Jays, Orioles remain in on Santana, who seems to prefer 1-year deal

Ervin Santana remains in talks with at least the Orioles and Blue Jays, who at the moment appear to be the main teams in the derby for the top free-agent pitcher, barring a last-minute change.

Both have made reasonable one-year offers, with the Blue Jays believed to be in the neighborhood of the $14 million mark, and the Orioles thought to have initially offered a couple million dollars less than that. Baltimore hasn't ruled out the possibility of adding an incentive package, which could allow the Orioles' deal to be worth as much as Toronto's or perhaps a little bit more.

While Santana is said to have fielded interest in three-year possibilties from a couple teams, word is that Santana actually prefers a one-year deal at this point. People close to him suggest he'd love the chance to re-prove himself with a big year or two. So in effect he looks to be that rare player willing to bet big on himself. A one-year deal could subject Santana to another qualifying offer next year, but it is expected to go up into the $15 million range.

Santana, 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA in an impressive 2013 season, is one of three remaining top free agents whose market has been hurt by a qualifying offer made by his '13 team, the Royals. Santana, who has been working out daily in Scottsdale, Ariz., has been expected to sign soon, as he hopes to be ready for the start of the season..

The Twins, who already signed three free-agent pitchers this offseason, have showed interest in Santana, but more likely on a multiyear deal. The Orioles also at one point are believed to have contemplated a multiyear deal.

There's been some thought the Braves might get involved after injury issues cropped up the past two days with starters Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, but it isn't known how involved Atlanta is to this point.

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