Minnesota Twins pitcher Ervin Santana is expected to miss 10-12 weeks after undergoing surgery on his finger Tuesday, the Twins said in a statement.
The Twins said that Santana began feeling discomfort in his right middle finger last week while throwing bullpens. It’s apparently an issue he’s experienced in the past. The Twins previously treated it with an injection, but now they decided surgery was needed.
This surgery puts Santana’s ability to start the season for the Twins in doubt. Perhaps he could be looking at a May return.
Santana, 35, has had consecutive strong seasons for the Twins. He went 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA last season and might have been the team’s Opening Day starter this year.
As the pennant race heats up in Major League Baseball, the league’s various contenders find themselves in different spots. The likes of the Houston Astros, Washington Nationals, and Los Angeles Dodgers have more or less wrapped up their divisions. Aside from those teams, there are several franchises that still have a lot to play for. These teams are competing for division titles or wild-card spots.
Here are eight players on teams that may or may not make the playoffs. Each of these players will have a major say in what happens with their team.
1) Mike Trout, Angels
Finally, we get to see Trout in an actual playoff race again. The surprising Angels are right in the thick of the American League wild card race. They are competing despite the fact that Trout missed a month and a half of the season.
The superstar outfielder is the type of player who is talented enough to single-handedly lift his team into the postseason, and he’s certainly trying to do so. With seven home runs in 22 August games, Trout has been pacing the Angels in what may somehow be his best career season yet. If he keeps it up, an Angels playoff appearance may not be as far-fetched as it once seemed.
2) Aroldis Chapman, Yankees
The non-waiver trade deadline may have already passed, but the Seattle Mariners are still pursuing upgrades on the waiver trade market.
Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reported over the weekend that the M’s have tried to trade for Minnesota Twins righty Ervin Santana “multiple times.” Divish does add however that trade talks between the two sides are currently “on hold” with the Twins passing the Mariners in the AL Wild Card standings.
The 34-year-old Santana, who named an All-Star this year, holds a 12-7 record with a 3.28 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 24 starts. He is under club control for two more seasons and is familiar with both Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais from their time with the Los Angeles Angels.
The Twins won’t be helping a fellow Wild Card competitor unless they fall out of the race these next few weeks. But they flirted with trading Santana before, and for their part, the Mariners badly need quality starting pitching, especially with aces Felix Hernandez and James Paxton currently on the disabled list.
Any MLB team will feel better if they have a dominant ace pitcher they can turn to every fifth day. These aces can stop a losing streak or prolong a winning one. Overall they make everyone feel better about their chances at least once or twice a week. Aces are even more valuable in the playoffs, where a dominant pitcher can theoretically pitch three times in a best-of-seven series, making his team an incredibly tough out in October.
There are always ups-and-downs during a season, and players performing well early in the season could fade late. But for now, here is a list of the ten best ace pitchers in baseball currently.
1) Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox
Sale is already proving to be well worth the prospect expenditure that the Red Sox surrendered to acquire him in the offseason. He’s walked into Boston — a tough market in a tough ballpark in a tough division — and only gotten better. His strikeout rate is at an all-time high, having fanned 12.46 per nine — that’s 126 strikeouts in 91 innings, including eight consecutive starts in which he struck out ten batters or more.
Sale has earned praise from arguably the best Red Sox pitcher of all time, and he shows no sign of stopping. He strikes out a ton of batters, doesn’t walk many, and is an uncomfortable at bat for righties, much less lefties who have to deal with his unorthodox delivery and wipeout slider. He, too, is only 28.
The Red Sox have a stud leading their staff for years to come.
2) Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
The Toronto Blue Jays continue to pursue starting pitching options from all rungs of the ladder.
According to a report by Jon Morosi of MLB Network on Sunday, the Blue Jays are discussing the possibility of an Ervin Santana trade with the Minnesota Twins.
Santana will be 34 in December and is just 4-9 this season with a 3.66 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 19 starts. But he can pitch deep into ballgames, walks very few batters, and limits damage against him to a minimum. He is in Year 2 of a four-year, $55 million contract with a club option for 2019.
The Blue Jays, for their part, have also sniffed around lefties like Rich Hill and CC Sabathia recently. While an aging veteran like Santana doesn’t possess much upside anymore, the entire league seems to be clamoring for rotation help, so he might be a more realistic target for the Blue Jays.
Ervin Santana was suspended 80 games after testing positive for steroids, MLB announced Friday.
Santana signed a four-year, $55 million deal with the Minnesota Twins over the offseason and was supposed to anchor the team’s pitching staff. Coming off a season where he posted a 3.91 ERA last season with the Braves, Santana may have been looking for an extra edge entering the season and decided to get on the juice. He tested positive for stanozolol, which is an old school steroid. David Rollins and Arodys Vizcaino also tested positive for it this week, coincidentally.
Santana was set to earn $13.5 million this season, so missing 80 games means he will forfeit around $6.75 million.
The Twins recalled Aaron Thompson to take Santana’s spot on the roster.
Santana released a statement regarding his suspension:
One of the prolonged stories of the Major League Baseball offseason has been the destination of free agent starting pitcher Ervin Santana.
After initially hoping for a multi-year contract, it now appears Santana will accept a one-year deal as opening day nears and he’s still without a team. Depending on whose sources you believe, the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles are two of the leading contenders for his services. Both teams have reportedly made offers. Now, it’s up to Santana to make a choice.
In attempt to sway Ervin Santana’s decision, a pizza chain and local seafood restaurant are offering him plenty of pizza and crab cakes as incentive to join either the Blue Jays or Orioles.
We’re expected to know the winner of the Ervin Santana sweepstakes in the coming days. If he ends up in Toronto or Baltimore we will have to wait until the introductory press conference to find out if pizza or crab cakes played a part in the decision making process.
H/T Eye On Baseball
Spring training is already in full swing, and free agent pitcher Ervin Santana remains unsigned. Perhaps frustrated over his unemployment, he may be considering switching agents.
FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported Thursday that Santana is considering a switch in representation. He is currently represented by Bean Stringfellow (great name) of Proformance.
Santana, who pitched extremely well for the Kansas City Royals last season, was one of the top free agent pitchers on the market. But he has not received an offer to his liking and his patience may not pay off.
The Orioles and Blue Jays have been among the teams most commonly linked with Santana. The Mariners, Rockies and Rangers are also interested, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
Santana is believed to be seeking a deal similar to what the other top free agent pitchers — Matt Garza, Ricky Nolasco and Ubaldo Jimenez — also received. For what it’s worth, Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos said Santana’s current asking price is too high for them.
Ervin has made at least 30 starts in each of the past four seasons and has posted a sub-4.00 ERA in three of those four. As an Angels fan, his disastrous 2007 season completely turned me off on him, but he is much more reliable than I give him credit for. Perhaps Bean needs to drop the asking price or change his strategy since we’re getting so late in the game.
“What are headlines that made me laugh? For $500, Alex.”
Yes, you read that headline correctly. Ervin Santana, whom I realize many of you have never heard of, is seeking a five-year, $100 million contract in free agency, according to FOX MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal.
Santana, who turns 31 in December, is coming off perhaps the best year of his career. He went 9-10 with a career-low 3.24 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 211 innings for the Kansas City Royals last season. Santana is 105-90 with a 4.19 ERA for his career, accumulating most of his stats with the Angels, for whom he pitched from 2005-2012.
Santana has actually been a very fine pitcher for two out of the past three seasons, but as many Angels fans can tell you, he’s extremely hard to trust. For every good season he has, there’s an equally bad one. In 2007, he went 7-14 with a 5.76 ERA. He just didn’t give the Angels a chance to win most of his starts. In 2009, he was 8-8 with a 5.03 ERA. The Angels finally decided to trade him after he went 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA in 2012.
Keep in mind that Santana probably is not someone you want in your postseason rotation. Though it’s a small sample size, he has a 5.56 ERA in 22.2 postseason innings.
But the benefits of Santana are that he still has a pretty lively fastball despite throwing around 1,500 career innings, and his slider is a big out pitch. He also has pitched over 200 innings in a season five times, which suggests he is durable.
The lack of big pitchers on the free agent market means Santana could get a contract that is close to what he is seeking. I just know I wouldn’t be the person to give it to him.
There is only a month left in baseball’s regular season and the Texas Rangers lead the Angels by 2.5 games in the AL West. Texas took three of four from the Angels in Anaheim last week and the teams meet again for a three-game weekend series. Angels manager Mike Scioscia knows time is running out on the season so he’s decided to gamble for the monstrous series; he’s pitching Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver on short rest against Texas.
Dan Haren will start Friday against Derek Holland. Haren beat the Orioles the previous week so he has a full six days off. Santana, however, pitched eight innings on Tuesday against the White Sox. He’ll pitch Saturday against C.J. Wilson. Jered Weaver pitched seven scoreless innings on Wednesday to beat Chicago the day after signing a five-year extension with the club. Weaver will pitch Sunday against Colby Lewis.
Neither pitcher has ever started on three days’ rest. Now it’s time to see what they’re made of. Something tells me Weaver will be up for the task. Let’s hope Santana will be too.