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November 1, 2012 at 12:08 pm ET
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Angels Use Voodoo on KC, Acquire Guy You’ve Never Heard of

Well, OK then.

Word broke Tuesday that the Angels were “aggressively shopping”* both Ervin Santana and Dan Haren. Not 24 hours later, (the worse) one of them was gone.

Consider Santana “shopped”, I guess.

The Angels had a 2013 club option on Santana that amounted to either a $13 million salary or a $1 million buyout. The Angels’ deadline for coming to a decision on said option was 9 p.m. PT last night (Wednesday). By trading Santana, 29, to the Royals along with a cool million in cash, Jerry Dipoto and the Angelinos have essentially bought out Santana’s option and received a free player in return.

Said free player is left-handed reliever Brandon Sisk. The 27-year-old Sisk has steadily made his way through the Royals’ farm system since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2008, spending the last two seasons at the squad’s Triple-A affiliate in Omaha.

Sisk has succeeded in missing bats at every level – including a 9.3 K/9 rate at Triple-A – but has struggled with his command recently, walking more than four batters per nine over the last two years. Despite his inability to find the strike zone at times, Sisk has maintained a stellar 2.17 ERA in his last 99 1/3 innings, which is a pretty damn solid number for the Pacific Coast League.

The large asterisk with Sisk is that he has yet to pitch at the big-league level. There’s no knowing whether Sisk’s strikeout numbers will translate to the majors until he’s actually there. The left-hander could prove to be a great bullpen asset for the Angels in 2013 despite his greenness, or he could crash and burn as a result of inexperience/SSS/luck dragons**. Such is the way with relievers.

Looking at the trade from a money/value standpoint without the benefit of time, results or perspective of any kind, it seems that the Angels “won” this trade. I wouldn’t go so far to say that GMDM has been swindled, but the Royals are definitely taking a large risk by deciding that Ervin Santana – he of the 5.16 ERA and league-worst 39 long balls allowed in 2012 – will be worth $12 million next season. Hoping for roughly 3.0 WAR from a pitcher who’s only done so once in his career – five years ago, no less – doesn’t seem like the best bet for Kansas City.

Santana’s career as an Angel comes to an end after eight roller-coaster seasons. Ervin has always had electric stuff at his disposal but has never really been able to control it on a consistent basis, following flashes of brilliance with streaks of sheer suckage. Santana had one year*** in which he simply could not win a game on the road, then the next — out of nowhere — he was the club’s de facto ace, never to be heard from again after that season. As frustrating and stressful as it was to watch Ervin take the mound in Anaheim at times, he will be missed and I wish him well in KC.

____________________

*Whenever I see the phrase “aggressively shopping” –- which, thankfully, is not too often –- the first image to come to my head is the team’s GM racing through some sort of Costco or Sams’s Club pushing the rumored players in his shopping cart as he goes. Somehow I don’t think that’s the imagery the writers intended.

**Or he could just stay at Triple-A as organizational depth, but that’s boring.

***In 2007, Santana was a solid 6-4 with a 3.27 ERA in 12 starts at home. On the road? 1-10 with an 8.38 ERA in 14 starts. Sheesh.

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