Royals have had talks with agent to re-sign Santana
NOV 12, 2013 3:03p ET
Royals general manager Dayton Moore told FOXSportsKansasCity.com by phone that he will continue to pursue a deal for Santana.
"Yes, we've been in contact," Moore said. "It is very early in the process, but certainly we are hopeful. We've said all along that it is our priority to maintain the quality of our pitching staff, and that starts by taking care of our own."
On Monday, Santana and his representative, the Proformance Baseball Management Company, officially rejected the Royals' qualifying offer of one year at $14.1 million.
"That wasn't a surprise," Moore said.
None of the 13 free agents who were offered the qualifying offer from their former club accepted. If Santana were to sign with another club, the Royals would receive a compensatory first-round draft pick next June, likely to be around No. 36.
And while the Royals remain in the hunt for Santana, they might not be able to compete if the asking-price figures floated by Santana's camp are true -- a reported $100 million over five years.
Moore elected not to comment on those reports.
"We look over all of the factors and examine our own internal reports on a player," Moore said, "and then we come up with what we think is a competitive offer."
There also have been reports that the Royals could be interested in right-hander Phil Hughes, who made $7.5 million last season for the Yankees. Hughes had a hugely disappointing season, going 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA in 2013.
But Hughes is only 27, and he had an 18-win season when current Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland was with the Yankees. The Royals also would not have to surrender a draft pick if they signed Hughes because he was not offered a qualifying offer by the Yankees.
Moore said he had no comment on potential interest in Hughes.
Moore did indicate that the Royals have a high degree of optimism for their in-house candidates in the rotation behind James Shields and Jeremy Guthrie.
"We're very excited about the futures of Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura," he said, "and we think Kyle Zimmer is very close.
"There certainly is a possibility that Luke Hochevar could make a strong return to the rotation, and we believe Wade Davis could as well. Will Smith is another possibility."
Another off-season priority for Moore has been to upgrade the offense, and Royals fans were a bit alarmed when an ESPN report surfaced weeks ago that the Royals were listening to offers for designated hitter Billy Butler, their most consistent hitter over the past few years.
But Moore cautioned not to put much stock in those reports.
"If you listened to everything being reported, we've been about to trade Billy every year for the past three years," Moore said. "As a general manager, you always talk to other GMs and hear who they like and you bounce names around and you see who likes who. It's just common practice.
"It doesn't mean you're trading all these players."
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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