This offseason, the Mariners have of course added Robinson Cano to the fold at great cost and made a handful of other notable moves. However, they may not be done just yet. As Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com tweets, Seattle continues to have interest in free agent right-hander Ervin Santana.
Santana, age 31, is coming off a nice bounce-back season with the Royals: 211 IP, 3.24 ERA, 127 ERA+, 3.16 K/BB ratio. For his career, Santana owns an ERA+ of 100 with a K/BB of 2.52 across parts of nine major-league seasons. In 2008 he finished eighth in the AL Cy Young balloting.
In large part, Santana surged last season because he did a better job of keeping the ball on the ground. Whichever team signs him will be betting that he can sustain his 2013 batted-ball profile moving forward.
As for the Mariners, they're obviously in "win now" mode, and they could use some rotation depth. In part that's because youngsters Taijuan Walker and James Paxton may not be ready to pitch to their potential right away. A front three of Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Santana, however, would be a pronounced strength. But would a Santana signing in essence eliminate the Mariners as a contender for Masahiro Tanaka, should he be posted this offseason?