The Twins today signed free agent pitcher Ervin Santana to a four-year $55 million deal. According to ESPN, the right-hander is guaranteed $54 million over the four years, with a conditional option worth $14 million in 2019 if he throws more than 200 innings. He will receive a $1 million buyout if the Twins don’t exercise the option. The contract sets a new Twins high water mark for a free agent spending, eclipsing the $49 million deal with Ricky Nolasco last year. Because he was tendered by the Braves, Santana will cost the Twins a draft choice, a second rounder since their first round selection was protected due to the Twins poor record last year. The most recent (2006) Twins second round pick to play for Minnesota was outfielder Joe Benson. To view a complete list of Minnesota Twins round two selections you need to click here.
Santana who just turned 32 yesterday is from the Dominican Republic and pitched for the Atlanta Braves this past season going 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA in his first and only season in the National League. Santana was originally signed by the Angels in 2000 and made his major league debut with them in 2005. 2015 will be Santana’s eleventh in the big leagues and he has a career 119-100 record with a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians in 2011 on his resume. In his 10 previous seasons Santana has averaged 188 innings per season and he has a career mark of 7.2 SO/9.
Over all this should be a very nice addition to the Twins starting pitching staff. I would expect Ricky Nolasco to pitch better than he did in 2014, Phil Hughes may not put up the same kind of numbers this season as he did last but he should still be a very good pitcher, Kyle Gibson should be improved with another season under his belt, and who ever fills out the rotation in the fifth spot should make this staff the best the Twins have had in many years. I like it!
During the just concluded baseball winter meetings the Twins lost Chris Colabello to the Toronto Blue Jays on a waiver claim.
The Twins picked up 24-year-old right-handed pitcher J.R. Graham from the Atlanta Braves via the Rule 5 draft this past Thursday. Graham must make the Twins 25 man roster in 2015 or be returned to Atlanta or a trade could be worked out with Atlanta for the Twins to keep Graham but not be forced to put him on the 25 man roster. The New York Mets selected Twins LHP Sean Gilmartin in the same Rule 5 draft.
MLBtradeRumors has reported that the Twins have also signed 26-year-old right-handed pitcher Brayan Villarreal to split contract with an invitation to spring training. Villarreal last pitched in the majors in 2013 and spent last season in AAA with the Red Sox organization. During spring training with the Detroit Tigers in 2013 Villarreal’s family was the victim of a kidnapping attempt in his native Venezuela. Armed robbers had broken into the family home and threatened his father and 14-year-old brother in an attempt to extort money. Police however, and were able to free the hostages without injury.
Former Twins pitcher Juan Berenguer filed suit this week in U.S. District Court alleging that “personnel from various entities in Minnesota illegally obtained Berenguer’s private, personal and confidential driver’s license information without a legitimate or permissible law-enforcement purpose or any other lawful purpose.” The suit says his private information was viewed more than 125 times between 2005 and 2011, in violation of the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act.
I didn’t write alot about the Twins recent free agent signing of outfielder Torii Hunter and to be honest I am really torn by this. How can you not like that great smile and that bubbly personality but yet the man is 39 years old and he will bank about $10 million for his efforts. This former and now current Twin is one of my all-time favorite Minnesota Twins but I am not sure how much Hunter has left in the tank. The Twins plan to use him in right field and plan to move Oswaldo Arcia to left. I had really hoped that the Twins would give prospect Eddie Rosario a real shot at left field but now that looks like it won’t happen unless either Arcia or Hunter fails big time. Rosario is not really a center fielder but the Twins have had worse players out there the last few years, still, I don’t see the Twins giving Rosario a shot there. I think the biggest plus from adding Hunter will simply be his presence on the team, his will to win and professional attitude can’t help but rub off on the teams younger players and show them the path they need to take and the effort they need to put forth to once again make the Minnesota Twins winners.
I just saw on MLBTradeRumors that the Twins have designated Chris Parmelee for assignment to make room on the roster for Ervin Santana. I didn’t see this move coming at this stage of the off-season. Parmelee was the Twins first round selection in 2006 (20th over all) and made his big league debut in September of 2011. Parmelee played sparingly for the Twins from 2011-2014 and just never lived up to what the Twins expected from this former first rounder.