It’s still early November, so there’s no harm in aiming high. According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, free agents Ervin Santana and Ricky Nolasco are doing just that. Santana wants “more than $100 million” for five years, while Nolasco would settle for a mere $80 million over the same timeframe.
Santana’s asking price would seem to be the more realistic of the two. He has been up and down in his career, but he’s had three seasons of at least 210 innings pitched and ERAs under 3.50. Nolasco’s career-best ERA is 3.52, his career mark is 4.37 and he’s spent his entire career working in the easier league. Certainly, no AL team is going to fork over $14 million-$16 million per year in the hopes that Nolasco can make the transition, whereas Santana would fit just about anywhere.
Considering that Nolasco was a below average starter four straight years prior to his nice 2013, he’d going to be very risky on anything longer than a two-year deal. He’ll get three years and maybe even four from some team, but it’s hard to imagine anyone giving him five.
Santana, on the other hand, likely will approach $100 million for five years. $90 million, anyway, seems realistic. Because he has fewer durability questions than Matt Garza, many seem to view him as the top starter in free agency (with Japanese non-free agent Masahiro Tanaka on another level entirely).
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.