Thursday, July 7, 2016

Ervin Santana, trade bait

Quite the game Ervin Santana pitched Wednesday afternoon: A two-hit shutout in which he faced just one batter over the minimum.

The veteran has suddenly put together a nice streak of starts:

  • June 19: 7.1 innings, 2 earned runs vs. Yankees
  • June 25: 5 innings, 1 earned run vs Yankees
  • July 1: 6.1 innings, 2 earned runs vs. Rangers
  • July 6: 9 innings, 0 runs vs. Athletics

That's a 1.62 ERA over four starts, 27.2 innings. Before that binge, I noted that Santana has had a few clunker seasons with 5-something ERAs and surmised that this would be another such, but he's now got the ERA down to 4.06. The next best ERA of the nine men to have started a game for the Twins is Kyle Gibson's 4.82.

We can nitpic this streak. The Yankees and A's are two of the lowest-scoring teams in the American League this year, and Wednesday's gem exploited a weary lineup (the noon start was about 10 hours after the end of Tuesday's rain-delayed game). But a 1.62 ERA is a 1.62 ERA.

There's been a bit of chatter about the high-level scouts appearing at Target Field during the just-completed homestand, and Terry Ryan has been rather blunt about his intent to make trades this month. Santana might be as appealing a piece of trade bait as Ryan has to offer.

A commenter Wednesday urged Ryan to "sell high" on Santana. I don't know that the return on him gyrates all that much start to start. He is who he is: a 33-year-old whose ERA and other stats (excepting the won-lost record) this year is pretty much in line with his career averages with two more seasons on his contract. The price for him may change more by perceived need and opportunity. Maybe the All-Star break is the best time to move him; maybe later in the month will be better.

We don't know for sure, and neither does Terry Ryan, He at least knows what the market actually is today.

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