braves logoDesperation can cause rapid changes in our best laid plans, and so it was for the Atlanta Braves, who just a week ago appeared all set with their rotation, and were nowhere near any Ervin Santana rumors.

Flash forward a few days and a couple injuries later, and Santana is a Brave.

The 31-year-old righty who started the offseason seeking a $100 million contract settles for a one-year deal worth about $14 million, according to reports. Santana helps fill the void that may have been left by Kris Medlen, who has at least a partially-torn UCL, and could miss significant time. The Braves are also dealing with a Brandon Beachy injury (biceps/elbow tightness). GettingĀ someone was an absolute necessity at this point, even if it meant blowing out their budget for the 2014 season, as the Braves likely now have done.

That someone could have been Jeff Samardzija, as there was an uptick in Samardzija-Braves chatter over the last couple days, given the Braves’ need and previous interest in Samardzija. With Santana in the fold, the Braves are probably done adding arms, even if Beachy goes down for a lengthy period.

With Santana off the market, teams that were reportedly interested in him – the Blue Jays, the Orioles, the Mariners – could potentially come back to the Cubs about Samardzija, but it still remains likely that nothing happens on that front until midseason at the earliest. Everyone seems resigned to the idea that Samardzija will start the year with the Cubs, and the sides will see what happens over the first few months of the season. Maybe they come back together for extension talks at that point, or maybe the Cubs sell him off to the highest bidder.

Either way, we’ll see if anything new pops up now that Santana has signed.

By signing Santana, the Braves lose a late first round pick, and the Royals pick up a compensatory pick at the end of the first round. Thus, there is no net impact on the Cubs’ second round placement (had Santana signed with, for example, the Orioles or Blue Jays, the Cubs’ pick would have been bumped back by one spot).

  • MichiganGoat

    So after all this he basically signs for the qualifying offer he was offered before the offseason. I’d say he was lucky to get that.

    • Brett

      Definitely, given the way things shook out. That said, he had the opportunity many times (or so I’ve read) to take a deal like the one Ubaldo got – in the three to four year, $30 to $40 million range. Kept holding out for more. Total misread.

      Not as bad as Morales and Cruz, though.

      • MichiganGoat

        This year should really change how teams and players think about qualifying offer for 2nd tier free agents. I’m sure Santana was regretting not accepting the offer and giving him another year to prove that he was worth a larger contract, but it was always foolish to think he could get anything close to 100M. Next year if he is offered a 30-40M contract I’m sure he won’t say no.

        • WGNstatic

          This year *should* change the thinking, but then again, isn’t that what everyone said last year with regards to Kyle Lohse?

          • hansman

            It’s a common thread with MLB. I am better/smarter than X so I will succeed where they failed!

            Nevermind that a lot of 2nd tier QO guys fail to get much more than the QO or that a player has 3 years of failure at the MLB level (GMs signing/trading for scrap heaps), we can do something better and have a good outcome!

          • aaronb

            Kyle Lohse did ok last year in waiting out the QO. The Brewers did ok in locking him up for 3 years at a reasonable rate.

            They should do the same thing while they have a chance with Kendry Morales right now.

        • Diehardthefirst

          Always so sure- how so? When did you last talk to him? Do tell- we can’t wait to find out

        • Kyle

          Santana didn’t lose anything by not taking the qualifying offer.

          A couple of players might reconsider next year, but the vast majority will still reject and should.

          • JacqueJones

            He was clearly lucky to not lose anything though. If not for this injury forcing the braves hand, he would have either A. been stuck on a team he didnt want to be on for 14 mill, or B. go to a better team for a discounted price.

            Morales, Drew, and Cruz screwed themselves though.

    • Orval Overall

      Well, he signs it with a better team, with a great bullpen, strong offense (read: opportunity to pile up a good W/L record heading into next year), and good chance of making a playoff run. Probably also a team that is less likely to QO him again next year than the Royals were.

      But yeah, depending on what happens with Drew and Morales, I think you’re going to start seeing some guys in the next year or two actually accept these QOs when they are legitimately above their market value (or at least, above what their market value will be when a 1st round pick is added to the price of signing them).

      • JacqueJones

        I think teams know this and wont give the QO to any players they wont be prepared to pay the 14 million to.

    • Funn Dave

      They’re atheletes, not business people. I can understand criticizing players for baseball performance, but is it really our place to take potshots at their economic acumen?

      • Jon

        What the f’ are you talking about Dave?

  • Diehardthefirst

    Deal failed cause Theo overvalued Shark… Still time to deal to Phillies tho

    • Soda Popinski

      Diehard, in my head your posts are always read in a 1930s paperboy voice on the corner of New York City: “Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Deal failed cause Theo overvalued Shark!”

      I don’t know why.

      • Diehardthefirst

        Must be a lot of extra room to fit in so many thoughts

  • Spoda17

    He was lucky to get $14m because the Braves became very desperate…

    Diehard… there was a deal for Shark that fell through..? I must have missed that bit of nugget news…

    • ssckelley

      I heard the Cubs asking for Terd was more than the Braves wanted to give up.

      • Diehardthefirst

        He would’ve settled OF and be sub for Rizzo- short sighted by Theo

        • FullCountTommy

          Pretty sure it wasn’t short sighted to trade Shark for a 4th/5th outfielder when they already have guys like Kalish and Sweeney who fit that mold.

    • Diehardthefirst

      Theo wants teams to think Shark is a top of the rotation starter when in fact he’s a long relief guy at best.. Wishing ain’t going to make it so

      • Baron A. Redsie

        Even though I am a fan of his and watched him play baseball at ND, I’ve always thought that Samardzija was overrated. Yes, he’s had a few good games, but for the most part, it seems like he gets smacked around when he’s on the mound.

        Hopefully, some team buys Theo’s over-valued perspective and the Cubs are able to unload the Shark, whiles getting two good prospects in return. I would LOVE to see that happen before the season; before there are more documented examples of how overrated he really is…

        • snakdad

          Absolutely no reason to trade him now since teams aren’t willing to give what the Cubs are asking for. Trading him at midseason will likely bring a higher return IF he’s pitching well as teams in the hunt will be more likely to pull the trigger on a deal if they think it’ll put them over the top. And really, the difference between two years of club control and 1-1/2 years is hardly a big deal. Teams will still pay—just look at what we got for Garza who was just a rental.

    • MichiganGoat

      Well in the Die Hardian Universe there are always voices saying something šŸ˜‰

  • Darth Ivy

    I’m looking foward to when/if a declining team gives up too much for Samardzija just to stay relevant and the headline is, “Team X jumps the Shark”

    I thought about forcing that comment in now, but it doesn’t really fit.

  • CubFan Paul

    “maybe the Cubs sell him off to the highest bidder”

    I don’t see how certain teams don’t pounce/cave before the season.

    • Brett

      The Blue Jays need him as much as any team, but I can see it from there perspective: I’ll take my chances on someone like Drew Hutchison coming back well from Tommy John, and getting to keep Stroman and Sanchez. If it doesn’t work out in the first couple months, and we’re not out of the race, maybe then we step up our offer for Samardzija.

      • TK

        I think the possibility that many Cubs fans overlook, trying to over-simplify everything, is that the FO may legitimately want to re-sign Shark, but just don’t want to overpay (if he indeed never becomes true ace material). The lines I read between seem to indicate to me that both sides simply want a fair/accurately valued deal, which simply doesn’t seem possible to culminate at this time. I agree that i think both sides will realize and settle to some decision regarding his future (including his talent and potential level) this summer. If they really do want to keep him, it makes all the sense in the world to put a sky-high price tag on him. Even if he turns out to not be an ace SP, he could still be valuable to us as a 2 or 3. Its just a matter of seeing what he truly is. And I do believe that Shark (and the FO, for that matter) is reasonable, and will accept what he is, whatever that be, this summer.

        What I don’t get is why so many self-proclaimed baseball experts, aka Cubs fans, feel such a great need to trade him, especially with no legitimately identifiable playoff caliber future rotation (even considering dream scenario potential FA signings). Even more so, after a couple years starting, isn’t it reasonable to think he may still be improving, and that in 2014 (and beyond) he may actually fulfill his potential?

        • hansman

          The front office may also be thinking that he will perform like an ace this year and, especially, next year. If they can have a cheap near-ace pitcher, that makes building the 2015 team easier and if all they get is a draft pick but can be in contention next year, I don’t think they will mind.

        • CubFan Paul

          “aka Cubs fans, feel such a great need to trade him”

          Because he won’t sign an arbitration-extension (5/$55MMish).

          The longer samardzija stalls on signing, the closer he gets to free agency and the more his price rises.

          It’s pretty simple

        • Funn Dave

          Wouln’t putting a sky-high price tag likely raise his perception of his value?

          Also, I’m guessing “culminate” is not the word you wanted to use there.

        • Funn Dave

          As for your second paragraph, if we are going to trade Shark–and that remains a possibility up to or until he is extended–we’d get more value by trading earlier, while a potential trade partner has more years of control.

    • JadeBos

      Its still likely that a couple of teams have serious injuries or issues and Shark gets dealt early. Luckily Wrigley and April in the NL central is quite pitcher friendly. So the hope is Shark starts fast and someone panics.

      • CubFan Paul

        “So the hope is Shark starts fast and someone panics.”

        Shark started in October. I’m so impressed with his commitment & physical fitness. Most pitchers wouldn’t know what a core was if it hit them in the face

        If Castillo truly has tightened up his pitch framing Samardzija is due for a cy young type year

        • Edwin

          I think even getting just a little bit more luck on his HR/FB% and his LOB% should help make his ERA a lot more easy on the eyes.

  • Justin

    So, what are the chances the Braves made a handshake agreement to not make a qualifying offer to Santana after this yr? I know it’s illegal, but seems likely…

    • nick5253

      Is it illegal? I thought some former player had the same thing written into his actual contract? Obviously too lazy to research that… I don’t see why that should be just another bargaining point.

      • Kyle

        It is against the current CBA, but completely unenforcable.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Given that the reported offers from the O’s and Jays were for $13M and $12M, it is both more likely and more probable that Santana took the biggest offer.

      • Justin

        I am not sure about that Doc. A million or two seems pretty small when you think of the potential 10’s of millions these QO’s cost mid level free agents. I would be surprised if there wasn’t some sort of a promise to not offer him one. I am pretty sure that’s what the Nats did with EJax a couple yrs back too.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The Nats didn’t offer EJax a contract because they thought that he would accept it and they wanted to use that money for someone else. (The Nats have a roster with a lot of good young players who are getting big raises these days.) There is no need to add conspiracy theories to perfectly simple explanations!

          And as for a million or two seeming small, is a $140K offer not much different from a $130K offer? Of course the former is a lot different from the latter: it’s nearly 8% bigger. Santana was being offered 8-17% more money by the Braves than by the O’s or Jays. Whether you are talking thousands, 10’s of thousands or millions, that’s a big difference.

  • MightyBear

    I think if he pitches well this year, the Cubs might re-think signing him long term. The pitching free agent market that was supposed to be so rich is dwindling fast because teams are locking up their pitchers. It you’ve (the Cubs) got a good one, they might want to do the same. Kids in the system are pretty far away.

    • CubFan Paul

      “the Cubs might re-think signing him long term”

      At their price. Theo&Co aren’t going to overpay one of their own assets that could of been locked into the core for cheaper.

  • jeff1969

    Toronto’s GM has been quoted pretty much calling Santana a wimp, saying something like Santana didn’t want to pitch in the AL, so what can he do? This despite Santana pitching the last 9 years in the AL. I think it’s time to pounce with the Samardjiza to Toronto offer for the Cubs. Their GM is really feeling the pressure from their fans & the media in Toronto about his supposed genius, and he might be feeling the weakness to now include a guy like Sanchez in a deal.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Anthopoulos has been taking mounting heat from Jays fans since the Darvish bidding. However, his team probably is in better shape than people are assuming: they were badly hurt by injuries last year as well as winning about 5-6 games fewer than they should have based on their raw stats. The Jays actually are poised to be competitive this year as it is: but the pressure to “do something” might overwhelm rationality.

  • jschwei17

    I consider our FO very intelligent and they usually find “market deficiencies” but I think this is a missed opportunity. If we sign a contract like this one, we get a decent pitcher for 1 year and can get a compensation pick next year after he leaves. That would jump-start our rebuild now and down the road! This would be much more effective than giving EJax a four year deal!

    • ssckelley

      Unless Santana had a pretty good year I doubt the Cubs would offer him compensation and if they did I would doubt Santana passes it up a 2nd time.

      • aaronb

        Then you get to go year to year with him. He will always be either a 1 year QO or a comp pick going forward. (So long as he pitches well)