Originally written on Baseball News Source  |  Last updated 11/12/13
Free agent pitcher Ervin Santana is seeking a $100 million deal. That’s unlikely to happen. For various reasons, Santana is the riskiest pitcher in the free agent market. Pitchers tend to be risky, especially those on the wrong side of 30, but several factors in Santana’s profile make him even riskier. Santana had a good 2013 season with the Kansas City Royals. He threw 211 innings, with a 3.24 ERA. This was a big improvement on the previous year when he managed a bloated 5.16 ERA and a 5.63 FIP that was easily the worst in the majors. Throwing lots of strikes and getting help from his defense were big keys. His 18.7% strikeout rate was below the MLB average. However, he also had a low 5.9% walk rate, and his defense did a great job of converting outs, as shown by a .267 BABIP.  Overall, Santana’s season was more solid than spectacular. His 97 FIP- was just a shade better than the MLB average. He did have a strong 10% swinging strike rate that was better than all but his 2008 season. Since his first full season in 2006, Santana has been notoriously inconsistent. Here are his numbers by year. 2006: 204 IP, 4.28 ERA, 4.29 FIP, 3.3 WAR 2007: 150 IP, 5.76 ERA, 5.13 FIP, 1.1 WAR 2008: 219 IP, 3.49 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 6.0 WAR 2009: 139.2 IP, 5.03 ERA, 5.02 FIP, 1.1 WAR 2010: 222.2 IP, 3.92 ERA, 4.28 FIP, 1.9 WAR 2011: 228.2 IP, 3.38 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 2.6 WAR 2012: 178 IP, 5.16 ERA, 5.63 FIP, -1.0 WAR 2013: 211 IP, 3.24 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 3.0 WAR That’s a lot of variance.  2008 was great, 2006, 2011 and 2013 were solid, the other years were mediocre to average with the exception of 2012, which was awful. 2009 involved two trips to the DL, and while he didn’t hit the DL in 2012, the drop in his fastball velocity and inconsistency with his release point suggested he was pitching at less than full health. Whoever signs Ervin Santana won’t get the 2008 version that finished 3rd in the AL in WAR. His fastball averaged 94.4 miles per hour that season. Even though it rebounded some from 2012, his fastball was still a full two miles per hour slower in 2013 than it was in 2008. Santana is more of an injury risk than other pitcher. He throws a lot of sliders. In 2013, Santana threw his slider more frequently than any other starting pitcher. While it might be an arbitrary cutoff, pitchers who throw their slider more than 30% of the time are much more likely to end up on the DL the next year. Here are some of the names of pitchers who have used their slider more than 30% of the time over the course of a season. Michael Pineda (hasn’t pitched in MLB since 2012), Tommy Hanson (DL for most of 2013), Brandon Morrow (several DL trips from 2012-13), Francisco Liriano (never thrown 200 innings). I could go on. C.C. Sabathia throws over 200 innings every year, but he greatly stepped up his slider usage from 2011 to 2012, and he underwent elbow surgery in the offseason. His fastball is down almost three miles per hour in the last two years. Big contracts are risky. Pitchers are risky. Throwing lots of sliders is tough on the arm. When you add it all together, Ervin Santana is particularly risky. Salaries are rising, and $100 million isn’t all that much anymore, at least in the baseball world. Still, Ervin Santana shouldn’t get anything close to that.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Adrian Peterson accused of fathering another child out of wedlock

Robert Griffin III liked fan’s Instagram post trashing Redskins

Report: Tom Brady may have been ‘open’ to one-game suspension

Fenway Park staff reportedly confiscating Don Orsillo signs

Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer betting on himself

Titans' Marcus Mariota: ‘Statistics don’t matter to me’


Raiders cut Trent Richardson

FSU names Everett Golson starting QB for 2015

UCLA's Adams arrested for suspicion of felony robbery

AJ Green heading for contract stalemate with Bengals?

Report: NFL offered to cut Brady suspension to 3 games

Report: Tristan Thompson won’t take below max from Cavs

Herschel Walker supports Trump’s candidacy for president

WATCH: Kevin Kiermaier robs Manny Machado home run shot

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Caroline Wozniacki smoking on cover of ‘Rhapsody’ magazine

Could Robert Griffin III be the NFL’s next Steve Young?

Spurrier: SEC fans right to be upset with Ohio State's schedule

Report: 'Deranged' fan shot outside WWE building

Report: Brady convinced Harbaugh to return to Michigan

Ronda Rousey gets Venice mural from artist Jonas Never

Redskins TE wants to know who's leaking stories to ESPN

WWE superstar's girlfriend fired over Nazi Instagram posts

Madison Bumgarner has once again put Giants on his back

Following Arrieta’s no-hitter, Cubs hit the road in pajamas

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Raiders cut Trent Richardson

Caroline Wozniacki smoking cover of ‘Rhapsody’

Everett Golson named FSU's starting QB

Urban Meyer won't announce QB before season

Teammates relieved RG3 was benched?

Five NFL teams that should trade for Robert Griffin III

10 takeaways from Week 3 of the NFL preseason

Cubs' Jake Arrieta no-hits the Dodgers

Chicago Bears release Tim Jennings

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker