Ervin Santana to Blue Jays unlikely

Updated: February 19, 2014, 3:42 PM ET
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Toronto Blue Jays have been shopping for another starting pitcher since their kids finished trick-or-treating.

But it appears the Blue Jays are unlikely to sign Ervin Santana, or any of the other remaining free-agent starters for that matter.

[+] EnlargeErvin Santana
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesErvin Santana is one of the top remaining free-agent pitchers available.

Teams and agents Toronto has spoken with told ESPN.com that even as the shopping list for veteran starters has dwindled, the Blue Jays haven't shown a willingness to do what the Baltimore Orioles did to sign Ubaldo Jimenez this week -- add extra years or dollars to get a deal done.

Unless Santana eventually were to "fall in their lap," in the words of one AL executive, the overwhelming feeling in the industry is that the Blue Jays are likely to pass on signing the right-hander and hope one of their young starters can fill their last remaining rotation hole.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos declined to discuss the extent of his team's interest in Santana on Wednesday.

Instead, the Anthopoulos spoke of how much more pitching depth the Blue Jays have this year, thanks to the emergence of young pitchers like Marcus Stroman and the recovery of prospects such as Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek from 2012 Tommy John surgery.

"We'd love to add a starter to maintain that depth," Anthopoulos said. "But we're comfortable with what we have. If the right guy were to come along at the right price, we're definitely open-minded to the idea of adding one more starting pitcher.

"But again, we're comfortable with our internal options."

The Blue Jays have been linked to just about every prominent starter who showed up this winter either on the free-agent market or in any level of trade conversations. Other clubs report that Toronto checked in on the availability of Jeff Samardzija, David Price, Doug Fister and Justin Masterson, among others, but never matched up.

And while they have stayed in contact with the agents for both Santana and Jimenez, it looks increasingly as if their level of interest has been overblown. Jimenez is no longer an option, and there are no indications Toronto has stepped up its pursuit of Santana in recent days.

Anthopoulos hasn't closed any doors, but manager John Gibbons sounds like a man who doesn't expect any secret weapons to show up in his clubhouse anytime soon.

"I know Alex is working at it," Gibbons said Wednesday. "You look at what's left out there, there's not a whole lot left. Santana's still out there. And there were a couple of trades that almost happened, that ended up falling through.

"But we'll see. He's always trying to upgrade and improve the team. But we're getting to that point now where something's going to have to happen fast if it's going to happen."

Jayson Stark | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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