Dayton Moore is on a roll. He said from the outset that the mission this coming offseason was to impact the starting rotation with new arms, and the general manager of the Kansas City Royals is doing just that. While he might not have an ace just yet and there's plenty of work to do, the recent acquisition of Ervin Santana is a major step forward. Yet it's also clear he's moving forward.
The Royals and Los Angeles Angels announced a trade yesterday that sent Brandon Sisk, a left-handed minor league reliever, in exchange for $1 million and Santana. It gives the Royals a pitcher who can eat up a significant chunk of innings with high upside.
"I don't know where he fits. We're not done," said Moore. "We're going to continue to try to upgrade our rotation through trades that make sense, work internally, evaluate our young pitchers, perhaps one or two our guys in the bullpen, and we're going to explore free agency. ... It's very difficult to answer where he winds up because we don't have the full stable of candidates for our rotation at this point."
The Royals also claimed Chris Volstad this offseason as well, bringing two more names to the table that weren't present just weeks ago. Given the returns from injury at some point in 2013 of Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino and the further work to do, the Royals should have more options than any point in recent history.
Santana, 29, struggled quite a bit in 2012, posting a 9-13 record with an ERA north of five. However, the Dominican has also shown he can be dominant, throwing a no-hitter in 2011 against the Cleveland Indians.
When asked how he felt about being a potential No. 1 starter, Santana says he relishes the challenge, according to mlblogs.com:
"If they give me the opportunity, I’ll be ready for it. I’ll be 100 percent ready for it. … I have the tools for it. So I if they give me a chance, I just have to go out there and do the job."
Some would think that Santana would be disappointed to leave a perennial contender to join the rebuilding Royals, but the hurler says that isn't the case:
"It’s not because the Royals have a very good team. They’ve got very good young talent and they’ve got a good defense and it’s very exciting."
It will be interesting to see if Kansas City retains Santana beyond this year if he pitches well for the Royals.
Santana has spent his entire career with the Angels, compiling a 96-80 record with a 4.33 ERA in eight seasons. The 29-year-old Dominican Republic native struggled mightily last year, posting a 9-13 mark with an inflated ERA of 5.16.
The Royals picked up Santana's option for 2013, which is $13 million.
Sisk is a prospect who pitched in Triple-A last year in the Kansas City organization. He threw well in Omaha, having a respectable 2.54 ERA. The 27-year-old has been in the minor leagues for five years without making a major-league appearance.