James Shields is going to be toeing the rubber for the Kansas City Royals during the 2014 Major League Baseball season and so will Wade Davis. There are other pitchers that are bound to return to the much improved Royals squad but there is one big question. There is one starter whose future with the Royals is as uncertain as could be. Rumors suggest that the Royals believe Ervin Santana could return next season but I have my doubts.
Allow me to explain the doubts I have. See, the Royals think Santana will possibly be back because they are going to extend a qualifying offer to him this winter. That will mean that anyone that signs him besides the Royals will owe them a high draft pick because of it. The same situation was reportedly why it took a while for Michael Bourn and starter Kyle Lohse to find a home during the 2013 off-season.
There is only one issue with that line of thinking. Santana is not Lohse, he is better and has more good years left in the arm than Lohse does. That would be why no big contenders signed Lohse because he was not good enough for them to warrant losing a draft pick. I believe that some contending teams will see enough immediate return in signing Santana that they might feel much better about giving up that draft pick.
So, it is an interesting thought that Santana might have trouble getting a better offer than just the qualifier from the Royals this winter but I think it is self-deceiving. It isn’t difficult really just simple math. If the Royals want Santana, they will have to pay for his services. I don’t think they’ll go farther than a qualifying offer and that is why he’ll go elsewhere.