Giants Showing Interest in Ervin Santana


The San Francisco Giants, and their fanbase, are all-in on superstar free agent pitcher Jon Lester, but they are keeping their eye on other pitchers, most notably Ervin Santana. MLB Network and Fox Sports insider Jon Morosi first reported the interest on Twitter.

It remains to be seen if the Giants are actually pursuing Santana, or if this a deke to force Lester’s hand. The interest for the right-hander should be real, as Santana would make a great number-three starter at AT&T Park. A 2008 All-Star, Santana is considered one of the premier pitchers currently on the open market.

Since making his debut with the Los Angeles Angels in 2005, Santana boasts a career record of 119-100 with a 4.17 ERA. On July 27th, 2011, while still with the Angels, Santana threw his first, and only, career no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians. The no-hitter was notable because it was not a complete game shutout, as an unearned run scored when Santana uncorked a wild pitch with a runner on third. He would finish the game walking just one batter while striking out ten.

After pitching for the Angels for eight seasons, Santana was traded to the Kansas City Royals in the offseason following the 2012 campaign. Despite posting a losing record at 9-10 in 2013, he did finish the season with a career-best 3.24 ERA and 1.142 WHIP in 32 starts. After the season ended, the Royals made a qualifying offer for Santana, but he turned it down to become a free agent.

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In 2014, Santana got his year started late, as he didn’t sign his one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves until after Spring Training began. When he finally did sign, he pitched well, finshing 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA.

Over the past five years, Santana has become a solid force in the middle of a rotation. From 2010 to 2014, he has gone 60-55 with a 3.88 ERA in 1036.1 innings. However, take away the 2012 campaign, which saw Santana finish 9-13 with a near career-worst 5.16 ERA, he is 51-42 with a 3.62 ERA.

There are some downfalls to a potential Santana deal. Santana is reportedly seeking a five-year, which would take him into his age 37 season. If the Giants are serious about acquiring Santana, they should consider trying to talk him down to a two or three-year deal. Another area of concern for Santana in the past has been the longball. In the rough 2012 season, Santana surrendered an MLB-worst 39 home runs. However, some of that problem should be alleviated pitching in the National League West, where many pitcher-friendly ballparks reside.

Santana is a solid innings-eater, as he has averaged more than 200 innings a season over the past five campaigns. He would make a nice addition to the combination of Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Tim Hudson. If the Giants can’t win the bidding war for Lester, Santana may be the next-best option.