The Dust Settles, Ervin Santana Ranks Amongst The Elite
Here we sit, nearing single digit days until Spring Training beings, and baseball has finally watched the majority of the free agency dust settle. With only a few veterans left on the market, most are looking for Spring Training invites, or the opportunity to fill out a big league roster. With the cream of the crop in the pitching market having all signed, the Twins need to feel good about inking Ervin Santana, and what that means for the franchise.
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The big three this offseason were composed of Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, and James Shields. Without a doubt, each of those pitchers were far and away the most talented options on the market. The Nationals ended up mortgaging their future in signing Scherzer to what looks like a ludicrous deal. Chicago went out and grabbed Lester making them an immediate postseason threat. Finally, Shields signed with the Padres in hopes of filling out a team that was built through the offseason, despite the tales of so many before them.
And then there’s Ervin Santana.
During the offseason, the Twins signed Santana to not only the highest contract in team history, but his four-year, $55 million deal ranks fourth amongst pitchers signed this offseason. Of course Santana was never going to touch the over $100 million that both Scherzer and Lester saw themselves getting, but he finds himself in great company. An innings eater with the ability to strike batters out, the Twins get a Shields prototype for roughly $20 million less.
After a strong season with the Atlanta Braves last year, Santana was finally able to cash in on the multi-year deal he was looking for. At 31 years old, the Twins actually land a pitcher two years the junior to Shields, and one that saw even better success in 2013 when he was with the AL Central Kansas City Royals. Having divisional familiarity on his side is something that should benefit Santana this season. Slotting into a rotation that looks like it should be much improved also takes pressure off of Santana being “the guy,” unlike what Ricky Nolasco experienced a season ago.
So while the Twins didn’t open up their checkbook to the same extent as the Nationals or Cubs, they actually may come out of the offseason having signed the best option in a dollar for dollar sense. 2015 should be a good year for Santana, and the Twins stand to benefit.
Next: Projecting The 2015 Twins Starting Rotation
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