Ervin Santana free agency: Orioles, Rangers among teams interested in pitcher

USA TODAY Sports

Santana has had a hard time finding as big a deal as he had hoped for on the market. Perhaps some recent signings will sway negotiations.

Free agent starting pitcher Ervin Santana has been drawing interest from the Orioles, Rangers and one unnamed NL West team, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPN.

At the outset of free agency, Santana had been seeking a deal well over $100 million. Obviously, nobody has offered him anything close to that and he sits without a contract as spring training is underway. Recent deals made may help create a sense of what kind of contract would be fair for Santana, however, and could serve as a catalyst if a sense of urgency kicks in to find a deal soon.

Ubaldo Jimenez's four year, $50 million contract with the Orioles perhaps serves as the best example of what Santana can expect. Jimenez had been in the exact same situation as both players sought a big deal after turning down qualifying offers, thus requiring a forfeiture of a draft pick by a signing team. Matt Garza's four-year, $52 million deal with the Milwaukee Brewers could also serve as an illustration of what Santana can expect, though Garza did not have the draft stigma attached to him.

The Orioles have been interested in Santana for some time now, but after signing Jimenez and inking outfielder Nelson Cruz to a one-year, $8 million deal on Saturday Baltimore may not have much more money in the tank. The club's starting pitching is what held them back last year and it's possible they may now go all-in to become the team to beat in the AL East.

The Rangers, meanwhile, may be looking to swoop in on what could be a very good deal in the long run. Texas did lose Derek Holland for half the season due to knee surgery and Matt Harrison's back troubles have sprung up again. All of a sudden, the team's pitching depth is being tested. The Rangers may prefer Santana on a shorter deal, however.

As far as the NL West team goes, the Arizona Diamondbacks have been mentioned in rumors surrounding Santana all winter long. The Los Angeles Dodgers have been looking to strengthen the back of their bullpen, but signed Paul Maholm and did not want anyone on a long-term deal. The Colorado Rockies are always looking to improve their pitching while the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants could also use a boost to their respective rotations.

Jimenez signed a few days ago and Cruz signed today. Perhaps Santana will be the next long-sitting free agent to find a deal.

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