Rosenthal: Yankees request Ervin Santana’s medical records

Third base option off the board: Brewers sign Mark Reynolds
Minors Notes: Heathcott, Hensley, Banuelos

Via Ken Rosenthal: The Yankees are one of several clubs to request Ervin Santana’s medical records recently. The team was only doing their due diligence. Brian Cashman recently indicated they could fill out the rotation with cheap pitcher if they fail to sign Masahiro Tanaka.

Santana, 31, had a 3.24 ERA (3.93 FIP) in 211 innings for the Royals last year. He has been a horse, throwing at least 210 innings in three of the last four years, but he’s also very homer prone. His career homerun rate (1.22 HR/9 and 11.0% HR/FB) is nearly identical to Phil Hughes‘ (1.29 HR/9 and 10.2% HR/FB) even though he’s spent the majority of his career in pitcher-friendly Angels Stadium. Santana was awesome last year but his skillset and Yankee Stadium are unlikely to mix well.

Third base option off the board: Brewers sign Mark Reynolds
Minors Notes: Heathcott, Hensley, Banuelos
  • Matt DiBari

    I can’t shake the feeling that “cheap pitcher” is carny for “Carl Pavano”

    I’m kidding of course.


    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Pavano didn’t come cheap when we had him, and I’ll bet you one million Internet dollars he’s not part of the mix now.

      • nyyankfan_7

        I see your $1 million internet dollars and raise you $1 billion internet dollars…..bwah ha ha ha

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Fuck it. I throw in Macho Man “Randy Levine.”

  • Willie

    Get ready for the cheap pichers to fill out the rotation you hear about every team (Cubs & Dodgers) in with Tanaka but you never hear Big Hal with a Yankee offer.

    I wonder if it was a smoke screen all along and Hal never really was going to go all out and bid for Tanaka and was more concerned with the $ 189 million dollar payroll.

    The shift in power already went from the Yankees to the real big market team the Dodgers.

    • CashmanNinja

      You do realize that all of those things you hear are leaks, right? They can be by (anonymous) employees involved or from rival teams laying out a smokescreen. Cashman does a pretty good job when it comes to keeping things secret. Some of his recent trades have come out of nowhere and some of the signings have as well — like the Ellsbury deal. Cashman and company don’t like to negotiate through the media. That doesn’t mean they don’t send out smokescreens just like every other team does. The Yankees wouldn’t have spent all that money scouting Tanaka so heavily the last few years to come up with a lame bid. This isn’t Kei Igawa.

      • RetroRob

        You’re right. Generally most of the Yankee signings have no rumors attached. They just appear, such as the recent McCann and Ellsbury signings.

        They’re obviously in on Tanaka.

    • mt

      I understand your concern about smoke screens but wait until after Tanaka signs somewhere – I am sure press will report whether Yankees ever made an offer and the offer amount – then you can complain if Yanks did not make an offer or if offer was substandard – however, if Yanks bid 6 years at $124 million but Cubs/Mariners/Dodgers blow away with 7 years at $154 million, will you still say Yanks were concerned with $189 million payroll in bidding to Tanaka? – I would say no – another team would have blown them away. It happens.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Give me a fucking break.

      Go read one of the MLBTR chats with Adams. Listen to every expert get asked who they think he’ll sign with. What’s their answer, more often that not? The Yankees.

      You’re choosing to interpret what you hear as nothing.

      • Farewell Mo

        We shall see.

        With the Dodgers payroll approaching $250 million and the Yankees currently hovering somewhere in the $180s, there’s no good reason for the Yankees not to come in with the best offer for Tanaka now that it’s a negotiation and not a blind bid.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Go tell them, then.

          • Farewell Mo

            I’m sure they already know.

            Now it’s time for them to show us just how committed to winning they are or if the bottom line is the priority.

            • LitFig

              So 200 mil for Tanaka (who has yet to move, live or pitch here) or Hal should sell the team?

              Look, I want Tanaka too, but there has to be a point where the Yankees say “No”.

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                Nuance will get you nowhere with this guy.

                Agreed, though, although I do see myself often swayed by the megabucks arguments.

        • qwerty

          Except for one thing: the whole purpose of staying under 189 is to avoid the luxury tax. Investing 33 million a year in Tanaka is not how you do that.

          • KyleLitke

            Why not just say eleventy billion? Why in the world would you even entertain the idea that Tanaka will get more than Kershaw just got? Tanaka is going to get a ton of money, but 33 million??? Huh?

            Regardless, 189 is done. They almost certainly can’t get there this year and this was their last chance for a long time, because A-Rod is back on the books one way or another next year.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Also, Ervin ain’t coming cheap either.

  • CashmanNinja

    I would rather give up the pick for Jimenez or overpay for Garza than go after Santana. Sure he’s got some alright ‘stuff’, but he’s the kind of guy who relies on said stuff too much and makes too many mistakes. I just feel he’d be absolutely awful in Yankee Stadium and with the pressure that comes with a big contract. To put it in perspective…he would make A.J. Burnett look like Nolan Ryan. I have absolutely no faith in Santana — plus I remember him saying he wanted like $105 mil or something like that earlier in the off-season. I’d rather go 5/75 for Jimenez…

    • Chip Rodriguez

      Yeah, Ubaldo seems to have a higher ceiling, and while Garza won’t blow anyone away, he seems solid with a good history pitching in a hitter friendly park.

      Santana… ugh.

      • CashmanNinja

        If Garza could stay healthy then he’d be my first choice because I feel he’d be the cheapest overall and wouldn’t require a draft pick. But the injuries are a little unnerving. I’d still take him over Santana. People need to remember how bad Santana was just the previous year ago:

        9 wins, 13 losses, 178 IP, 133 K, 5.16 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 2.0 HR/9 (!)

        His numbers may have been alright last year (he still had a losing record, but it’s not like his team was a playoff team), but some of the other peripherals were on line. He had the SAME strike out rate last year as he did the previous year so it’s not like he simply lost his stuff that last year with the Angels. Even his walk rate and home run rate were pretty much on par for his career average. I just do not like the guy. Even if he cost half of the original projected contract then no thanks. We could have kept Phil Hughes for a fraction of the price and hoped he could finally become semi-decent because Santana is literally just a slightly more established version of Phil Hughes. Ew.

      • KyleLitke

        For me it’s Tanaka #1, Ubaldo a distant #2, and that’s about it. Garza’s a very reluctant #3 if he doesn’t cost too much, but while there’s some things to like about Garza, his home run rate is barely better than Santana’s (especially if you ignore the nutty 2 per 9 as a bit of an outlier). Garza’s last 5 years: 1.1, 1.2, 0.6, 1.3, 1.2. Except for the 0.6, those really aren’t very good, and two of them came with the Rays. The home run rate is even worse on the road in his career (and since Yankee Stadium is just about the worst place for a RHP to give up home runs, that doesn’t make me confident). I’d prefer Garza to Ervin Santana, but I don’t really like either guy. If they lose out on Tanaka, I’d want Ubaldo. I don’t entirely trust him but I like the lack of home runs and the upside. Don’t really care about the draft pick. If the Yankees still had their first rounder I might, but having already lost that, we’re not even talking about giving up a first rounder for him, it’s only a second rounder (I think…they’re not already down to third round, are they?). Nice to have, but the Yankees need a starting pitcher a lot worse than a back of the second round pick.

  • Mike

    I’d only go for one yr deal right now w any of those guys and let them reestablish market value and not lock into to long deals

  • Dalek Jeter

    No, no no no no, no no, no. NO, no no no, no no no no. I’m usually towards the middle of the spectrum leaning towards having faith that the organization has a better handle on what it’s doing than we do as fans….but god no. Before having a really good year in 2013 Santana was AWFUL in 2012, he hasn’t had a K/9 higher than 7.01 since 2008, regularly has a BB/9 around 3, before last season had an FIP below 4 exactly once (2008), and has never had a GB% above 50%. On top of all of this he’s on the other side of 30, has been in the league for 9 years and has been a 3 win or better player (fWAR) 3 times in his career (2006,2008,2013).

    tl;dr Cashman doesn’t fail often but when he does he signs Ervin Santana.

    • CashmanNinja

      To put things in perspective…I’d rather just send Adam Warren out every 5 days than sign Santana. I absolutely loathe Santana with a passion. He just is not a very good pitcher and doesn’t deserve a mega contract. If he were 25 years old then I could see a team risking it on his potential, but we’ve basically seen the best of what Santana has to offer and it isn’t anywhere close to the money he wants. I’m thinking more like 4/40 as the absolute max — and even that is only if they were truly desperate. Not a penny more than that and I pray it doesn’t even come to that.

      And a side note…for those saying they’d take him for a year so he can “rehab” his value. Uh…he finally had his “career year” last year after having some truly scary seasons (go look at 2012). His value is not going to get higher, nor is a pitcher like that going to risk another year of pitching without being locked up. He had his best year during his walk year and now wants to be paid. Pitchers like that are the ones you stay away from because the good year is the outlier. Plus we’d have to give up a draft pick for him so unless he has a historically good season on a 1 year deal then he’ll be like the next Kyle Lohse and take forever to sign because nobody wants to do a short-term deal that will require a pick.

      • Chip Rodriguez

        Warren, Phelps, even Nuno from what little we’ve seen all seem preferable to Santana.

  • mt

    If no Tanaka, prefer Jimenez, Garza, even Maholm, and then Santana only if contract is really favorable (which it probably won’t be).

    It would be bad to finally get rid of Phil Hughes to sign Santana at a premium.

  • Dicka24

    Maholm…meh. I’d rather promote from within than sign someone like Maholm. I hope the Yankees avoid Santana too. I like him as a pitcher, but he’s totally not made for Yankee Stadium. Why spend $15 million per over 5 years, with draft pick compensation, when you could have just resigned Hughes on the short/cheap? The point is, I’d pass on Ervin.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    I think we’re underestimating Santana quite a bit here. He’s no scrub. I understand the concerns, but he’s a solid, durable pitcher.

    That being said, of course I’ll be disappointed if he’s the three kings’ delayed present.

  • nsalem

    Sanata’s ERA in current AL East ballparks over hiis career is 5.38. This over 40 starts and also over a 9 year period so one could question if it has any relevance towards what he will do in 2014.

  • uyf1950

    Just my opinion but I don’t think the Yankees spent almost $300MM this off season on on 3 high profile FA position players just to start the season with “so they could fill out the rotation with cheap pitcher if they fail to sign Masahiro Tanaka…”

    A starting rotation of: CC, Kuroda, Nova and 2 question marks is not all that inspiring. If those 2 question marks are made up of some combination of: Phelps/Warren/Pineda and Nuno. Lets not forget it’s not like CC and Nova specifically don’t present some questions themselves.

    • TWTR

      I agree. Unless Tanaka doesn’t want to play here, I think Hal finds a way to make him want to play here.

      • Farewell Mo

        If the Dodgers make an offer close to the Yankees, it’s gonna be hard for him to say no IMO. Besides the fact it’s closer to Japan and a better place for his wife, that team is in a MUCH better position to win now and it’s obvious they’ll spare no expense to ge better. They also play in a pitchers park in a pitchers division in a league much more conducive for success from a pitchers point of view.

        Other than the Yankees history, what makes it more desirable to sign with NY over LA?

        • TWTR

          Maybe, but we just don’t know what his priorities are.

          If the Yankees sign Tanaka after signing McCann, Ellsbury, and Beltran (and having a $140m offer rejected by Choo), it’s reasonable to think that they will “spare no expense to get better.”

          Granted, I am a homeboy (and a fanboy), but I think the opportunity to put on the pinstripes and play in the greatest city in the world is pretty unique.

          • LitFig

            …to us, as New Yorkers, yes. To someone who comes from somewhere else? The uniform isn’t going to be as special.

            • TWTR

              The Yankees are truly a global brand. My guess is that more kids around the world know of the Yankees than any other sports team in the US.

              I also would guess that more people around the world want to come to NY than LA.

              Now, maybe you’re right, but who knows?

              • Kosmo

                You are right, the Yanks are a “global brand“. I live in Europe and EVERYDAY I see someone wearing a Yankee cap. They may not no the first thing about baseball or who the Yanks are but the cap signifies some form of identification with the city.

              • LitFig

                I don’t think you are wrong. There is no way of knowing how Tanaka feels.

                It’s like LeBron and THE DECISION. The media drummed up Madison Square Garden and the city and the marketing and all that. In the end, he chose Miami because they were more talented. In many ways the Dodgers are the Heat. They have better in their prime players than we do, better weather, an easier league and are closer to Japan.

                Maybe Tanaka just wants the best contract possible.

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  First of all, let’s not compare the Knicks to the Yankees. The only thing those two franchises share in common in the city they play in. The early 1970’s were a long time ago, and the New York Knicks have been a laughable franchise since.

                  The Heat had to pretty much gut their franchise to make room for Lebron, re-signing DWade, and bringing Bosh on board. Lebron chose the Heat because the Heat had the flexibility to make signing all three happen, PLUS because Wade would have been hard-pledged to leave the city he has huge ties to.

                  We have no clue what Tanaka wants, but I think the New York Yankees still offer a FAR better experience for a player like him, looking to make a splash in American baseball, than the Dodgers do. We have history. We have one of the greatest rivalries in sports playing every year. We have the ability to still play alongside a legendary player in Derek Jeter. Everyone appears to be so impressed by a team that acts as if they have a bottomless wallet, but that team not only hasn’t won anything yet, but doesn’t any history of note since they played in Brooklyn, NY.

                  • Chris W.

                    I agree in general, but the Knicks weren’t laughable in the 1990s.

                    • Jorge Steinbrenner

                      Yes, but I’m a Heat fan. Good luck getting me to say anything positive about 90’s Knicks teams. As loathsome as the 00’s Red Sox. :)

                      Nothing bad to say about Ewing. Class act.

                  • Farewell Mo

                    The Knicks have been pathetic the last 10 years but I’d hardly say they’ve been a “laughable franchise ” since the early 70s

                    They were consistently one of the top teams through much of Patrick Ewing’s career including 2 trips to the NBA finals, one of which they lost by a single missed shot. Many of those years, they simply has the misfortune of losing to the greatest player in the history of sports.

        • LitFig


          Seriously, if the offers are close, you choose the Dodgers for all the reasons you stated.

      • vicki

        yep. if you think a guy is worth 120, don’t you go to 140 if that nets him? it’s a question of whether they feel he’s a nine figure player to begin with, and how tanaka feels about playing in new york.

    • KyleLitke

      The starting rotation has the potential to be very ugly. Signing random mediocre guys and crossing your fingers is not going to even get them to the playoffs unless they get really lucky and everything breaks right.

  • Kosmo

    I like Santana to a degree. He´s posted at least a 2.9WAR in 5 of his 8 seasons. He´ll pitch 200 innings. He´s pitched OK ball at Fenway and has had limited success pitching against the AL east. He´s not faired well at YS.

    IF the Reds extend Bailey and with the Dodgers extending Kershaw the FA SP class of 2015 is beginning to thin out. Scherzer and Shields?

    I really hope NY signs Tanaka AND Garza. Kuroda will be gone in 2015.

  • Farewell Mo

    I have little doubt Santana would be an epic failure pitching in YS3 similar to Hughes at double the salary.

    Much rather go with Jimenez who at least has a high ceiling.

  • LitFig

    Not a fan of Santana or Garza, especially for AJ Burnett-esque dollars.

    Jimenez at least has the POTENTIAL to dominate.

    If we can’t get Tanaka (and at this point, I await to see the dollar amount he signs to), I’d rather just let Pineda/Warren/Phelps/Nuno fight it out for the 4th and 5th spots. At some point we are going to have to develop some middle/back of the rotation arms. The cost of it is getting ridiculous.

    • KyleLitke

      I think the issue is, are you willing to tank the season to develop a back of the rotation guy? Not saying Jimenez is a season saver(I agree on Santana and Garza, for the record), but the Yankees badly need another starter. Phelps had an ERA just shy of 5.00 last year…I think he’s a useful player, but realistically he shouldn’t even be the 5th starter on a great team, he should be the 6th or so. Pineda has barely pitched in two years…I have no problem making him the 5th starter if he looks good in Spring, but relying on him AND Phelps (or Warren, who hasn’t exactly had lights out minor league numbers in awhile…he was acceptable last year in the majors, but not terribly great with a very high WHIP and a decently high home run rate) is a recipe for an absolute disaster, especially since you’d have very little to back those guys up. Using that group of four guys as the 5th starter with the other three backing them up, sure, at least one will hopefully do well enough. Using them for two spots and really needing to rely on them, especially with the question marks from the rest of the rotation? Yikes.

      I don’t disagree with your points about developing arms, I just think after missing the playoffs last year and signing McCann/Ellsbury/Beltran, it would suck to miss the playoffs again because they decided their already shaky rotation (with Sabathia coming off a bad year, Kuroda old and coming off a poor last two months, and Nova, who looked great but this isn’t the first time he’s looked great then been terrible) really needed two more enormous question marks. At least Tanaka (and Ubaldo), who are both question marks, have excellent, top end of the rotation stuff. The other four either have mediocre stuff or, in Pineda’s case, we simply have no idea anymore.

  • cashjr

    I’m in the Tanaka or bust group. If you can get Tanaka, great and overpay a bit if you need to. However they may think he’s worth $120M (including the $20M payment) and be willing to pay $140M. But if the Cubbies or Dodgers are willing to pay $150 all in, then that’s really $30M more than the yanks thought he was worth. My guess is this will play out like Cano – Yanks will be serious maybe even 2nd best, but may not get him if someone wants to go over the top as suggested above.

    If we can’t get him, then don’t sign any of the Garza, Santana, Jimenez group unless they come down to a reasonable level (again as has been suggested above). I’d be happy with going with what they have and take a bunch of fliers like they did a few years ago and hope for the best.

    One last thing, it seems to me people either love NY or hate it, and either way will play into this. LA and Chicago are great cities, but nothing has the buzz that NYC has, and I think that is even more true for someone coming from another country. So unless he and his wife are “haters” then I think that helps the yanks. Of course if they are “haters” then we had no real chance from the beginning and would only be used to drive up the price.

  • uyf1950

    It may take a deal similar in length to what Kershaw signed 7 years with an opt out after 5 based on some criteria and a AAV of $20 to $22MM per to get him to sign on the dotted line. That’s 7 years / $140 to $152MM plus the $20MM posting fee. A whopping $160 to $170MM plus for a player who has never thrown a pitch in a MLB Game. Ownership has to decide if he’s worth it.

    The chances are some team will offer him something close to that which one it is I don’t think anyone knows yet.

    • RetroRob

      All it takes is one. That’s what Cano needed and found with the Mariners. That’s what Tanaka needs.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Funny how all the Cubbie news is coming from Cubbie writers on Twitter.