On Halloween, the Angels decided to conclude the often-nightmarish tenure of Angel starter Ervin Santana by trading him to the Kansas City Royals for lefty reliever Brandon Sisk.
Santana, whose career in Los Angeles defined mercurial, mixed a mid-90′s fastball and potentially devastating slider during his best seasons. He peaked in 2008, with a 16-7 record, 147 ERA+, and a 4.55 K/BB that was well-above his career mark of 2.46. Named to the All-Star team that season, he teamed with Joe Saunders, Jon Lackey, and a developing Jered Weaver to lead the Halos to 100 wins. Back-t0-back strong campaigns in 2010-2011 were overshadowed by Santana’s brutal 2012, one that saw him give up a major league-leading 39 home runs. His 73 ERA+ and -1.6 WAR represent career lows.
Santana, signed by the Angels as an amateur free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2000, broke in with the Halos in 2005. He quickly became known for a strange ability to dominate at home and struggle mightily on the road. 2012 was no exception, as his 4.12 home ERA ballooned to 6.22 away from Angels Stadium.
Santana’s overall numbers with the Angels include a 96-80 record in 236 appearences, 7 shut outs, 1475.2 innings pitched, a 97 ERA+ with a 4.33 ERA, and 1167 strikeouts against 475 walks. His lifetime WAR is 10.6. He struggled in the postseason, making 2 starts and 6 relief appearances en route to a 5.56 ERA, though he did throw 2 scoreless innings against Boston in his lone 2007 ALDS appearance.
On July 27th, 2011, Santana no-hit the Cleveland Indians, a team who had previously left him winless. Before trading him, the Angels picked up Santana’s 13 million dollar option with, current reports say, the Royals handling 12 million.
In return, the Angels acquired Brandon Sisk, a 27 year old lefty in the Royals system. Sisk put together a strong 2012 campaign with AAA Omaha, limiting opponents to a 2.54 ERA across 50 appearances, all in relief. His minor league totals include a 2.59 ERA and a 2.79 K/BB rate in 340.1 innings pitched. The Angels expect Sisk to be in the mix for a middle relief role come next spring. Look for Hudson to cover Sisk more throughly in the next day or two.
The Santana deal makes it more likely that the Angels will pursue Zack Greinke aggressively while also picking up Dan Haren’s option. With Weaver and Wilson locked in, Garrett Richards would at the moment strike me as the most probable #5.