Toronto Blue Jays: Ervin Santana Or Ubaldo Jimenez?
The Toronto Blue Jays entered the off-season with a big need for starting pitching, as we begin spring training, they are still yet to fill their void. Their rotation which is projected to be: R.A. Dickey, Brandon Morrow, Mark Buehrle, J.A. Happ and Esmil Rogers, needs some help as all five had an ERA over 4.00, and no more than 11 wins. With a very dangerous line-up, landing either Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez could catapult the Jays into October.
Santana compiled a 3.24 ERA, 211 innings pitched with 161 strike outs and a 10-11 record, Jimenez totalled a 3.30 ERA, 182 innings pitched with 194 strike outs and a winning record of 13-9. In a free agent market scarce of quality starting pitching, before Masahiro Tanaka, both were hot property, but a demand for a high contract has left them searching for a home as opening day nears. The Blue Jays will likely finish their rotation with either Santana or Jimenez, but which?
Both Jimenez and Santana have one massive problem, Santana gives up too many home runs, and Jimenez walks too many batters. With the Kansas City Royals last year, Santana allowed 26 home runs, and in 2012 with the Los Angeles Angels he surrendered a massive 39 home runs. Jimenez does strike out a lot of batters, but he also walks on average 3.9 batters per nine innings, which was lower than in 2012 when he allowed on average 4.8 batters to reach base on balls per nine innings.
As pitchers and catchers are reporting all over the country, a deal needs to be struck soon. Personally I think Ubaldo Jimenez is the man to sign, his walks are an issue, but if he can lower it, he could be mightily effective in Toronto, and will slot in nicely behind R.A. Dickey. Ervin Santana does eat up more innings; but the Jays have a strong bullpen, and his home run totals would only rise in the hitter friendly Rogers Centre.