After watching pitcher Suk-min Yoon last week out in California it appears the Baltimore Orioles were impressed about what they saw. The Orioles have reportedly made an offer to right-hander, proving how serious they really are about the young Korean. As the Orioles are one of the main teams still shopping for a starter but seem to have found one, what does this signing mean for free agents Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, AJ Burnett and Bronson Arroyo?
Of course there are still teams looking for starting pitching. The Yankees have expressed a desire to possibly add another starter. Considering how much they have spent this off season, a little more money spent for them is definitely not an issue.
The Toronto Blue Jays are absolutely still looking. Yoon had also been reportedly linked to the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers so if he accepts Baltimore’s offer than does leave options for Santana, Jimenez and Arroyo.
However both Santana, Jimenez and Burnett have draft picks still linked to them as in if a team signs them they must give up one of their highest draft picks. This actually makes me question the fact that they are truly free-agents since this connection to a draft pick is hindering their chance of being signed but that’s another topic for another story. Arroyo is a lot more reasonable for many teams because he is a true free-agent and no draft pick would have to be given up to sign him.
Burnett is still considered to likely sign with Baltimore but will that change if Yoon accepts their offer? He could potentially go back to the Pirates even, they have the means to re-sign him.
Another scenario which I think would be a great idea for the Blue Jays would be to bite the bullet and pick up two starting pitchers. They can easily sign Arroyo to a deal and sign either Santana, Burnett or Jimenez. The Blue Jays top draft picks are protected because they finished with one of the ten worst records last season so the earliest draft pick they would have to give up would be the 49th pick. They also wouldn’t have to sign Burnett to Arroyo to more than, at most, a two to three year deal because of their age. This also fits in with their policy that they do not usually offer contracts over five years and they would be getting two quality starters.
As for Santana and Jimenez, where they will end up is anyone’s guess. Santana could be an option for the Yankees. He was originally looking for a deal worth at least $100 million which I doubt the Yankees would pay but there have been rumors according to ESPN’s Buster Onley that,
The asking price for pitcher Ervin Santana is said to have dropped significantly, perhaps to a three-year deal. Was over $100m in November.
This information may even make him affordable for every interested team. Even the Blue Jays could swing a contract with Santana and a three year deal fits withing their criteria. There is always the outside chance that the Royals and the Indians could lure back their free agents, Santana and Jimenez respectively, but it is highly unlikely.
The Mariners are still in the mix for another starter but there are rumors that they are more interested in signing Nelson Cruz to further boost their offense after their huge signing of second baseman Robinson Cano.
While Santana and Jimenez still have options in a few clubs or even returning to their former clubs if Yoon and the Orioles come to an agreement on a contract then there is another team taken out of the mix. Being basically the eve of Spring Training for many clubs, something is going to have to happen soon for these remaining free-agents to find a place to call home.