Santana’s agent says Royals are not in talks for free agent

It appears that Seattle and Baltimore are the leading candidates for Ervin Santana -- at a price that has dropped.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Spring training is just days away and former Royals right-hander Ervin Santana remains unsigned.

But even though Santana’s sticker price has fallen dramatically, and there have been public pleas on Twitter from Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie for Santana to come back to Kansas City, don’t expect the Royals to jump into negotiations.

Santana’s agent says the Royals are not in discussions to re-sign the free agent, and haven’t been for some time.

Jay Alou of Proformance Baseball says he last heard from the Royals a few weeks ago and described the inquiry as nothing more than just "kicking the tires."

"I just think they have their (rotation) set with the guys they already signed," Alou said by phone. "I think the main thing is they just ran out of money."

But Alou did not rule out the possibility that the Royals still could clear payroll space with a trade and thus make room for Santana, whose sticker price has dropped from about $100 million to likely about $42 million over three years.

There had been speculation earlier this off-season that the Royals might clear salary space by moving designated hitter Billy Butler, who is scheduled to make $8 million this season and $12.5 million next season in a club option year.

The Royals, though, have not been openly shopping Butler, according to general manager Dayton Moore.

Seattle and Baltimore appear to be the leading candidates to sign Santana, ahead of Toronto, which appears to be fading from contention for him.

You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email