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).
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.
According to an official team announcement, the Nationals have acquired catcher Derek Norris from the Padres in exchange for right-hander Pedro Avila.
Norris, 27, batted a career-low .186/.225/.328 in 458 PA with the Padres in 2016. He hit career highs with 14 home runs and nine stolen bases, but his dismal production rate through the second half of the season spelled the end of his time in a starting role in San Diego. Norris’ departure from the Padres also confirms 24-year-old Austin Hedges‘ spot on the roster, as reported by MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell:
Heading to San Diego is 19-year-old right-handed starter Pedro Avila, who was acquired by the Nationals as an international free agent in 2014. The 19-year-old spent his first season in Single-A Hagerstown and went 7-7 with a 3.48 ERA and 2.42 K/BB rate in 93 innings.