Friday, August 17, 2018

Contemplating Ervin Santana

The expectation was that Ervin Santana would be moved this month in a waiver deal to a contender.

Five starts into his belated 2018 season, that seems highly unlikely. Santana didn't get an out in the fifth inning Thursday. He is averaging a bit less than five innings a start with an ERA of 8.03. His velocity is down and his home runs are up.

Clearly the surgery on his right middle finger has proven more serious than anyone involved expected -- or at least admitted -- back in February.

The Twins hold a $14 million option on him for 2019. I expect them to pay the buyout instead and let Santana, 35. go.

They may not even wait until the offseason. The time is coming when the roster spot, or at least the rotation berth, is more valuable than what remains to be paid of his 2018 salary.

We're not there yet, if only because Aldaberto Mejia is still on the disabled list. The Twins can be patient and hope that Santana shows something useful in his next start. But if and when his presence gets in the way of evaluating Mejia and/or Kohl Stewart for 2019, Santana may well be release bait.

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