Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Contemplating Johan Santana

Johan Santana threw two perfect innings Tuesday night in the Venezuelan winter league, his first "official" competition since 2012. He missed last season with a torn Achilles tendon and missed 2013 after a second surgery on his shoulder capsule.

The Daily News (New York) had reported that he was to throw three innings and up to 50 pitches. It wound up being two innings and 17 pitches.

Reportedly his velocity Tuesday was where it was last spring, when he was trying to launch a comeback with the Baltimore Orioles: upper 80s with the fastball, mid-to-upper 70s with the change. That's nowhere near the mid-90s velocity he displayed while winning two Cy Young Awards with the Twins a decade ago, but the separation between the fastball and the change-up is the key, and that separation is there if those velocity readings are correct.

I have a great deal of nostalgic fondness for Santana -- more than I do for Torii Hunter -- and I'll root him wherever he lands, but the reality is I don't think he and the Twins are a good fit. He's 35, 36 before the season begins, and far from a sure thing. He might make sense for a contender looking for rotation depth, but the Twins are not a contender and, in my opinion, have too many questionable veterans cluttering their rotation now.

If the Twins have a rotation spot available -- and I don't see it -- I would rather see it go to Alex Meyer or Trevor May. Invest it in the future, not in the past.

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