SURPRISE, Ariz. — As spring training dawns across Arizona and Florida, free-agent starter Ervin Santana remains without a team. His most recent employer has kept tabs on him, as the Royals have checked in "periodically," general manager Dayton Moore said on Sunday morning. But the organization’s stance on a reunion with Santana has not changed.
"I don’t see a fit," Moore said, referencing the sizable financial commitment still required to land Santana.
Earlier in the offseason, the Royals decided Santana’s contract demands would not fit their budget, and moved forward toward other options. After Santana rejected a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer, the organization extended itself with a four-year, $32 million contract for Jason Vargas. They bundled another $4.25 million to retain Bruce Chen for the 2014 season.
CBS Sports listed the Royals as one of several teams still talking to Santana. Neither Santana nor Ubaldo Jimenez has signed yet. The report also mentioned Baltimore, Toronto, Seattle, Cleveland and Colorado as interested parties.
Moore maintained his confidence in his assembled group of starters. Vargas and Chen joined James Shields and Jeremy Guthrie in the first four rotation slots. Competing for the last spot are Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy, Luke Hochevar and Wade Davis.
Still, Santana would be an upgrade. He racked up 211 innings with a 3.24 ERA. He appeared rejuvenated by the team’s excellent outfield defense behind him, and posted his best strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.16) since 2008.
"I know he’s going to have a successful year somewhere," Moore said. "It’s probably not going to be in Kansas City."