Ervin Santana free agency: Price for pitcher reportedly dropping

Leon Halip

Santana has failed to generate much interest this offseason and may have to settle for a deal well below his original expectations.

Free agent starting pitcher Ervin Santana's asking price on a new contract has declined drastically since the beginning of the offseason, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.

At the onset of free agency, Santana had originally been looking for a deal worth around $112 million, comparing himself to Zack Greinke, who signed with the Dodgers last year. Now, however, it appears Santana may even be willing to sign for three years with a team.

Santana has likely been hurt this offseason by the stipulation attached to him that any signing team must forfeit a high draft pick. Furthermore, he is not necessarily the kind of pitcher on which many teams would be willing to risk big dollars. He had perhaps the best season of his career in 2013 with a 3.24 ERA, but that came after a 2012 season that saw him post a 5.16 ERA. While he has more often than not been a useful pitcher, he has mixed in several bad years with good ones.

In addition, Santana may have realized his value was dropping when Matt Garza signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Brewers. Garza has put up better numbers over his career than Santana and is one year younger, though he has been more injury-prone. Garza also did not require a draft pick to be forfeited. That deal may have had more of an impact on the market of Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez than the Masahiro Tanaka deal. After Tanaka signed with the Yankees, it was thought a number of pitchers could sign quickly. Thus far, however, only Garza has agreed to a deal.

The Torono Blue Jays have been the most linked team to Santana and are likely still in the running as they hope to improve what was baseball's second-worst rotation in 2013. The Diamondbacks have also been interested. If the money is there, Santana could also take a one-year deal to return to the Royals and establish further value before testing free agency again.

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