Wolfson: Yankees recently inquired about Ervin Santana

Scott Sizemore and the final bench spot
Monday Night Open Thread

Via Darren Wolfson: The Yankees were one of several teams in inquire about Ervin Santana recently. Ken Rosenthal says the right-hander is finally progressing towards a deal, but Tim Dierkes hears talks still have a ways to go before anything is finalized.

Last month we heard the Yankees requested Santana’s medical records, but that was before they signed Masahiro Tanaka and it was said to only be due diligence. The 31-year-old pitched quite well last season (3.24 ERA and 3.93 FIP) but he’s very fly ball and homerun prone, making him a bad fit for Yankee Stadium. Santana would be an upgrade over the team’s internal fifth starter candidates, though I would be surprised if the team spent that kind of money on another starter at this point.

Scott Sizemore and the final bench spot
Monday Night Open Thread
  • Yankeefan91

    i Prefer Ubaldo Jimenez

    • jjyank

      So do I. Though I think I’m okay going to war with the rotation we have.

    • Dan

      I totally agree. Ubaldo profiles better for the Stadium and has a higher upside. Having said that, I’d much rather they spend on Drew if they’re going to spend $10m AAV on a player anyway. He plays in a position of need. I like having the number 5 spot as an open competition.

      • ALZ

        For me it would depend what their plan is for ss. If they insist Jeter will be out there everyday, then Ubaldo would be way more valuable. Drew doesn’t bring much over Johnson/Roberts if it’s not at ss, Ubaldo could be huge upgrade over anything at 5th slot.

    • nycsportzfan

      I like Santana better myself. I like his demeanor. To me, Santana believes in his stuff, and it seems at times, Jiminez looks like a deer in headlights on the mound. I think Santana can handle NYC better. Just my observation.

    • Jim Harper

      I prefer going with what we have. Somewhere we have a solid #5 and he will surface in spring training. Jiminez is good but way too expensive for a #5.

  • TWTR

    I would prefer that they spend the money on the infield.

  • WFAN Caller

    I would prefer that they spend money on tops for the souvenir beer cups instead of Home Run Santana.

  • http://www.twitter.com/mattpat11 Matt DiBari


  • jsbrendog

    here is one:

    what if he comes on a Kyle Lohse contract, 3 for 30?

  • CashmanNinja

    If they were that concerned about the rotation than I’d *MUCH* rather spend a few bucks more and get Ubaldo over Santana. Santana is a HR machine and just a bad fit for Yankee Stadium. At least Ubaldo has put up solid numbers in Coors Field before and was very good post All-Star break.

    • Kyle Litke

      I’m not even sure Ubaldo would cost more. I also like Ubaldo better, but I think teams in a bigger ballpark might prefer Ervin, since Ubaldo was bad for an extended period of time leading into last year.

      • CashmanNinja

        Ubaldo did have that rough stretch, but Santana was insanely bad for a full season only like 2 years ago. I mean *bad*.

        9 wins, 13 losses, 178 IP, 133 K, 5.16 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 74 ERA+ (ouch), 2 HR/9.

        He literally averages an ERA+ of 100 over his career. And I know that Ubaldo actually had back-to-back bad years (and then half a bad season after that), but his career ERA+ is still 112. In a perfect world I’d say neither because I don’t think any is worth a draft pick and big contract … and I doubt they’ll suddenly take a very team friendly deal; they’ll most likely settle for a very short term deal and hit the market next year. So if I had to pick I’d go with Jimenez, but I’d personally rather just see what we have in Phelps, Warren, Nuno, Pineda, etc. But of course that also gives less insurance if Nova reverts back to his old (bad) self too, in which case we’d be screwed.

        • Kyle Litke

          I agree on Ervin, but Ubaldo was even worse than that in 2012.

          9 wins, 17 losses, 176 IP, 143 strikeouts, 5.40 ERA, 1.613 WHIP (!), 72 ERA+. Even the home run rate was high (albeit not nearly as high as Ervin).

          Both were awful. The difference I think is that Ervin was very good in 2010 and 2011, which makes 2012 look like an outlier, whereas Ubaldo was pretty terrible overall in 2011 as well. His 2010 was also far better than anything Santana has ever done, but when you’re bad for two straight years, it’s tougher to convince people you’re back because of 5 good (but not great) months. That’s why I think for some teams, they’d prefer Ervin, and why I think Ervin could get more…I think a lot of teams see him as less of a risk. For a team like the Yankees, I’d MUCH rather have Ubaldo…I want a guy who can keep the ball in the ballpark, and Ervin is not that guy. I wouldn’t want to give out a huge contract or anything, but I really don’t care much about a second round draft pick, not enough to pass on a player that can help the team now. The problem would be if he costs a good amount of money on a multiyear contract…the cost might not be worth it and could prevent the Yankees from signing someone that would be better. I’d be very interested in a one year deal though…the downside is he stinks (but let’s be honest, of the four guys in the running for fifth starter, Phelps stunk last year, Warren had a very good ERA but the rest of his numbers were not that great, Nuno probably has limited upside…Pineda’s the guy that could be better than Ervin or Ubaldo, but it’s a BIG if due to his shoulder), they lose a second round draft pick, and he’s gone after this year anyway. The upside is he’s back to his old self and they either extend him or they turn that second round draft pick into a first round draft pick next year.

          I don’t think Ubaldo ends up signing a one year deal, though. But I do think there’s a greater than zero chance of him doing it (albeit, again, very, very unlikely unless he really wants to rebuild value). I don’t think there’s any chance Ervin signs a one year deal, and I’d definitely pass on him even under those circumstances I think.

  • Kevin
  • willie w

    give our youngsters a chance !

    • Eternal Spring

      Agree with Willie. Everyone bashing the farm system, yet we have an intriguing 5th man competition. If Pineda is back to form, if Banuelos is back to form, and if not our high ceiling Gang of 2, Phelps has proven he’s as good or slightly better than .500 pitcher, which is what you’d get for $10MM a year with these two mediocre #5 pitchers. The farm system will never be rated highly if we don’t let them ever make the majors, and we have several now, and several on the way, who are MLB players. Go kid, don’t eat contracts for mediocrity in years 2-3 for these guys. All they are is available.

      • Kyle Litke

        I don’t know that it’s all that intriguing though. I think only Pineda has real upside if the shoulder is okay. Phelps was not good last year, I’m not sure why it went unnoticed, but his ERA was right around 5 with a not so good WHIP. Warren has a good ERA but nothing else was terribly good…he gave up a good amount of home runs and walked too many guys. I’d be interested in seeing more of Nuno, but most who watch him a lot more than I have seem to think he doesn’t have much of a put away pitch and is a 5th starter at best, and maybe not even that.

        And I LIKE Banuelos, but forget even the injury and surgery…he hasn’t actually been GOOD since A ball in 2010.

        I just think people are seriously overrating a lot of these guys. Banuelos needs to show a hell of a lot before he can honestly even be in consideration, as he was awful in AA and above even before the injury. Phelps ERA was only slightly better than Hughes, and people wanted Hughes dragged out into the street and shot. You’re talking about a group of guys that (not counting Pineda) probably TOP OUT in their very best case scenario as #5 guys, and more likely most of them are bullpen or spot starter guys. Banuelos has a bit more upside than that but hasn’t shown anything at all above A ball, back in 2010.

        • willie

          most of the great pitchers of the past 20 years did not start out setting the world on fire
          they had teams that gave them a chance though.
          look at the stats
          for example cliff lee had an era over 5 in 33 starts in 2004 at the age of 25
          and 6.29 at the age of 28
          at 29 he went 22 and 3

  • Dennis

    I prefer if they spend the money on me :)

  • Kyle Litke

    My guess is this was bad information. The Yankees checking in back before Tanaka signed makes sense, even if Ervin is a bad fit in Yankee Stadium. NOW, though, with Tanaka signed, no indication the Yankees are going to make another signing for decent money, and pitchers and catchers reporting soon? Why even bother inquiring about him unless you think he might sign a one year deal or something (which I doubt for Santana…I also doubt that for Ubaldo, but it makes slightly more sense for him since a one year deal would give him the opportunity to show that the Ubaldo from April 29th on is the real Ubaldo. Ervin is more like a guy who had one bad season in 2012 in between 3 solid to strong seasons (2010, 2011, 2013). I’m not sure Ervin signing a one year contract does anything for him unless he wins the Cy Young, but Ubaldo could theoretically turn it into a better contract than he’d get now if he can prove he’s “back”. I don’t expect that to happen though.

  • Vincent Vega

    Ubaldo’s velocity has dropped every single year. I’m not sure he can keep it together for 3 more years

  • tommy cassella

    yanks don’t need another phil hughes.

  • Preston

    I like our options for the 5th starter. I’d rather get multiple bullpen options or if they really want to burn the money and make a splash just get Drew.

  • Dasani

    Phil Hughes all over again.

    • Eternal Spring

      Hughes still has more upside than these two

  • jjyank

    Gotta say, I’m pretty surprised how slowly the pitching market has moved after the Tanaka signing. I’m not a fan of Santana, so…pass.

    I can be talked into Ubaldo though.

  • GreenArmMike

    Forgive me if it’s a touch off subject, but at least it’s still a P. Is anyone else going to watch the old Tanaka game YES is airing tonight? And is anyone else going to forget it’s an old game and still expect him to leave injured, now that he’s officially a Yankee?

    In all seriousness though, should be cool to watch him pitch a whole game, as opposed to just clips or whatnot.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    I’d wager some writer got their timeline wrong here and that this is pre-Tanaka tire-kicking.

    • Kyle Litke

      That’s what I think too. Just doesn’t make any sense to me now. I can maybe, MAYBE see the Yankees poking their heads in on Ubaldo to see if he’s willing to take a one year deal to rebuild value (and even then I don’t think they do it), but Ervin? Doubt it.

  • LitFig

    If we are going this route of paying $10-$15 mil per for 5th starters, someone is going to have to explain to me why we didn’t give Cano the contract he wanted. Like we really would’ve been paining for money in 2021.

    Giving Ubaldo Jiminez or Ervin Santana or Stephen Drew these types of deals (not saying they have or they will, just thinking out loud) would be insane and a waste of resources.

    Oh wait….(Zombie-like response) “It’s not my money”

    • Dan

      Because going 10 years on Cano and taking him into his 40’s would have been insane. 2nd baseman don’t age well, and even if Cano ages better than normal (and I think he will), the last 3-4 years of this deal would have been bad news.

      With Santana/Ubaldo/Drew, the max length of any of those contracts would be about 3 years. 3 years/ $10-15 per isn’t a contract the Yankees would regret; even if the players regress.

    • Kyle Litke

      There’s a pretty enormous difference between signing a 30 year old for 3-4 years at most, or a 30 year old to a deal where he may very well opt out after this year anyway, and signing a 31 year old to a 10 year, over 20 million a year deal where they’ll still be paying him huge money in his 40s. That’s the type of deal the Yankees need to stay far, far away from, as much as I loved Cano.

  • Nick

    Not likely, but it would be pretty cool if they signed the guy specifically to use as a trade deadline piece. Granted, he would need to accept a 1 year deal for this to work, but look at the package the cubs got for Garza. Who knows, maybe they could even use him to swing a three way deal for a position of need.

    It would also allow them to ease Pineda and Banuelos back into pitching full time at AAA.

    • Kyle Litke

      I’d be pretty cool with them signing Ubaldo to a make good, improve value 1 year deal (although I don’t expect him to sign one, for the record…I think there’d be a better chance of him doing it than Santana though). If he’s bad, that sucks and you lost a second round draft pick, but he’s gone after this season anyway. If he’s good, you can either trade him or get a first round draft pick (or extend him I suppose).

      I think both Ervin and Ubaldo sign multi year deals though, which makes a lot less sense for the Yankees.

  • Craig

    Have we all just givin up hope of any kind of return of Pineda?

    • Kyle Litke

      I’m not really in favor of signing Ervin at all, or Ubaldo except on a rebuild value one year deal, but I don’t see how either says anything about Pineda. I’m sure the Yankees aren’t giving up on Pineda, but it would be idiotic of them to count on him to definitely bounce back and not have another plan in place. They’ve got enough mediocre back end starters to piece something together if he doesn’t bounce back, but if they decided to sign someone, I don’t see where it says anything about him. Someone inevitably will get hurt, Pineda can pitch in AAA until then, and the “worst case” scenario is nobody gets hurt, everyone is pitching pretty well, Pineda looks great, and he replaced Kuroda next season. Much more likely is someone is terrible or gets hurt and Pineda (in the scenario where he’s pitching really well and it looks like his stuff is back) steps in for them. Not exactly a disaster there.

      I’m more than fine with them entering the season with the rotation as is, but I don’t think another pitcher would immediately mean Pineda’s been given up on. Just not relied on.

  • deelmd

    To me, it’s not about need or wants anymore, but value. If Ubaldo and/or Drew can be brought in on contracts that are BELOW market value relative to the WAR that they would bring, then I would pull the trigger every day, all day. The Yankees don’t need new players now, but we have a situation developing where quality mlb talent can be had on a team-friendly deal; and that doesn’t happen very often. (Do santanna is homer prone and prefer Ubaldo because of Coors field experience and higher upside).

  • Gerry

    Home run prone? Then, signing him would be like signing Phil Hughes. No thanks.

  • Frank

    Pitching wins. While I think they should sign Drew to be the PERMANENT shortstop…they won’t. And he loses value at any other position. So, if you’re going to spend more, spend it on pitching. Phelps is nothing special and until Pineda makes it through 7 innings on a consistent basis, in the minors, he’s not the #5. It would be great if that happened. Actually, amazing, but I doubt that it does.