Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/11/13
Royals right-hander Ervin Santana refuses at this point anyway to be drawn into any discussion on his looming free agency and its looming riches. Not merely because he doesn’t want to talk about it. Rather Santana doesn’t even want to think about it. “There’s nothing on my mind except to finish the season strong and healthy” he insisted “After that whatever happens is what’s going to happen. That’s my goal — finish strong and healthy.” Santana 30 is making $13 million in completing a multiyear deal signed on Valentine’s Day in 2009 with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Royals are paying all but $1 million of Santana’s salary after acquiring him last October for minor-league pitcher Brandon Sisk. And yes they want to keep Santana around. “We’ll see how that goes” general manager Dayton Moore said. “Obviously he’s a free agent. I think he likes it here. We certainly like him. It’s just a matter of working hard and trying to make it work.” That figures to be tough despite a winless stretch that reached seven starts Monday night in a 4-3 loss to the Indians. Santana still ranks 10th among American League starters in innings and earned-run average. Further the industry consensus puts Santana as one of the top starting pitchers on the free-agent market although signing him will come at the cost of a top draft pick — if the Royals as expected make a qualifying offer. Those offers are standardized each year at the average salary of the 125 highest-paid players in the game. This year’s figure is expected to be around $14 million for a one-year deal. Clubs must make a qualifying offer to receive a draft pick as compensation if the player signs elsewhere. The player can choose to accept the qualifying offer but last year no player did so. All that said Santana appears open to remaining with the Royals. “I like it a lot” he said. “Great people. Great teammates. The training staff is incredible. It’s a good town for baseball. There’s not much to do except focus on baseball. That’s very good.” That’s about as far as he’s willing to go though. “I just take it one day at a time” he said. “Every time when I take the mound I’m not thinking about being a free agent. Nothing like that. Just go out there and do my best. That’s it.”
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