The cost to acquire a starter

Want to add a free agent starter this offseason? You’re going to have to back up a few Brinks trucks to land your guy.

Or maybe a few dozen.’s Ken Rosenthal is reporting that free agent righty Ervin Santana is seeking more than $100 million on a five-year deal, while right-hander Ricky Nolasco is looking for a five-year contract worth $80 million.

This is the same Ervin Santana who pitched to a 5.16 ERA and allowed a whopping 39 home runs, most in the major leagues, in 2012. This is the same guy who has a career 4.19 ERA and a 100 ERA+, making him the definition of an average major league starter.

Oh, and because the Royals extended Santana a qualifying offer, any other team that signs him will need to forfeit a high pick in the 2014 first-year player draft.

Nolasco, meanwhile, had posted four straight seasons with an ERA north of 4.45 prior to going 13-11 with a 3.70 ERA this season.

Anyone interested in the above five-year proposals for either of these two?

Of course, that’s just what Santana and Nolasco’s agents will be looking for on the free agent market. Doesn’t mean a team will fork over that much cash. But it does speak to how much it might cost to land a starter via free agency this year, even though the market isn’t thought to be loaded with top-notch talent.

Don’t go thinking that acquiring a top starter via a trade will be any less expensive, however. You’ll not only need to pay in cash in the form of a contract extention, but you’ll need to pay with an abundance of talent.

Those who want to kick around possible proposals in order for the Nationals to acquire David Price from the Rays or Max Scherzer from the Tigers (if he’s even available) shouldn’t think that a combination of Drew Storen, Taylor Jordan and Tyler Moore will get the job done.

Look at what the Rays got from the Royals last year in exchange for James Shields and Wade Davis: Wil Myers (the reigning minor league player of the year and one of the top prospects in all of baseball), right-hander Jake Odorizzi (arguably the Royals’ top pitching prospect at the time), left-hander Mike Montgomery (a former top prospect who was still just 23 at the time of the trade) and third baseman Patrick Leonard (a low-level prospect).

All of that for Shields and Davis. With Price, we’re talking about a left-handed ace, a guy who at 28 has already won one Cy Young Award, finished second another year and made three All-Star teams. He has a career ERA of 3.19 and averages 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

With Scherzer, we’re talking about a guy who is about to win the American League Cy Young Award after going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and ridiculous 0.970 WHIP. His stock has never been higher.

Any package for one of those two guys will need to include not just a late-inning reliever and a possible back-of-the-rotation major league starter, but at least one or two top prospects. Think Anthony Rendon. Think Lucas Giolito.

That’s not to say such a deal can’t be crafted, but those who want the Nationals to make a legitimate run at either Price or Scherzer might not understand just how much it will take to land one of those two top starters. Both are ridiculously talented and in the prime of their careers. You’ll need loads of talent to make the trade happen, then loads of cash to sign your new starter to an extension.

On another note, Denard Span was selected as the Nationals’ recipient of the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award, handed out to the best defensive player on each major league team.

Span was selected a finalist for the Gold Glove among National League center fielders only to lose out to Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez. But Span takes home a different defensive honor after posting an error-free season in 384 total chances.

While Ian Desmond was also nominated for a Gold Glove, I don’t think the race for the Nats’ top defensive player was all that close this season. Span takes it by a decent margin, in my book.

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