There is no doubt that free agent starter Ervin Santana bounced back this season, finishing with a solid 3.24 ERA after having a bad 2012 with the Los Angeles Angels. Santana made the most out of the one-year deal with the Kansas City Royals and is now hitting the free agent market with an asking price that is egregious.
Ricky Nolasco is in the same boat as Santana — sort of. He was traded from the Miami Marlins to the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. Since the July 6 trade, Nolasco was 8-3 with the Dodgers and lowered his ERA to 3.52. He seemed to do a lot better for a team that is committed to winning a championship and that has championship-level talent behind him. However, his solid 2013 season is not enough for his asking price either.
Both pitchers are looking for five-year deals this winter. Santana is seeking $100 million and Nolasco $80 million. Both players seem to want to set the bar high for a lot of other pitchers out there, but their asking prices are above what they are actually worth.
Neither pitcher is a top-level ace for any team. Both can be solid second or third starters in rotations, and teams are not going to pay that kind of money for that kind of pitching. Both players are going to turn 31 in a month (within a day of each other) and teams are going to be cautious with the type of seasons they had.
Santana may have gotten back into the swing of things, but it is unclear if he can return to a steady pace. As for Nolasco, he was always a solid pitcher for Miami, but has given up over 190 hits in the past three seasons. That said, he has been decreasing his home run totals. For them to get the long-term contracts they seek, the price tag has to go down.