Prior to Monday’s deadline, the KC Royals made a qualifying offer to pending free agent pitcher Ervin Santana. That offer is for one year at $14.1 million. He has one week to re-sign with the Royals (by 5pm ET on November 11th). It is expected that Santana will test the free agent market looking for a long-term deal. If Santana does not sign that contract, the Royals will receive a draft pick from the team that he ends up signing with (second half of the first round for a team not picking in the top ten or a second round pick for a team picking in the top ten).
The Royals are hoping that the potential loss of a draft pick, along with the qualifying offer will deter other teams from signing Santana. They hope to re-sign him, as he seemed to have loved it in Kansas City (and the fans equally loved him).
The Royals did not offer a qualifying offer to fellow pitcher Bruce Chen, though it is expected that he will re-sign (or at least he wants to). He made $4.5 million last season.
If the Royals do not sign either free agent pitcher, there will be more urgency on their end to make a deal (maybe a veteran like Tim Hudson or why not pull the trigger on another deal with TB).
Every Major League Baseball team can officially begin signing free agents (that happened at 12:01am ET).
*The Royals officially put pitcher Felipe Paulino back on the 40-man roster. He was on the 60-day DL after having a cyst removed from his right shoulder that ended his comeback from Tommy John surgery. He only made seven rehab starts last season and they were spread out over a three to four month period.
The Royals have just one open spot left on their 40-man roster.
*Closer Greg Holland was named the Royals Pitcher of the Year on Monday. After struggling through spring training and the beginning of the season (4.00 ERA in April with a blown save and six walks in just nine innings), he rebounded to be one of the best and most consistent closers in baseball. After his two poor outings in April against Philadelphia to open the season, his ERA the rest of the way was 0.69.
Holland made his first American League All-Star team. He led the AL in strikeouts with 103. His 13.84 strikeouts per nine innings was tops of any AL pitcher with at least 60 innings pitched. He also set a club record for saves with 47 (out of 50 opportunities). He finished the season with a 1.21 ERA, the lowest EVER by a Royals reliever.
It is the second straight season that Holland won this award in just his second season as the Royals closer.
Here is what Holland had to say via a conference call yesterday from his home in North Carolina:
“The main thing for me is it means we won a lot of games. But it also affects expectations. As a competitor, I think everyone in that clubhouse sets the bar as high for themselves as they can so they can go out there and try to repeat those same things each year. If you’re at your highest level, you’re going to help your team win ballgames and that’s where we all are at this point in our careers. We’ve got experience now and now it’s just about winning games.”
*The Baseball Hall of Fame released its list of 12 candidates on the Expansion Era Ballot that will be voted on during the winter meetings by the 16-member Expansion Era electorate. Former Royals submarine closer Dan Quisenberry made the cut.
Quisenberry already is a member of the Royals Hall of Fame. He accumulated 244 saves across his 12 year big league career (ten of those years were spent in Kansas City). He led the league in saves five times. He finished in the top five of the CY Young award vote five times. He made the All-Star team three times.
Unfortunately, Quisenberry died of cancer back in 1998.
This will be just the second election of the Expansion Era committee, with the first coming back in 2010 when long-time baseball executive Pat Gillick was selected.