Ervin Santana hit the free-agent market last winter with hope of scoring a long-term deal. It never materialized, so he inked a one-year pact with the Atlanta Braves. After a solid campaign, he’s set to enter the open market once again.

He came out of the gates on fire for Atlanta. He went 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA in four April starts. It was an up-and-down season from that point forward, with the final stat line showing a 3.95 ERA with 179 strikeouts in 196 innings over 31 starts.

The question is whether he did enough to warrant more widespread interest this winter. For now, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi passed along the latest information about his outlook:

If the Giants wish to land Santana, it appears they’ll have to make a long-term investment. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports Santana is looking to ink a multi-year deal:

A return to Atlanta seems unlikely. Santana only signed with the Braves after an injury crisis emerged. The starting rotation, which was a key strength the year before, had lost Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen during spring training after Tim Hudson had left via free agency.

The 31-year-old veteran represented the stability Atlanta needed. His signing actually worked out pretty much as expected and the pitching staff remained a strength. The Braves just didn’t hit nearly enough to make a return trip to the postseason.

With the previously projected depth expected to makes its gradual return, Atlanta would likely be best off using the extra resources to upgrade its lineup.

Santana did thank the organization and its fans after the season, using the “smell baseball” phrase that became popular among the fanbase:

While there are no shortage of teams that could use upgrades to their rotations, whether the former Los Angeles Angles and Kansas City Royals star will get a lucrative multi-year contract is a mystery.

Santana is not an ace. He sports a 4.17 career ERA through nearly 300 starts and was only a shade below that this year as pitchers continued to reign supreme.

Instead, an investment in the Dominican Republic native is going to provide a team with a reliable mid-rotation starter. He’s made at least 23 starts in each of his 10 professional seasons and topped the 30-start plateau each of the past five.

That may not sound like a lot on the surface. But in an era where Tommy John surgery and other arm issues are so common, having a durable starter is an underrated resource. It’s not clear whether teams will pay big bucks for one this offseason, however.

Santana may have to wait until the first wave of starting pitchers comes off the market to get a true gauge on the interest level. It’s similar to last season when things didn’t fall his way, and he opted for the one-year deal for a quick return to free agency.

He just has to hope the market is a little kinder to him this time around.


Read more MLB news on