Minnesota Twins May Not See Hector Santiago Again

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 14: Hector Santiago
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 14: Hector Santiago /

Lost in the Joe Nathan celebration and September 1 promotions, the Twins moved Hector Santiago to the 60-day DL, likely ending his season,
and with it, his Minnesota Twins career.

The Minnesota Twins called up three minor league veterans to join their playoff push on Friday, and to make room on the 40-man roster for Niko Goodrum, who was not on the 40-man roster, they moved lefty Hector Santiago to the 60-day disabled list.

What this means for Santiago

In all likelihood, it means that the Hector Santiago is done as a member of the Minnesota Twins. Santiago is a free agent after this season, and most likely he will not be healthy enough to return in 2017.

Santiago struggled in his rehab start on Tuesday, though his line didn’t show terribly bad, as he went 2 2/3 innings, allowing a run on a hit and 2 walks, striking out 1. However, Santiago’s location and break of his offspeed stuff was lacking, and his velocity on all of his pitches was significantly hampered. This was after the Twins had pulled him back from his rehab after was ramping up at the end of July/start of August toward a return before things slipped backward.

Santiago will be a free agent, and he will not be offered a qualifying offer by the Twins, and most likely the Twins will not be pursuing him as a free agent option.

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Santiago’s Twins Legacy

Santiago was acquired last summer in a deal that many Minnesota Twins fans disliked then and still struggle with now. On the trade deadline last season, the Twins sent Ricky Nolasco, Alex Meyer, and cash to the Los Angeles Angels for Santiago and Alan Busenitz.

The Twins were hoping that the swap of Nolasco and Santiago in performance would be essentially a wash, with the big benefit of the swap being that instead of paying $12M in salary for 2017 and a $13M team option that could turn into a player option with a fairly possible 400 IP over 2016-2017 (Nolasco will need roughly 53 innings the rest of the way to make it, so he likely won’t get the player option, but he will come close), they instead had Santiago, owed $8M in 2017 before becoming a free agent after the 2017 season.

For the guarantee of that money off of the books, the Twins swapped Meyer for Busenitz, and while Busenitz has come on to be a very effective reliever, the upside of Meyer really is tough for many Twins fans to have lost in the deal. The fact that Nolasco then put up a very impressive 3.21 ERA after the trade with the Angels only stung worse.

In the end, Santiago will have given the Twins only that guarantee of an open spot in the pocketbook for 2018.

Next: What to do with Mauer in 2018?

It’s probably best to remember Santiago for games like that game against the White Sox. After such an impressive WBC showing, the expectations for Santiago coming into 2017 were high, and he started the season well, going 2-1 with a 2.43 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 8/23 BB/K ratio over 29 2/3 innings in April before things went downhill for him this season and once he hit the disabled list, he never could work his way back.