The Braves to sign Ervin Santana to a one-year deal, announcement coming this morning

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Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Atlanta Braves are completing a deal with Ervin Santana. Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that an announcement by the team is scheduled for later this morning. Multiple reporters are saying it’s a one-year deal, though the money has not yet been revealed. UPDATE: It’s a one-year, $14.1 million deal.

The deal is the product of a disastrous couple of days for Atlanta’s starting pitchers, with both Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy leaving starts early. Medlen has been diagnosed with some amount of ligament damage and will soon consult with Dr. James Andrews. A second Tommy John surgery for the Braves’ would-be Opening Day starter is a distinct possibility. Beachy left a start the other day with biceps tightness. While he has downplayed the seriousness of the injury, he himself is not too far removed from Tommy John surgery, and has experienced diminished velocity this spring.

For Santana, signing with the Braves represents the end of a long, frustrating offseason. Following one of his best seasons, posting a 3.24 ERA for the Kansas City Royals last year, Santana expected to hit it big on the free agent market. The suitors did not come calling, however, leaving Santana unemployed until now. In recent days there has been talk of the Blue Jays or signing with the Orioles, but it was clearly a buyer’s market given how far along the spring already is. The starting pitching needs of the Braves came at quite an opportune time for Santana.

But the one year deal is interesting. While it may represent Santana’s best chance to make the most money in 2014 — and to play for a team expected to contend — there’s every reason to believe that, if he has a good year this year, he’ll find himself in the same position he was in this past offseason: a free agent with a qualifying offer and draft pick attached to him.

But I suppose that beats not having a job.

Umpire Cory Blaser made two atrocious calls in the top of the 11th inning

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The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.

Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.

Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.

James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.

The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.