The Minnesota Twins have made another big splash in the starting pitching market. A year after signing both Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco to multi-year deals, the club inked former Brave Ervin Santana to a four-year, $55 million contract that includes a vesting option for a fifth year.
Source: E. Santana deal with #Twins is actually four years, $55M. Includes $14M vesting option for fifth year or $1M buyout. Max out: 5/68.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2014
Santana turns 32 on Friday, and is coming off of a pretty good 2014 season with the Braves. He tossed 196 innings, striking out 179 and walking 63 while pitching to a 3.95 ERA. He’ll be returning to the AL Central, where he shined with Kansas City in 2012. That year, Santana threw 211 innings of 3.24 ERA ball, punching out 161 and walking 51.
With Santana moving back to an AL Central division that could be stronger in 2015 than the NL East he pitched in this year, there’s a decent chance this deal could blow up in Minnesota’s face. Despite his solid 2014, they’re paying for his early to mid-30s seasons, and also sacrificing a second round draft pick (because their first rounder is in the top ten and protected).
It’s a win now move from Terry Ryan and company, but Minnesota still looks like the worst team on paper in the division. I’m wondering if the Twins have any other moves up their sleeve, because in a vacuum, this just seems bizarre.