The Royals have been in contact with right-hander Ervin Santana, who “is said to be very receptive to a return,” CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports. Santana is a fan of Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland, among others in the K.C. organization.
After a tough 2012 season with the Angels, it was a move to Kansas City in 2013 that revived Santana’s career. He posted a 3.24 ERA and 3.16 K/BB rate in 211 innings for the Royals that season, though thanks to a qualifying offer tag and perhaps some unrealistic expectations in free agency, Santana had to settle for a one-year deal with the Braves for 2014.
Santana is seeking a five-year contract this winter, Heyman reports, and the righty has more of an argument for that long a commitment given his strong performance with Atlanta. Since he rejected the Braves’ qualifying offer, the team that signed Santana would have to give up a 2015 draft pick — in the Royals’ case, it would cost them the 24th overall selection. That said, since James Shields also rejected his QO and seems likely to sign elsewhere, the Royals will receive a compensation pick between the first and second rounds.
Essentially, signing Santana would cost the Royals a drop of roughly ten spots or so in the 2015 draft, which the club might decide is worth it to reinforce the rotation. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes projected Santana for a four-year, $56MM deal, which would normally seem steep for the Royals, yet I suspect they could be willing to spend a bit more freely this winter in the wake of their great postseason performance.