Lake Buena Vista, FL, United States (4E Sports) – The Atlanta Braves have boosted their injury-depleted starting rotation, signing free agent Ervin Santana to a one-year, $14.1 million deal.
“In light of what has happened over the past few days with our pitching staff, we felt it was incumbent on us to do everything we could to strengthen our starting pitching,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said.
“Throughout the winter, we didn’t feel like we were going to be in this market. But we felt Ervin was the No. 1 guy in the market. We’ve always felt if we were going to go out there, we would love to have him,” he added.
Santana’s signing came after starters Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy left their exhibition season starts Sunday and Monday, respectively, due to injuries.
Medlen is preparing for the likelihood he will need to undergo Tommy John surgery while Beachy remains hopeful that he will distance himself from the frustration that has followed him since he first attempted to return from the same surgical procedure in June.
Santana has gone 70-60 with a 3.94 ERA in the 183 starts he has made dating back to the 2008 season, when he gained his only All-Star selection and finished sixth in balloting for the American League Cy Young Award.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled in 2012, posting a 5.16 ERA in the 30 starts he made during what was his eighth and final season with the Angels.
Santana turned things around last year, as he went 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA in 32 starts with the Royals.
Still, his attraction on the free-agent market was marred by the fact that the signing club would have to forfeit its first-round selection in the First-Year Player Draft this June because Kansas City had given the veteran pitcher a one-year, $14.1 qualifying offer in November.
“To get a guy like [Santana] to solidify the top of the rotation, he’s got a good track record. I’m excited. That’s a good pickup. We have a first-class organization. They went out and got it done for us,” Braves backup catcher Gerald Laird said.