The Nationals are in the running for a big time starter and Ervin Santana is on the market. The Kansas City Royals offered him a qualifying offer of $14.1 million. He ended up turning it down, saying he wanted a 5 year, $100 million deal. Yes, the same Ervin Santana that had a 5.16 ERA in 2012, and 5.03 in 2009. He did have his best season in 2013 ERA wise, 3.24. This was in large part to a great strand rate, which was also the best of his career. Does that warrant a $100 million contract? Santana certainly thinks so. Should the Nats’ be after him? Here is my take.
The Nationals need to stay away from Santana. Even if they can’t end up getting Max Scherzer or David Price, they need to stay far away from Ervin Santana. He is danger lurking on every single pitch. You never know if that one pitch will be a strikeout or hit about 460 feet. His career average is 29 homers a season. He allowed 26 last season, on his way to his best ERA. He gives up ground balls about 46% of the time, but when he gives up a fly ball, it is a big fly. He gives up at least one homer per nine innings, since 2009. That is something he shouldn’t be proud of.
The Nationals bullpen is really hit or miss at times, so they need a starter that can go deep in games. He only went at least seven in half of his starts last season. The reason for this was he fell apart in the middle of the game. From pitches 31-60 he really struggled. He gave his most runs in that range. This isn’t good enough. It would be good enough if he was getting paid $40 million, but for a $100 million he better be going at least seven, three fourths of the time.
The only reason that Mike Rizzo should take a look at Santana is because he has never pitched in the National League. His numbers against the National League weren’t horrendous, but they were better than expected.The only problem was that he couldn’t get outs against the top competition from the National League. He gave up at least three runs, in three of his five starts against the N.L. last season. Facing the Cardinals, Braves and our Nationals, he really struggled.
So should Ervin Santana become a National? No, and that is a very strong no. He is a bad fit for the club. He doesn’t go deep enough into the game, and a guy asking for $100 million, that has never had a really great all around season, could be catastrophic. Rizzo needs to stay away and focus on finding a pitcher that is cheap, and can go deep into games. That is what the Nats’ need out of the four spot in the rotation.