I have a confession to make.
As a child, I nearly destroyed a large portion of my baseball card collection by the means of a pair of scissors, a roll of tape, and an overactive imagination. I favored cards produced by any of the major companies be that Topps, Upper Deck, Fleer, or the ever elusive Mother’s Day cookie variety. However, for the purpose I will soon reveal I gravitated towards the brand known appropriately as Score for my evil deed. As many may remember, the back of each Score card was unique. In addition to the usual background information and statistics, each card featured a photo profile picture of the respective player. Upon acquiring a new pack, I would proceed to meticulously cut the hats off each players heads. The hats, not the heads mind you. As a 10-year old general manager, I would orchestrate trades in my mind’s eye and crudely exchange caps between the players involved, cementing their new teams with a smidgeon of tape and a little bit ingenuity. In someways, I like to think of it as a prehistoric version of Photoshop. With that off my chest, I’d like to say the advent of the internet and accessibility of trade rumors have led to the stoppage of my baseball card mutilation.
Take for example, the news today that the Athletics were showing interest in Ervin Santana of the Kansas City Royals. As reported by Ken Rosenthal of foxsports.com, the A’s seem more likely to acquire a starting pitcher for the stretch drive than an offensive addition. Rumored to have poked their nose in the Matt Garza sweepstakes, Billy Beane and his consortium have directed their attention to Santana and Jake Peavy in recent days.
Notorious A’s killer Ervin Santana, has enjoyed a bounce back season in Kansas City after being acquired over the off-season. The right-hander has registered a 3.06 ERA, 3.81 FIP, and 1.07 WHIP in 20 starts. Fitting right in with the Athletics control-centric starters, Santana has walked only 30 batters in 138 1/3 innings while striking out 107. Most importantly, last seasons elbow woes look to be behind him as his fastball velocity has only increased as the season has progressed.
No stranger to the American League West or postseason play, Santana earned his wings pitching in meaningful games for the Angels during his eight year tenure in Anaheim.
Signed through the end of the season, an acceptable bounty for 29-year old is up to debate. The Athletics don’t seem opposed to the idea of a rental, but it’s difficult to see Beane parting with young talent in the quality of a Sonny Gray or Michael Choice. Complicating matters is with the trade of Garza, Santana may be the highest valued starter leftover on the market though he’s far from an elite starter.
Santana’s relative youth (30 years old), limited injury past, and productive season will bring a fair share of suitors for Kansas City to choose from. If Oakland’s intentions are true, then perhaps a rotation boost will be in the cards after all.