Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Contemplating Johan Santana

Johan Santana: On the shelf since
August 2012.
The word Monday out of Sarasota, Fla. -- where, by coincidence, Minnesota Twins split squad was playing the Baltimore Orioles -- was that Johan Santana was about to sign a minor league deal with the O's.

And good luck to him. While emotionally I will probably always want Santana to return to the Twins, the news last week that he could barely break 80 mph during a bullpen session convinced me that he and the 2014 Twins are not a good fit.

The upside to Santana is the possibility that, with continued rehab on his post-surgical shoulder, he might be an effective pitcher in the second half of the season. (There is a greater likelihood that continued rehab on his post-surgical shoulder will still leave him without sufficient velocity, but a minor-league deal represents minimal risk for the team.)

If and when the Twins need to swap out a rotation piece in the second half, their preference should be to give one of the prospects a shot. Alex Meyer. Trevor May. Kyle Gibson. They represent the future, and Santana is a piece of the past. A beloved piece of the past, but still ...

Santana can't serve this year as a placeholder for the kids, and he's certainly not some to rely on for future seasons. He makes more sense for Baltimore, which holds ambitions of a playoff run this year.

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