The move for Santana was necessitated by the injury to Kris Medlen and the slow progress of Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor. While Minor is expected to be ready shortly after the season starts, there are still a number of unknowns with Beachy and Medlen. This move may in fact signal that the Braves believe Medlen will be out for the season.
Santana had a career year last year for the Royals after being traded by the Angels, whom he had spent the first eight years of his career with. He has been an inconsistent pitcher in his career, even recently, so there’s no telling what kind of pitcher he will be this season. His ERA last year was 3.24, but the season before it was 5.16. Other stats, such as WAR, tell a similar story of inconstancy.
The Braves were betting a lot on this year’s team to make it back to the postseason and try to go deep into October. The injury news in the past week definitely spurred the Braves to make this move, which is essentially doubling down on a season in which they’re already pot committed.
I’m not a fan of Santana. He’s an inconsistent pitcher who is being massively overpaid. Of course, that could partly be me disbelieving that the market for starting pitching costs this much. I don’t like his home run tendencies, and I have concerns that he walks too many people. Some folks will say he’s an inning’s eater, but that’s exactly what they said about Derek Lowe.
At least this deal is only for one year. The Braves will lose their first round pick, but have a pick a few spots later as compensation for losing Brian McCann.
I’m not a fan of this move, as I’m not sure this is the pitcher the Braves need, but the Braves certainly seem to need an established starting pitcher to start the season, and this was likely their only option.
I do like the sign that this move sends to the Braves clubhouse and their fanbase. It’s a sign that the Braves are willing to spend a little extra money when they need to, and more importantly, now they apparently have extra money to spend. Though, if the Braves had this money laying around, it kind of makes me wonder why Tim Hudson isn’t still in a Braves uniform. Perhaps this is only emergency money.