Much has been written about the fact that the Kansas City Royals are both in need of Ervin Santana and not willing to throw the bank at him. It might seem strange that they want to keep him but aren’t willing to give him some great amount of money after he had a good season for them. Not every team wants to get locked into a long term contract with even the best of starting pitchers however. Some teams like the Royals cannot really afford to throw a ton of money at one player either, much less guarantee him so many seasons with them.
Pitchers are rarely good for two complete decades. There are those few that pitch for a ridiculously long time and even those like Nolan Ryan who seem to cheat age itself to continue their craft. Most modern day starters will fade away after having no more than a dozen strong seasons and most rarely reach that point. Santana, as good as he is, is not worth a long term deal.
Unfortunately he has an agent and likely will seek out a team that wants to give him a long term deal just to make sure he pitches for them in 2014. That of course backfires way more than it pays off for a team. The Royals simply do not want to get themselves trapped into that situation and who can blame them? As good as Santana has been, he surely isn’t worth more than a four year deal with an option season possibly.
Whatever the Royals decide to extend towards him, I am sure it will be plenty enough for him if he plans on actually returning to pitch for Kansas City. If he refuses a well thought out offer from them, chances are he has resigned to play elsewhere anyway and they should feel good about letting him go. They will need some offense if they lose and are unable to replace his contribution however.