FORT MYERS, FLA. – The Twins have made a three-year contract offer to free-agent righthander Ervin Santana, according to a report Sunday on CBSSports.com.
Indications are, however, that Santana wants to sign a one-year deal, with the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles among the favorites.
Twins officials declined to comment on the report, but they didn’t deny it either, so where there’s smoke there might be fire.
Santana, 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA last season with Kansas City, turned down the Royals’ $14.1 million qualifying offer during the offseason and elected free agency. Because of the qualifying offer, any team that signs Santana would have to relinquish a draft pick in this summer’s draft. For the Twins, one of the worst teams in baseball last season, that would be a second-round pick.
Santana might be seeking a one-year deal so he can re-enter free agency after this season. And it’s possible he would seek assurances that the team that signs him not make a qualifying offer, which would enable him to sign a lucrative long-term deal more easily.
Adding Santana would essentially end the Twins’ competition for a fifth starter, unless they were able to trade one of the other starters.
Santana is one of three free agents, along with shortstop Stephen Drew and first baseman Kendrys Morales, that remain available after declining a qualifying offer.
Two other players only signed after the start of spring training, both with the Orioles. Ubaldo Jimenez cost Baltimore the No. 17 overall pick in the draft when the former Cleveland righthander received a four-year, $50 million deal in February.
Slugger Nelson Cruz, who was suspended 50 games last year for his connections to a Miami clinic that sold performance- enhancing drugs, then signed a one-year deal worth $8 million. Because the Orioles previously signed Jimenez, acquiring Cruz cost them a second-round pick.
The deal also meant Cruz cost himself $6.1 million by declining Texas’ qualifying offer.