Sep 9, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Ervin Santana (30) pitches during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago White Sox are looking for a right-handed starting pitcher and are rumored to be in talks with the Oakland Athletics for a possible trade for Jeff Samardzija.
But let’s say for conversation’s sake those talks fall through. Where should the White Sox look next?
One RHP starter still on the free agent market who draws some attention for the need of the White Sox is Ervin Santana, who pitched for the Atlanta Braves last season.
Jul 27, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Ervin Santana (30) watches the game against the San Diego Padres from the dugout during the eighth inning at Turner Field. The Braves defeated the Padres 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Santana, who has 10 years in the majors, pitched in 31 games last season (all starts), where he finished with a 3.95 ERA and 14-10 overall record. In those starts, he collected 196.0 innings, where he struck out 179 batters, and held opponents to a .266 average at the plate.
The RHP starter, Santana (who is 31 years old) walked 63 batters and allowed 86 earned runs (16 home runs). Of the 817 batters he faced in ’14, his WHIP finished at 1.306 and had a BB9 (9xBB /IP) of 2.9. Santana’s K/9 was 8.22.
On FanGraphs.com, it says the LOB% (left on base percentage) was 70 percent, and his BB% was 7.1. Also, the strikeout percentage was 19.4 percent.
An All-Star in 2009, Santana, I believe, played well enough for the Braves in ’14 and would be an improvement of the RHP starting pitching that the White Sox had last season.
Santana had a WAR (wins above replacement) of 1.2 last season (his only season with the Braves), and in 2013 with the Kansas City Royals it was 2.9, a season where his ERA was 3.24 in 32 starts.
In his past five seasons, Santana’s WARs have been: 3.0, 3.0, -1.3, 2.9 and 1.2, an average of 1.76 in what amounts to 159 starts (1,036.1 innings pitched).
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There have been rumors that the Royals are interested in Santana to rejoin their club once again next season.
I know Santana isn’t the caliber pitcher that Samardzija is, but he is better than the RHP the White Sox sent to the mound last season, and that is a move in the right direction.
Sure, Samardzija looks a lot nicer surrounded by those names, but I wouldn’t have a problem if Santana were to be signed by the White Sox off the free agent market, because there are a lot worse choices they could make in signings or trades this offseason.