Jays working on a deal for Ervin Santana?

Ervin Santana
Photo credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Trade Deadline Day! Things are starting to happen fast now, as the 4 PM ET deadline approaches, so I’ll try to make this quick as well. It’s likely to change — or turn into absolutely nothing! — but at the moment the big Jays rumour is that the club is looking to land Twins starter Ervin Santana.

Santana was, of course, nearly signed by the Jays in the spring of 2014, but ended up in Atlanta after Braves starter Kris Medlen got hurt while the deal hadn’t quite yet been finalized with a Jays club that tried to grind him to dust all winter by refusing to budge despite a clear need, and that needed to go hat-in-hand to its veteran players in order to restructure their contracts to free up the money to add him.

A PED suspension and a couple years in Minnesota later and Santana is… actually not a bad option, if you want to know the honest truth. He’s certainly not a particularly sexy name, especially compared to the Jays’ splashes last season at this time, but he’s been a pretty consistent 2.5-3 win pitcher in each of the last four seasons (if you prorate out his 1.3 fWAR over 17 starts in 2015), and this year sports a 3.66 ERA, with decent enough peripherals — albeit not the kind of strikeout numbers you’d fall all over yourself to land. He’s… decent.

He’s also making $13.5-million this year, and that same amount in 2016 and 2017, with a $14-million club option for 2019. That’s not crazy money for a veteran like him — not far beyond what R.A. Dickey is making.

Of course, there is the question of what he’ll cost. The first report to filter out suggested Drew Hutchison, which makes little sense given that much of the entire idea of the Jays adding a starter or two is about depth. They could do a thing like that and then find another depth piece, I guess, but I just don’t think that makes a lot of sense.

Another tweet, from a Minnesota beat writer, suggested that the Twins could be “tempted by” some of the Jays’ top prospects, like Sean Reid-Foley, Conner Greene, or Jon Harris, which… sure. But do you want to give up pieces like that for Santana?

Actually… maybe?

They’d have to give up something for a guy under team control on a not horrendous contract for that long, and it’s certainly possible that the new Jays regime simply isn’t as high on some of the prospects accumulated before they got here as the prospect gurus or places elsewhere in the industry are. So as much as we think the Jays want to hold tight to some prospects, it’s not at all out of the realm of possibility that they could see value there — especially if the Twins were maybe to pay some of Santana’s freight.

But that’s all theoretical at the moment — as are the questions about what adding a starter would mean in the immediate term for Aaron Sanchez. But they’re ones we may yet have to grapple with before the day is through. We shall see.

So, there’s that…