UPDATE: While recent reports have indicated that Ervin Santana is looking to find a team as soon as possible, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that the free agent right-hander has not set a deadline and is prepared to wait “days” before signing with a club. The wait continues.
1:15 p.m. ET: More intrigue. Enrique Rojas of ESPN.com reports (story in Spanish) that Santana is deciding between a one-year, $14 million deal with the Blue Jays and a one-year, $13 million deal (plus incentives) with the Orioles.
12:30 p.m. ET: It’s apparently not a deal done yet. Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes hears that Santana will sign with the Blue Jays if he doesn’t receive a better offer by 5 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and Santana are working toward a deal, but an agreement is not in place.
12:22 p.m. ET: The mystery team has been identified. According to Dionisio Soldevila of ESPN Deportes, the Blue Jays and free agent right-hander Ervin Santana have agreed to terms on a one-year, $14 million contract.
Soldevila reported this morning that Santana was set to sign a one-year, $14 million deal with an American League team. The Blue Jays and Orioles were considered the most logical fits, but Toronto was apparently able to get the deal done.
Santana was reportedly hoping to land a $100 million contract this winter after posting a 3.24 ERA and 161/51 K/BB ratio over 211 innings last season with the Royals, but draft pick compensation and worries over his elbow greatly diminished his market. However, it looks like he’ll still get a deal close to the one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer he turned down from the Royals.
Assuming the deal gets done, Santana would join a rotation which projects to include R.A. Dickey, Brandon Morrow, Mark Buehrle, and J.A. Happ. The Blue Jays have two protected first-round picks this year (one is for finishing with one of the 10 worst records last season and the other is for failing to sign their first-round pick last year), so they would only have to surrender their second-round pick in order to sign him.
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.
Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.
The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.
The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.
Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.
Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.
The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.
While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.