Sure enough, as speculated earlier in the week, and then suggested today by Ken Rosenthal, the Angels found a taker for pitcher Ervin Santana on the eve of having to make a decision on whether or not to pick up his $13 million option for 2013.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, the taker wasn’t the Cubs. The Angels just dealt Santana to the Royals for relief prospect Brandon Sisk. The Royals are calling Santana an immediate upgrade to their rotation, which probably says more about their rotation than Santana, who is better viewed as a flyer.

Also as expected, Sisk is a borderline non-prospect – he’s a 27-year-old relief pitcher who hasn’t yet cracked into the bigs. He has decent numbers, and could be a middle relief contributor for the Angels, but that’s not much for Santana.

Of course, that’s what was expected – the Angels were about to get nothing for him, so they snagged a middling borderline prospect for him. For their part, the Royals give up virtually nothing, and get a very expensive one-year deal on Santana ($13 million). Given that the price was merely Sisk, who does not appear to be in the Royals’ top 20 prospects, I’m a little disappointed the Cubs didn’t make a better offer. I suppose it’s unfair to assume that the Cubs were willing to use a rotation spot on the chance of Santana bouncing back – they might prefer other similar targets – but you gotta strike when you can, and this was do-able.

The upside here is that the Royals acquiring Santana – a decidedly middle tier type starter – could help reduce the market slightly for that level of pitcher, which is expected to be the Cubs’ primary target level.

The Angels have a little longer to make a move on Dan Haren, whose option decision isn’t due until Friday night.

  • terencemann

    If they could get Santana for nothing, I’m guessing you were right that the value for Haren could be pretty low, too.

    • Brett

      Hard to say for certain, but I do think Haren’s trade value is a fair bit higher (which is still quite low, given the $15.5 million price tag). One subtle distinction: the buyout on Haren’s option is $3.5 million, while Santana’s was just $1 million. That means the effective cost of the option for the Angels was $12 million for Santana and $12 million for Haren. Since they are on the hook for the buyout anyway, they may be sending along $3.5 million to a team that trades for Haren, making him a one year, $12 million pitcher … which is suddenly pretty darn attractive. I’m wondering if the acquisition price might be higher than I suspected.

      • BWA

        Actually wouldn’t that make his trade value go down even more? If they pay him they owe 15 million, if they let him reach free agency they will owe 3.5 million, but if they trade him they will owe nothing. Therefore they will want to trade him regardless to save the 3.5 million. Am I thinking of this in the wrong way?

        • BWA

          NVM I guess I didn’t read carefully. Why would they have to pay the buyout?

          • Brett

            They wouldn’t have to – but it’s the amount that makes sense to throw in if they’re trying to increase their return. Since they’re on the hook for at least the buyout amount either way, they can throw that much into the deal without increasing their obligations for next year (and get a better prospect in the process).

  • kmr1453

    One can only assume the Royals put this deal together quickly before any other team got in the picture. If nothing else, surely, the Cubs have a borderline non-prospect, late 20ish relief pitcher who can’t crack it in the bigs they could have traded for Santana

  • Mick

    The report said that the Royals also recieved cash from the Angels. How much is Sisk worth because Sanatan’s buyout was only $1M.

    • Brett

      Strongly suspect the $1 million is exactly what the Royals got (since that’s what the Angels were on the hook for, at most).

    • kmr1453

      Mike DiGiovanna ‏@MikeDiGiovanna

      The #Angels actually exercised Santana’s $13-million option before trade and are sending cash to #Royals as part of deal for Brandon Sisk.
      Retweeted by Bob Nightengale

  • morgan

    thought the cubs were in serious trade talks with the angels with jackson or vitters envolved,

    • terencemann

      I’m guessing one of those players could get Haren. There’s nothing that kills a player’s trade value like showing teams you’re desperate to get rid of him and you’re under a deadline.

      • Kyle

        Jackson for Haren would have the added bonus of there being no chance of Jackson being our CF next season.

    • Luke

      Where did you hear that? I’ve been out of the loop for a few hours.

      • Brett

        Not here.

  • clark addison

    I heard the Angels have a decent centerfielder.

    • OCCubFan

      Actually, the Angels have 4 centerfielders: Vernon Wells, multi-Gold-Glover Torii Hunter, Mike Trout, and Peter Bourjas, who may be an even better defender than Trout.

  • calicubsfan007

    At least the Royals are trying. Granted, getting Volstad and Santana really doesn’t seem like much of a step forward. My guess is that Santana will be their “ace”. It didn’t go well with the Royals and Sanchez, but I hope that Santana does work out for them. Besides, my guess is that the Royals will try to lock up Santana either now or midseason.

  • Carne Harris

    Good pass by the Cubs.

  • morgan

    bj upton for cf, get dan haren, youk for 3b, looks like they can at least compete, the cubs will compete if they get good pitching, haren, garza, jeff,

  • whatchamacallit

    What is “permalink”?

    • Brett

      It’s the individual URL for a blog post or a comment. Not really anything you’d have to worry about much.

  • When The Music’s Over

    Maybe the Cubs aren’t willing to spend as much money as some people think.

  • tjtrigo

    MLB Trade Rumors has only Shaun Marcum going to the Cubs in their top 50 free agent list…yikes.

  • the jackal

    rett what do you think Lahair to baltimore for someone since they lost reynolds

    • Brett

      Well, they haven’t lost Reynolds yet. Could still offer him arbitration (he’s in his third year of arb). They could have interest, though.

      • fromthemitten

        from what I’ve heard from locals here in MD the Orioles are looking to move Davis to 1B so unless they see Reynolds as a DH he’s gone.

        • Brett

          I never heard much about how Davis did in the outfield. First base is obviously his more natural position.

  • the jackal

    grrr soryy BRETT was what i meant

  • the jackal

    maybe for mclouth and cash or for one of there pitchers

  • the jackal

    saunders maybe/