The last free-agent pitcher standing, Ervin Santana, signed with the Braves.Call it another swing and a miss for Alex Anthopoulos and the Toronto Blue Jays.
On Wednesday, free-agent pitcher Ervin Santana signed a one-year, $14.1 million contract with the Atlanta Braves. Santana was one of the most sought-after free agents this offseason and had been targeted by the Blue Jays. Reports as recently as Saturday said Santana was on the cusp of signing with the team.
Instead the right-hander is heading to Atlanta to help out a playoff contender that has had its starting rotation torn apart by recent injuries. The signing has to sting a bit for Anthopoulos, the Toronto general manager.
Anthopoulos has said all the right things this offseason about the team and his decision to make very few changes to a team that won just 74 games last season. He is confident the team can rebound simply by staying healthy and having more depth. But there’s an obvious need for starting pitching on this team. Last year the Blue Jays had one of the worst pitching staffs in the league. They ranked 25th in ERA, 28th in quality starts, 25th in WHIP, 22nd in opponent batting average, and surrendered the second most home runs.
Santana wasn’t going to fix those problems single handedly. He went 9-10 with the Kansas City Royals last year with a 3.24 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 211 innings. He’s an above average, durable pitcher but hardly a perennial All Star. But he certainly would have helped the Blue Jays, especially on a one-year deal, and would have been a tangible upgrade over whoever is destined for the back end of the rotation. The Blue Jays are built to be competitive now but have fallen way behind in the American League East.
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