2014 MLB Free Agent Profile: Ervin Santana

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Ervin Santana is coming off a strong year, but is he a fit for the Mets rotation?

Signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Angels in 2000, Ervin Santana was then known as Johan Ramon Santana. He soon changed his name to avoid confusion with the Cy Young Award-winning left-hander Johan Santana, who was just entering the prime of his career at the time.

Ervin’s has had his share of ups and downs. He’s had seasons where he doesn't look good at all, posting an ERA over 5.00 in 2007, 2009, and 2012. But he's had very good years, often right after his worst seasons. His breakout year came in 2008, when he went 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA and 214 strikeouts in 219 innings and made his only All-Star Game appearance; it came the year after he posted a 5.76 ERA in 150 innings. He followed up his 5.03 ERA 2009 by winning a career-high 17 games and recording a 3.92 ERA in 2010.

In 2012, the right-hander pitched to a 9-13 record and had an ERA of 5.16, serving up a league-high 39 home runs. The Royals then acquired him from the Angels, and true to form, Santana followed up a poor campaign with a good one, putting up a 3.24 ERA in 211 innings and recording the second-lowest WHIP of his career.

Santana, 30, offers a fastball that averaged 92.4 mph in 2013 and a sharp slider that is typically his most effective pitch. He mixes in a changeup every once in a while, though opponents are hitting .324 off the pitch in his career. Save for his 2008 campaign, he’s not a big strikeout pitcher, averaging 6.9 strikeouts per nine innings in 2013 and 7.1 for his career. His control is typically solid, allowing only 2.2 walks per nine innings in 2013 and 2.8 for his career.

The cost

High. Predictions have tended to be in the five-year, $75-$80 million neighborhood. Furthermore, the Royals made Santana a one-year $14.1 million qualifying offer, which means that if he turns it down as expected, he would cost his new team a draft pick.

The fit

The Mets do need to add starting pitching, but with Matt Harvey and Jeremy Hefner out with injuries and prospects Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard closing in on the majors, the need is short-term. The Mets have holes at several other positions, and with the size and length of the contract it will likely take to sign Santana, the Mets might be better off spending money elsewhere.

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