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Giants interested in Ervin Santana, 'all in' on Jon Lester

Also, there are "others," according to Jon Heyman. So the Giants are pretty much interested in every single available pitcher. That doesn't make for a good headline, though.

Smell baseball?
Smell baseball?
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, there's all sorts of Jon Lester news to report. He's unlikely to sign with the Rays, a source tells me. He's most likely not going to the Twins on a one-year deal, I'm hearing. One agent is saying that he will get "at least twice" the major league minimum annually. Jon Heyman is also reporting that the Giants are "all in" on Lester, in a lengthy, Giants-centric column on Thursday.

While they've checked in on third basemen, outfielders and others, their real focus is clearly on Lester now.

Get busy spendin', or get busy dyin'. I can think of about a dozen pitchers over the past decade who would have been scarier than Lester at the same price point. I can think of several hundred who were still totally scary, including Lester. If you're going to spend, though, at least spend on the ...

Aw, dang it, Giants.

Santana is an entertaining personality. He's a valuable pitcher, and he generally resides somewhere on the Ryan Vogelsong spectrum (which stretches from 2011 to 2013), though he has a touch more upside at 32. He can have problems with dingers, which would be minimized in the NL West.

However! Two problems with Santana:

  • He will cost a draft pick, which is #19 right now and could climb higher.
  • He's supposedly interested in a five-year deal, which ha ha ha, no.
  • He's not really that good?

Three. There are three problems with Santana. His FIP over the last three years was 4.27: the 13th-highest in baseball among pitchers with more than 400 innings. There he is, right below Paul Maholm and Tommy Milone. He is a tick better than Kevin Correia, so he has that going for him. Which is something.

The combination of contract, draft pick, and dubious talent make Santana one of the biggest do-not-wants of the open market. I'd love to see him at AT&T, too, but on something like a two-year deal that he isn't going to get. Considering the above, I'd rather have Tim Lincecum in the rotation. It wouldn't be pretty, but at least the Giants would have the draft pick and many millions.

If you're not excited about Lester, remember there are expensive alternatives that would be even worse. If the Giants are really all-in on Lester, they'll need some misdirection to put some pressure on Lester's agents. Like fake interest in Ervin Santana.

I hope.