Ervin Santana wants over $100 million in free agency
Santana's 3.24 ERA was the lowest of his career, and was nearly two full runs below his 5.16 mark from the previous season. The 30-year-old Dominican is looking to capitalize on his career-best numbers, and is reportedly seeking a five-year contract worth over $100 million.
It's a great time to be a free agent in baseball, as MLB teams are loaded with money this offseason. The way life seems to go is that when someone has more money, he spends more money - that is likely to be the case with MLB general managers this offseason. After such a strong campaign during his first year with the Kansas City Royals, Santana may actually have a shot at getting his desired compensation.
Santana is arguably the best pitcher on the market this year, though most would say that Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka is the premier free agent pitcher. Regardless, teams will be lining up for Santana's services, and perhaps one of the big money clubs that misses out on Tanaka will desperately throw a big contract at Santana to salvage their offseason.
The most comparable pitcher I found from last year's free agent market is Zack Greinke, whose 3.48 ERA in 2012 was just 0.24 higher than Santana's. Greinke was 29 years old at the time he signed, while Santana is currently 30. Greinke brought home $135 million on a six-year deal, but don't take that to mean that Santana will surely get his $100 million. Greinke has a Cy Young award to his name, strikes out batters at a higher rate, and has a more consistent track record (Santana has three seasons with an ERA higher than 5.00). That being said, Santana could use Greinke as a reference point and take a contract worth a few million less annually.
The teams that should be interested in landing Santana include the Blue Jays and Brewers, as well as any of the big spenders who fail in persuading Tanaka to come to their cities (Yankees, Angels, Phillies, Giants, among others). The Royals, of course, would also like to retain Santana, but they may have difficulty competing with the big wallets of other suitors. Santana will be an interesting player to watch this offseason.