After an injury to Kris Medlen ended his season and left the Atlanta Braves starting rotation in limbo, I planned on writing my next post about how Frank Wren’s decision to not pursue a top-flight starter this off-season had backfired on him.
Then this morning before I could even get out a rough draft, Wren made a move that surprised me a bit. The Braves proactively signed Ervin Santana to a one-year deal worth a reported $14.1 million.
“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,” Wren said in a Braves.com article.
“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.”
Santana was 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA last year in Kansas City. Of his 32 starts for the Royals, 23 were quality starts.
The deal is a good one for both sides.
Santana, who wanted a $100 million contract and fired his agent when he couldn’t land one, gets a nice deal and an opportunity to prove he deserves a bigger one this winter.
Atlanta will lose its first round pick in this year’s draft (No. 26), but they can make Santana a qualifying offer after the season and either he A) accepts it and the Braves keep him or B) signs a larger deal elsewhere and the Braves get a compensation round pick.
There are still plenty of questions about a rotation that right now features Santana, Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Freddy Garcia and possibly David Hale, as Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd aren’t up to 100 percent yet.
Despite those concerns the move by Wren (and Liberty Media) sent the right message to a clubhouse that saw team leaders Brian McCann and Tim Hudson leave via free agency this winter. The message is that the Braves don’t plan on rebuilding this season, but that they plan on competing for championships once again.
#Braves CEO Terry McGuirk on going over budget: “We’re not in a rebuilding mode. We’re in a winning mode. The time is now.”
— David O’Brien (@ajcbraves) March 12, 2014