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Ervin Santana rumors: Orioles 'maintain interest' in free agent righty

The O's could be pursuing the market's other Santana.

Jason Miller

Some Orioles fans might have gotten excited when they saw the "Baltimore signs Santana" headlines recently, only to find out the team had added Johan Santana rather than Ervin. That deal might have been foolish, brilliant, or both, but it was decidedly less notable than a deal with the Royals' former starter would have been.

However, as Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports, a deal with Ervin Santana might not be out of the question in Baltimore.

The Orioles have been linked to Santana in rumors fairly recently, and Connolly proposes that the club is still interested and "wouldn't blink at all about surrendering their third-round draft pick for him."

Santana has reportedly said he will not consider a Nelson Cruz-type deal. He is standing firm at four years and $50 million. Baltimore is only likely to consider Santana if they deem his contract demands as a good value, so the two sides could be at something of a stalemate if Santana is willing to sit out until after the draft in order to procure a better deal.

Last season, the 31-year-old right hander managed to bounce back from an atrocious 2012 season. After being traded to Kansas City, Santana pitched to a 3.24 ERA in 211 innings, thanks in part to an increased usage of his sinker and an more effectively mixed repertoire overall. If he can continue to induce groundballs regularly, he might not be a horrible fit at Camden, but the Orioles' park slants towards hitters, and Santana is only one season removed from leading the league in home runs allowed.

Baltimore's draft budget would take another hit by signing Santana, but after they chose to add Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz -- both players cost the team a draft pick -- their options for this June's draft are already very limited. Santana would likely provide more value to the team, even if he struggled to some extent, than their third-round pick and the slot money associated with it.

Santana appears frustrated enough with the situation that he's considering new representation, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. For Santana, the entire experience is probably something he'd like to do over. After turning down the qualifying offer and opening negotiations with a $100 million price tag, the market developed in such a way that Santana is left with few options ahead of Opening Day that will put him in a better position than if he had simply accepted the $14.1 million offer from the Royals. If the Orioles don't come through with a meaningful offer, Santana may have no choice but to accept this as a wasted opportunity.