The Colorado Rockies are now among the teams that have checked in on free agent right hander Ervin Santana, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. Their interest could be due to the news that Jhoulys Chacin will be out indefinitely after being shut down with shoulder inflammation.
The Rockies' first-round pick in the 2014 draft is protected, thanks to a finish in bottom-third of the final standing, so if they signed Santana, they would only need to forfeit their Competitive Balance selection, which is set to be the 34th overall pick at the moment -- though the order could change depending on the other qualified free agents.
Santana rebounded from one of the worst seasons of his career with the Royals last season, posting a 3.24 ERA in 211 innings. He began mixing his pitches more effectively and cut down on home runs -- thanks in part to the offense-suppressing nature of Kauffman Stadium.
If Santana is able to continue using his sinker to induce groundballs, he could be a good fit at Coors Field, but if he slips back into his old habits, the thin air of Denver could lead to another league-leading home run rate. Santana allowed nearly two home runs per nine innings with the Angels in 2012.
Chacin was the club's most reliable starter last season, pitching a team-high 197⅓ innings with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. He allowed less than one home run per nine frames in 2013.