If you haven't heard the news, the Kansas City Royals acquired their first veteran pitcher this afternoon. Ervin Santana, who turns 30 years old this December, will join the Royals rotation next spring. In exchange, the Los Angeles Angels received 27 year old, left handed pitcher Brandon Sisk, who spent all of last season in Triple-A Omaha. A good arm out of the pen, Sisk went 3-2 with a 2.54 era, logging 67.1 innings, striking out 73 and walking 32, limiting opposing batters to a .234 average.
Santana has had an up-and-down career with the Angels. This past season, he went 9-13 posting a 5.16 era. He threw 178 innings, while throwing 220+ the past 2 seasons, serving up 133 K and 61 BB. The biggest hole with him is he gave up a Major League leading 39 home runs, which is also a career high for him, as well. Fortunately, Santana will be moving to a ballpark that has shown a propensity for suppressing home run totals. Coming into the 2012 season, Santana had enjoyed a decent '11 campaign, going 11-12 with a 3.38 era, giving the Angels 'pen some good innings (228.2), striking out 178 batters, walking just 72. Needless to say, it was a down year for him in 2012.
Mainly a 3 pitch guy, he uses a fastball, changeup, slider. From FanGraphs, his fastball velocity has stayed relatively the same throughout his 8 year career, sitting around 92-94 mph. He uses his slider quite often, which touches on average 82 and the changeup around 85, give or take a few mph.
Predominately a fly ball pitcher for most of his career, the past 2 seasons have actually flip flopped, giving up 43.3% grounders to 37.6% fly balls. He doesn't need to worry about the grounders with the Royals infield behind him, considering we have 2 gold glove finalists (should have been 3) to back him up in Moustakas, Escobar, and Hosmer.
Although Kauffman Stadium isn't necessarily a pitcher's ballpark, it does pretty well at eliminating home runs. This was definitely an odd year for Ervin because his HR/FB rate had never been higher than 12.8% until this past season, where he recorded an ugly 19%. Although he'll give up a few dingers on occasion, I don't expect it to go as high as 19% again. Kauffman can only dampen that number...hopefully.
This trade today was definitely not a bad one. It wasn't something to get pumped up for, but GMDM took the initiative and acquired a helpful piece to our problem. According to The Los Angeles Times, the Angels sent over a check for $1 million along with Santana, for kicks and giggles I suppose. Therefore, the Royals are responsible for just $12 million of Santana's contract this season.
There is still room for getting another pitcher or 2, which is why this deal is good lookin'. Perhaps going after Santana's teammate Dan Haren or acquiring someone via trade is up in the air, who knows. What makes this better? Unlike Brady Quinn saying "Now I'm done" in his infamous commercial, Dayton Moore told Pete Grathoff of The Kansas City Star, "We're not done." This Halloween did not disappoint.