Royals’ restructuring of Guthrie contract in November not tied to Santana

As much as Royals fans might like to think that the restructuring of the contract of Jeremy Guthrie (above) might allow the club to sweeten its offer to free agent Ervin Santana, it isn't likely.

Peter Aiken/Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The restructuring of Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie’s three-year contract wouldn’t appear to have any connection with renewed Royals interest to re-sign Ervin Santana.

Guthrie signed a three-year, $25 million deal prior to the 2013 season and was scheduled to make $11 million in 2014 and $9 million in 2015. But the New York Post reported Monday that Guthrie’s deal was restructured so that he will earn $8 million this season, $9 million in 2015 and have a 2016 mutual-option year added to the deal.

The mutual-option year would be for $10 million with a $3.2 million buyout — the buyout figure thus making the guaranteed money essentially equal to the original deal.

General manager Dayton Moore confirmed by phone Monday that Guthrie’s deal was restructured, but said that it was done in early November.

"It just gave us some flexibility financially at that time," Moore said.

The flexibility and small financial savings aren’t likely to involve any future offers toward Santana, however.

Jay Alou, one of Santana’s representatives, told by phone that he has not had any contact with the Royals since the Winter Meetings in early December.

"They know how we feel," Alou said. "Ervin loved Kansas City. He loved his teammates and he loved everyone there. Really liked the city and he told me that just about every day. He said he never felt so welcome anywhere, and that’s a credit to Dayton.

"And I know the Royals would like him back. It’s just a matter of the length of the contract. Ervin really wants to settle down somewhere for five years or so. That’s the goal. And I don’t know if Royals ownership is committed to that kind of deal."

Santana rejected the Royals’ qualifying offer of $14.1 million last fall. But his goal of seeking a multiyear offer in the $20 million-per-year range has been stalled this off-season.

One reason for the delay is the heavy pursuit by many teams of Japanese superstar pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.

"I think once Tanaka lands somewhere," Alou said, "we’ll see some other things fall into place. Everybody is just kind of waiting on that."

Some teams, though, might be scared off from signing Santana not only because of the heavy financial commitment, but also because of having to surrender a first-round pick.

If interest in Santana continues to stall, Santana could, in theory, come back to the Royals on a one-year deal in the $17-20 million range and then try free agency again after the 2014 season.

But Alou said that scenario seemed a bit far-fetched.

"Well, look, stranger things have happened, I will say that," he said. "But this is Ervin’s first step into free agency and he really is looking to settle somewhere. That was kind of the point of all this."