should the Kansas City Royals make a deal?
For any Santana deal to happen, it’s pretty clear that general manager Dayton Moore will want Minnesota to eat some of the $27 million remaining on Santana’s contract for 2017 and 2018. He’s also making $13.5 million this season, leaving around $3 million left for the rest of the season. If Moore had been comfortable with that price, then the KC Royals could have put in a waiver claim.
However, the Twins likely know they will have to eat some salary here since every other team in baseball didn’t claim the 33-year-old Santana. Also, word around the league is that Minnesota wants “something significant” in return for him.
Santana has been pretty darn good for the Twins this season, with a 3.33 ERA, 7.0 K/9, and 2.2 BB/9 in 140.2 innings pitched. He’d be a nice bump for the Kansas City Royals rotation in place of no. 5 starter Dillon Gee. Heck, if the KC Royals landed him, he’d probably start ahead of Edinson Volquez if Kansas City made it to the post-season.
Another benefit of a Santana deal is that Dayton Moore will know exactly how he would fit into the clubhouse. Santana pitched for the Kansas City Royals on a one-year deal in 2013 when he went 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA in 211.0 innings pitched. He was the no. 2 starter behind James Shields.
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Of course the same problem that caused me to dismiss a possible Santana deal in an earlier piece about possible August trade targets for the KC Royals still remains. Kansas City would have to cut a deal with Minnesota. I still doubt the Twins really want to trade a solid starter to a pitching-needy division rival.
At this point, however, a deal becomes more likely simply because Santana has cleared the waiver hurdle. Furthermore, Dayton Moore has made three trades with AL Central rival Chicago White Sox. But, none of those deals involved a player as significant as Santana is at the time of the trade. The closest would be landing 2B Chris Getz and 3B Josh Fields for 3B Mark Teahen before the 2010 season.
The biggest reason to add Santana is that he’d be a big help in continuing the consistently strong starting pitching that has fueled Kansas City’s August run. No more would Ned Yost have to hope that Dillon Gee can hold up as the no. 5 starter.
With Edinson Volquez eligible for free-agency this winter, Ervin Santana would be a nice substitute. Even with the outstanding recent performances from the rotation, Santana would also provide a nice boost over the last five weeks of the season.