The Braves make Ervin Santana a qualifying offer

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As expected, the Braves have extended a qualifying offer to starter Ervin Santana.

Earlier today Santana’s agent told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Santana would consider accepting the offer. That could’ve been bluster to scare the Braves off from doing so, but if it was a bluff, it has been called.

Then again, Santana rode this railroad last year and ended up not latching on anywhere until March due to the draft pick compensation tied to him by virtue of the Royals giving him a qualifying offer. It’s possible he wants to avoid that fate again.

Santana finished the season with a 3.95 ERA and a 179/63 K/BB ratio in 196 innings.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?