The Chicago Cubs got a bit of good news on Wednesday, with reports that the Los Angeles Angels would decline the options on both Dan Haren and Ervin Santana and pursue a new contract with Zack Greinke, who they acquired earlier this season to add to the top of their rotation.
Re-signing Greinke would give the Halos a pretty pricey top three in their starting staff, between him, C.J. Wilson, and Jered Weaver, so you can understand why they might not want to pick up the costly options for the two. But the fact that they don’t plan to opens up some intriguing options for the Cubs.
One of those options would be signing Ervin Santana once he does make it to the free agent market. As it stands right now, the Cubs only have two starters guaranteed for their rotation in 2013: Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood. That’s assuming they trade Matt Garza, as they are expected to.
There are more than a few interesting arms to hit the market, but Santana would fit the bill as the type of guy the Cubs have gone after the past two seasons. Given his up-and-down career, he’s not likely to see the same type of dough that other pitchers out on the market are.
That means that he could end up settling for a smaller deal, likely with a shorter term. The short-term deals are what the Cubs seem to be approaching recently, given the potential for guys to bounce back and then be spun on to other teams for good value (See: Paul Maholm).
Of course, the Cubs could get the good version of Santana that we’ve seen throughout stretches in his career (3.38 ERA in 2011) and make him an established part of the staff. But the former options seems like the most likely route for the current regime.
Either way, you can expect the Cubs to be active out in free agency, to some degree, and the addition of two more arms to the market makes things quite a bit more interesting.