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Anthopoulos sheds light on Santana pursuit

Anthopoulos sheds light on Santana pursuit

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays thought they were on the verge of signing Ervin Santana this spring, but it appears as though some creativity was going to be needed in order to get a deal done.

A report from FoxSports late Thursday night suggested several Blue Jays players were willing to defer payments on their contracts to help Toronto sign the sought-after pitcher. Blue Jays president Paul Beeston said on CBC Radio Friday morning "there was a discussion about that," but it wasn't immediately clear whether the idea came from the players or the front office.

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The concept never became a reality, as Santana ended up signing a one-year contract with the Braves. Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos declined to go into detail about the situation.

"I know I have to respond to the story because I know it's out there, but I wouldn't really qualify it one way or the other just because it's specific to a negotiation that we had that ultimately didn't get done and I'd prefer not to get into specifics," Anthopoulos said.

The only thing Anthopoulos would confirm is that the Blue Jays had an agreement in place with Santana midway through Spring Training. That had long been assumed, but Friday marked the first time Anthopoulos offered confirmation.

The timeline is still a little bit murky, but several reports surfaced on March 8 that the Blue Jays were on the verge of signing Santana to a one-year contract worth approximately $14 million. One day later, Braves No. 1 starter Kris Medlen went down with an injury and all of a sudden another team entered the mix.

The belief for the past several weeks was that Santana backed out of a verbal agreement with the Blue Jays when an offer was presented by Atlanta. Anthopoulos has yet to come out and say those exact words, but he came pretty close prior to Friday's home opener vs. the Yankees.

"Our comments with respect to Santana is we felt we had an agreement in place," Anthopoulos said. "Things didn't develop that way, Atlanta had the injury on Sunday, and he preferred to go to the NL at that point, which was certainly his choice.

"We wish Ervin well, how we would have structured things, payments and things like that, those are things that we would keep in house regardless. I think the important thing to take away is that we had the ability to have him here. We felt we had an agreement in place. Save for Kris Medlen being hurt, I believe Ervin Santana would be here today."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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