After a long off season and a lot of speculation Ervin Santana and the Atlanta Braves have agreed upon a one-year $14.1 million contract. It is the exact same contract as the qualifying offer Santana rejected from the Kansas City Royals last fall. It is also very similar to the contracts offered to the right-hander by the Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles this week. Also rumored this week to be in the mix for the last big-name free agent on the market were the Minnesota Twins who offered Santana a three-year deal and the Colorado Rockies.
Friday it was supposed to come down to Santana’s self-imposed deadline of 5 pm ET. His decision was to be between the Blue Jays and Orioles but the deadline came and quickly passed without incident. The saga of 31-year old’s off season was given a jolt Saturday as Atlanta’s ace, Kris Medlen, exited the game early with an injury to his elbow and thus, the waiting game began. Medlen was given and MRI Monday which revealed damage to a ligament in his elbow, the same elbow he received Tommy John Surgery on in 2010. The Braves had, by this time, also taken a blow on Sunday as starting pitcher Brandon Beachy was also taken out of his game early with tightness in his elbow and bicep.
With two starters down and third starter southpaw Mike Minor still recovering from urinary tract surgery in December as well as having shoulder soreness, the Braves needed to act and act fast. Down their first three starters the Braves’ rotation would have been down to rookie David Hale and second-year pitchers Alex Wood and Julio Teheran.
Santana will bring stability to the Braves rotation whether with their top three starters or without them. The 9-year veteran and 2008 All-Star has a career ERA of 4.19 and really rejuvenated his career last season with the Kansas City Royals going 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA in 32 starts.