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Dayton Moore says starter Ervin Santana isn’t off Royals radar

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, at 3:30 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, at 11:39 p.m.

Starting pitcher Ervin Santana remains on the open market, and Royals general manager Dayton Moore insists he’ll soon find a home.

Could it be a familiar address?

“We’re continuing to monitor his situation, and the level of our involvement has yet to be determined,” Moore said Tuesday. “He was a terrific pitcher for us last year. I’m confident Erv will get a very good deal.”

Moore said the Royals could be interested in retaining Santana, who delivered one of his best major-league seasons in 2013, but didn’t specify terms.

Santana spent his first eight seasons with the Angels before moving to Kansas City in an October 2012 trade. For the Royals, he went 9-10 with a career-best 3.24 ERA in 211 innings last season.

When Santana hit the free-agent market after the season, the Royals made other plans, including the signing of left-handed starter Jason Vargas.

“We made the decision early on to move on from signing (Santana),” Moore said.

The early asking price for Santana was steep, five years and $112 million. But there have been no takers, and reports now have Santana available for $60 million over four years.

Santana has been associated with other teams, including those who lost out on the sweepstakes for Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka, who signed with the Yankees.

The offseason began with three major free-agent pitchers: Santana, the Rangers’ Matt Garza and the Indians’ Ubaldo Jimenez.

Of the three, only Garza has signed, a reported four-year, $52 million deal with the Brewers.

The long-term deal may not be there for Santana.

Would the Royals be interested in a one- or two-year deal? Moore wouldn’t say, but such a contract could make more sense for the Royals and other clubs.

Also Tuesday, Moore said that Kyle Zimmer, one of the organization’s top pitching prospects, would be brought along carefully this season.

“He’s down in Arizona right now, and we’re going to move very slowly with him,” Moore said. “We want to make sure he can finish strong in 2014.”

Zimmer, the Royals’ first-round pick in 2012, threw 108 1/3 innings last year for Class A Wilmington and Class AA Northwest Arkansas before being shut down in August because of shoulder stiffness.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.

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