If you were like me, you had your fingertips on Twitter all week as teams gathered in San Diego for this year’s winter meetings. Seeing all these huge trades and signings made me wonder what was General Manager Terry Ryan thinking, as no Twins news was breaking. There were rumors and rumblings on what moves the Twins could be seeking, but only one thing stayed the same: reports kept coming back to a free agent pitcher. Indeed, on December 11, the last day of meetings, the Twins struck a deal with starting pitcher Ervin Santana on a four-year, $55 million contract with a vesting option for 2019.
Santana, who has been contacted by the Twins before, scored the biggest free agent contract in Twins history after a pretty good 2014, when he went 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA and 179 strikeouts while in Atlanta. During his ten years in MLB, the 32-year-old has played with three teams, racking up 1,507 strikeouts and a combined record of 119-100. Santana, who made his only All-Star appearance in 2008, has exceeded 200 innings pitched several times that resulted in him pitching 14 complete games in his career, and one no-hitter in 2011.
After signing right fielder Torii Hunter on December 3 to a significant contract, Ryan had to show his fan base that he was serious about improving pitching. I think the Twins are just about there in bringing in big-time pitchers, but the Twins must show us more as many teams in their division made a flurry of moves to compete. Hopefully, combining Santana with Phil Hughes, who won 16 games this past year, the Twins can climb in the standings. To do that though, the Twins must not be scared to continue shelling out the big dough for talent.
***In other news: the Blue Jays claimed Chris Colabello from the Twins on December 8. After being red-hot in April, Colabello, who had 6 home runs and 47 hits, slipped all the way to the minors in 2014. Another noteworthy development would be that the Twins lost left-handed pitcher Sean Gilmartin to the New York Mets in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday, but picked up pitcher J.R. Graham from Atlanta.
Written by: Michael L. Sack