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Changing Timeline: Is It Time To Start Worrying About Santana?

Ervin Santana was supposed to be the rock at the top of the Twins rotation this season. Two months ago, the Twins found out their All-Star pitcher would be forced to have surgery on the middle finger of his throwing hand. Santana had calcium deposits in his right middle finger removed in early February. At the time of the surgery, the team estimated he would miss the season’s first 4-6 weeks.

There is still a lot of unknown circling Santana and his injury. Is it time for fans to start worrying about his return to the mound?
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Doctor, Doctor, Gimme The News
Last week when the Twins returned home, Derek Falvey told media members that the team was considering sending Santana to New York City. Dr. Charles Melone, the man who operated on Santana, could perform a follow-up examination to make sure the pitcher was progressing appropriately.

“I think having the surgeon review (his recovery) is critical to assessing where he is in that timeline,” Falvey told the Pinoeer Press. “No setbacks. He’s in a good place. He feels good. We just want to make sure the timeline is right.”

The Twins have shifted course over the weekend and Santana will head to the Twin Cities to be examined by the team’s doctors. He is scheduled to be in Minneapolis on Tuesday before returning to Fort Myers to continue his rehab.

Changing Timeline
A few weeks ago, fans were worried on hearing that Santana was unable to grip a baseball. Since then, he has been able to grip a baseball and do some very light throwing. A return in May seems more likely with him now being able to play some light catch. Minnesota’s rotation got off to a good start during the season’s opening week and the team won’t need to fill Santana’s rotation spot until later this week.

When Jake Odorizzi was announced as the starter, I projected the starters out through the middle of April. With Minnesota missing a game on Sunday, the projected rotation got pushed back. Friday will be the first time Minnesota will need to utilize a fifth starter. Phil Hughes is working his way back to the mound so the club could use him on April 13th against Chicago. If Hughes isn’t ready to go, another pitcher might have to fill in as the fifth starter.

Eye To The Future
Santana has some money on the line as well this season. If he pitched over 200 innings, his $14 million option would vest for 2019. He’s only pitched 200 innings once over the last four seasons and that was last year when he tossed 211.1 innings. He likely won’t make enough starts the rest of 2018 to reach the 200 inning mark.

Minnesota could still pick up Santana’s option for $14 million or the club would be forced to pay a $1 million buy-out. It’s hard to know what Minnesota’s rotation could look like next season. Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson are all under team control. Other top prospects like Fernando Romero and Stephen Gonsalves should be knocking on the door. There might not be room for Santana.

Is it time to start worrying about Santana? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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57 Comments

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ashburyjohn
Apr 09 2018 07:42 PM

Yes, it's time to start worrying. Actually I got a head start a while ago when the initial reports on his progress weren't glowing.

    • glunn, Mike Sixel, mikelink45 and 1 other like this

When they signed Lance Lynn I think that could have been a sign the did not expect Santana back anytime soon.

    • Mike Sixel and TheLeviathan like this
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Andrew Thares
Apr 09 2018 08:49 PM

"Santana has some money on the line as well this season. If he pitched over 200 innings, his $14 million option would vest for 2019. He’s only pitched 200 innings once over the last four seasons and that was last year when he tossed 211.1 innings. He likely won’t make enough starts the rest of 2018 to reach the 200 inning mark."

 

Not that it really matters at this point, but Santana only needed 188 and 2/3 IP this season for his vesting option to be picked up. His contract states either 200 IP in 2018, or 400 IP in 2017 and 2018 combined for the option. 

    • glunn, Danchat, caninatl04 and 1 other like this

Let's just say it was wonderful that the Twins did get Odorizzi AND Lynn. If they had just gotten one, I would be more worried. I would hope a patch of Hughes/Enns/Slegers/Mejia can carry us thru however long Santana is out. And I would be willing to call up Rmero/Goncalves/Jorge/Littell once ALL have 3-4-5 decent starts under their belt, if push came to shove.

 

Will warm weather change things up some (Morrison, Buxton). Is the Twins bullpen solid? Those are the bigger questions right now.

 

    • DocBauer, howieramone2 and MN_ExPat like this

I was worried about Santana the second that I heard that he was having surgery and would miss the start of the season. That sounded like a typical final season for an older pitcher that ends with a really ugly ERA.

But luckily the Twins have depth in both veterans and prospects. Hopefully we see Gonsalves or possibly even Romero up with the Twins by midseason. Or do Pineda or May make an early comeback?

 

I was worried about Santana the second that I heard that he was having surgery and would miss the start of the season. That sounded like a typical final season for an older pitcher that ends with a really ugly ERA.

But luckily the Twins have depth in both veterans and prospects. Hopefully we see Gonsalves or possibly even Romero up with the Twins by midseason. Or do Pineda or May make an early comeback?

From what has been reported, May is currently ramping up and I think he is on track to return in June. I think they want him back as a starting pitcher (Falvey/Levine had a quote about that in Spring Training) but we'll see about that. Pineda is expected to possibly be able to throw in the bullpen in September. I don't think there will be time for him to throw enough innings to be a starter in 2018.

"Santana has some money on the line as well this season. If he pitched over 200 innings, his $14 million option would vest for 2019. He’s only pitched 200 innings once over the last four seasons and that was last year when he tossed 211.1 innings. He likely won’t make enough starts the rest of 2018 to reach the 200 inning mark."

Not that it really matters at this point, but Santana only needed 188 and 2/3 IP this season for his vesting option to be picked up. His contract states either 200 IP in 2018, or 400 IP in 2017 and 2018 combined for the option.


Nope. It's 200 IP in 2018 AND 400 combined IP in 17-18, not OR.
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Tommygun921
Apr 10 2018 06:19 AM
Twins also have Michael Pineda under team control for '19 as well.
    • Rhino and Compass and blindeke like this

Worried about Santana?? No. It would be nice to have him alongside the other starters, who have all looked pretty good but worried?? No. Theres nothing that can be done except give him time to heal, and look forward to having a solid addition to the staff.

    • howieramone2 and MN_ExPat like this
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Rhino and Compass
Apr 10 2018 07:10 AM

I think in general I'm going to worry about a pitcher in his mid 30s, and moreso if they have a recent injury

    • Oxtung, SwainZag, Danchat and 1 other like this
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terrydactyls1947
Apr 10 2018 07:21 AM
Let's try the "glass half full" approach and think of Santana as a strong candidate to be a trade deadline acquisition. While it may be true we don't have a rotation as good as either Cleveland or Houston, it stll is improved over last year.
    • Jerr, howieramone2 and caninatl04 like this
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Andrew Thares
Apr 10 2018 07:21 AM

 

Nope. It's 200 IP in 2018 AND 400 combined IP in 17-18, not OR.

Per Spotrac:

 

Contract Notes:
2019 Option includes a $1M buyout
Option Vests with 200 IP in 2018 or 400 IP from 2017+2018
2015: Suspended 80 Games, forfeiting $5.9M

In a word.Yes.

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RaymondLuxuryYacht
Apr 10 2018 08:43 AM

I was worried before the bad reports, before the injury, before he was signed, I was worried on the day he was born.Therefore I win the internet and am awarded most smart person in the kingdom.

    • 70charger likes this

Not particularly.When careers come crashing down for 'older' pitchers, it's arm problems, not finger problems.Not that it couldn't happen with a finger, I guess.But until I hear something definitive that points to the finger somehow being 'done'...I'm relatively optimistic that he will be back and pitching decent-to-good by the end of May.

    • Craig Arko, DocBauer and howieramone2 like this
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puckstopper1
Apr 10 2018 09:09 AM

If it means that Phil Hughes gets more starts, then H-E-Double Hockey sticks YES, I'm worried about Santana.

    • Mike Sixel likes this

Yeah, I'm not worried about this. This is a finger injury and it seems like the setbacks are a matter of weeks and not months. If it was an arm issue, I'd be circling the wagons.

 

As is, the Twins will get a nice boost when Santana comes back. And I don't mind getting a look at Hughes, even if I don't expect it to go well. I think they'll have a quick hook with him, especially if May/Santana are ready beginning of June or Gonsalves/Romero looks ready for a few starts until Santana/May are back.

    • DocBauer, howieramone2 and MN_ExPat like this
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Halsey Hall
Apr 10 2018 09:34 AM

Talked with May a few days ago and he said he'd be ready in May.

    • Danchat, DocBauer and laloesch like this

Per Spotrac:

Contract Notes:
2019 Option includes a $1M buyout
Option Vests with 200 IP in 2018 or 400 IP from 2017+2018
2015: Suspended 80 Games, forfeiting $5.9M


Well, I'm 99.99% sure that SpoTrac is wrong.
MLBTraderumors, Cot's Contracts, and Twinkie Town all report that it's AND 200 IP in 2018.
The writers on this site have also previously confirmed that it's AND 200 IP in 2018.

With a Google search of Ervin Santana contract, SpoTrac is the only place reporting it as OR 200 IP in 2018, so I don't know where they are sourcing that from.
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TheLeviathan
Apr 10 2018 11:05 AM

Worried for the whole year?Not yet.

 

Worried he's going to be available for far less of the season than previously indicated?Yes.

    • Mike Sixel and Danchat like this
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Andrew Thares
Apr 10 2018 11:14 AM

 

Well, I'm 99.99% sure that SpoTrac is wrong.
MLBTraderumors, Cot's Contracts, and Twinkie Town all report that it's AND 200 IP in 2018.
The writers on this site have also previously confirmed that it's AND 200 IP in 2018.

With a Google search of Ervin Santana contract, SpoTrac is the only place reporting it as OR 200 IP in 2018, so I don't know where they are sourcing that from.

Well if Spotrac has it wrong then I guess I do too

Why does it matter? He isn't going to reach 200 IP this year or 400 IP between last season and this season anyway.
    • SwainZag and kab21 like this

 

Talked with May a few days ago and he said he'd be ready in May.

 

That would be superb if it happened.He's been throwing off the mound for weeks now including offspeed stuff. By the end of may it will have been 14 months since his surgery.

 

Well if Spotrac has it wrong then I guess I do too

 

Pioneer Press reporter Mike Beradino reported it as an "OR" in his article in December of 2014 covering the signing:

 

Santana’s deal includes a fifth-year vesting option based on innings pitched — either 200 in 2018 or a combined 400 in 2017-18 — but it does not include a no-trade provision.

 

https://www.twinciti...e-than-the-arm/

 

 

Can we wait until May 1st?


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