FORT MYERS, FLA. — The Baltimore Orioles remained in negotiations with free agent pitcher Ervin Santana on Saturday and — along with their division rivals, the Toronto Blue Jays — appear to be a finalist to land the 31-year-old right-hander.
Both the Orioles and Blue Jays have made Santana a one-year offer that would pay him close to the $14.1 million qualifying offer he declined this offseason, according to an industry source. At this point, Toronto’s offer is slightly more attractive than Baltimore’s.
Negotiations with Santana — the top free agent starting pitcher remaining on the market — are moving fast.
With just more than three weeks until opening day, Santana wants to get into a camp. A deal could come in the next few days.
Earlier in the offseason, Santana was seeking a four-year deal, but he was unsatisfied with the multiyear offers he was receiving.
So he changed his stance and is seeking a one-year deal so he can test the market again next offseason.
Santana is tied to draft-pick compensation through the qualifying offer process.
Yet since the Orioles have already forfeited their first- and second-round picks to sign right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez and left-fielder Nelson Cruz, the club would only forfeit their third-round pick by signing Santana.
The Blue Jays’ first- and second-round picks are protected.
It is believed that Santana received multiple multiyear offers, including one from the Orioles, in the realm of three years for $30 million.
Right-hander Bud Norris continued to put up zeros this spring and the Orioles’ offense touched up one of the Boston Red Sox’s top pitching prospects to pick up a 7-3 win at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla.
Norris is expected to begin the season in the Orioles’ rotation. He threw three scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out four.
— Baltimore Sun