While it seemed all but inevitable that Ervin Santana threw his last pitch for the Angels this September, where he would next ply his homer-prone trade remained up in the air. Well, consider this crashing down to Earth, as Ken Rosenthal reports the Kansas City Royals acquired the right-handed starter from the Angels in exchange for minor league lefty reliever Doug Sisk.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 31, 2012
With a $13 million dollar option for 2013 but coming off the worst season of his career, the Ervin Santana was a high-priced luxury the Angels could no longer afford. With much larger fish to fry, it seems sending Santana to the perennial also-rans of the AL Central is the best solution for Jerry Dipoto and friends in LAA’s front office.
Santana is not a lost cause and the ballpark in Kansas City certainly won’t make things any worse on his gopher ball tendencies. The home runs flew out at an unnatural rate in 2012 even for a pitcher who struggles to keep the ball in the park at the best of times. The 39 dingers Santana served up are the second most by any one pitcher in the last five seasons, behind only Bronson Arroyo in 2011.
While their styles of pitching are quite different, Arroyo’s ability to reign in the tater-tots during the 2012 might give Royals fans some hope for Santana going forward. After giving up 46 home runs in 2011, Arroyo surrendered just 26 bombs in 2012 while boosting his strikeout rate and cutting his walks as well.
Can Santana duplicate the serviceable stylings of one Bronson Arroyo? Ervin Santana is much more of a power pitcher, one who makes use of little more than his fastball/slider combination. His overall fastball velocity dipped slightly for the year and the season-long trend does not instil a great deal of confidence.
No reports of any money changing hands as of yet. If Ervin Santana can re-find his 2010/2011 form, he is a decent league average-ish starter, good for 32 starts a year in the middle of a rotation in dire need of help. The $13 million price tag might seem high but it is only a one-year commitment from the Royals, a team that picked up Chris Volstad as recently as this week.
If not…well the Royals are always going to Royal. Santana’s rep as a big-armed pitcher must be difficult to shake. The memories of his 2011 no-hitter, while quickly fading, point to a pitcher who can dominate a game, getting ground balls and strikeouts by the boatload. Is this the pitcher the Royals acquired?
Ervin Santana is the most Royals pitcher ever.
— Mike Axisa (@mikeaxisa) October 31, 2012
Probably not. But he is a pitcher, something the Royals desperately need. A good pitcher? That isn’t really the Royals MO. They just get guys known to pitch and figure the rest will take care of itself. Thus their stellar record of development and big league success.