Ervin Santana rumor mill the latest in dizzying, yet empty, Orioles offseason

Leon Halip

What is the latest in the Ervin Santana saga? To find out requires a journey into the realms of quantum mechanics. Ever hear the one about Schrodinger and the cat? That's the Orioles this offseason.

Trying to wrap your head around the Orioles offseason is like a journey into the realm of quantum mechanics. Instead of having to ponder Schrodinger's cat, we instead get the equally-puzzling conundrum presented by Ervin Santana's free agency. He is linked to the Orioles, unless he isn't linked to the Orioles at all. Therefore, he is both linked to the Orioles and not linked to the Orioles.

This is not the first time this offseason we've seen this kind of thing. There is a constant back and forth whenever a new rumor emerges as reporters try to flaunt whose sources are the best, or at least whose sources let them churn out a constant stream of scoops that may not even turn out to have any basis in reality whatsoever.

An actual person, presumably a trusted source, said at one time that the Orioles were one of the most aggressive teams at the MLB Winter Meetings, when they left with nothing to show for their time there except for Rule 5 pick Michael Almanzar. Maybe the Orioles were aggressive in ways we haven't heard about, with Dan Duquette tossing about trade proposals left and right. As far as free agents, there was no aggression and will seemingly never be aggression.

Now, as the last days wear down before spring training starts, with desperation perhaps beginning to set in for some of these free agents, the Orioles may be emerging to try to strike a bargain with someone like Santana. That was the report from Ken Rosenthal on Sunday, noting that Santana may be heading towards a deal and that the O's and Toronto have been in touch recently. With these two pieces of information presented together, there's the temptation to assume it must be the O's or the Blue Jays getting close to the deal.

On Monday, a little more fuel was put on this fire by Darren Wolfson, a reporter in Minnesota, noting the O's among several teams who'd been in touch "in the last few days." Wow, sounds like there must be something to this!

Or not, because Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio says "the Orioles aren't close to a deal with Santana at this time." Well, that's good. Unless you want Santana to be on the Orioles, then it's bad. The thing about Bowden is that back in December he proposed that the Orioles should trade Kevin Gausman to the Cubs for Jeff Samardzija. This is the kind of thing that's so ridiculous that you can't even take any other opinion or fact he may express about baseball seriously.

A Toronto beat writer, Shi Davidi of sportsnet.ca, wrote that Santana "moved closer to a deal" but it wasn't with the Blue Jays. So it could be with the Orioles by default, or one of these other teams mentioned by Wolfson, or someone else entirely. Wolfson listed the Yankees among teams who'd contacted Santana, which would be pretty weird, because what do they need with someone like him?

There have been no rumored years or dollars attached to any of these rumors. Santana has been twisting in the wind because he'll cost the team that signs him a draft pick. That's the public excuse to not sign him, anyway. You might also consider that maybe he isn't worth the expenditure of his salary as well, given that he's given up home runs like they're going out of style in the two previous stops in his career - Los Angeles and Kansas City, neither of which are stadiums that rank high in park factors for home runs.

At any rate, we can all stand down, because the Monday afternoon word is that there's "no way" he signs today and "talks are still in diapers." That's a new one. At the same time, it's entirely fitting for this Santana saga and free agency rumors in general. What ends up going in a diaper is a whole lot of crap.

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