After days of speculation over where Ervin Santana will end up, reports are coming out from ESPN Deportes' Enrique Rojas that Santana has agreed to a one-year, $14 million contract with the Atlanta Braves. The Orioles and Blue Jays were thought to be the frontrunners for Santana, but with the Braves suffering a rash of pitching injuries over the last few days, they stepped up and got their man.
It was reported that both the Orioles and Blue Jays had offered deals similar to what Santana signed for, but since he's trying to build up his value over one year, I guess maybe he figured the National League was a better place to do so. This has become a common occurrence over the off season as Gavin Floyd, A.J. Burnett, and Bronson Arroyo all chose to pitch in the NL rather than risk coming to the American League and getting lit up.
I suppose it also doesn't hurt that the Braves are a good baseball team with a good track record for pitchers. It's not like he spurned the Orioles for say, the Phillies.
With Santana off the table it appears that the Orioles' spending spree has come to an end, although Kendrys Morales is still out there! I had come to the decision that while I wouldn't be angry if the O's signed Santana, I would prefer that that they not. I know that injuries happen and pitchers are bad, but I didn't like the idea of Kevin Gausman being blocked from the majors this year. When he's ready, I want him to be able to pitch.
Additionally, if the Orioles were willing to give Santana $14 million on top of their $100 million plus payroll, it makes me feel better about the future. And if they need payroll flexibility at the trade deadline, it appears that they have it.