Johan Santana? Why not?

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

It appears that Phil Hughes and Johan Santana simply couldn’t be in the Bronx at the same time. In 2007 the Yankees declined to include Hughes in a trade for the two-time AL Cy Young Award winner. Now that they’re both free agents, could Hughes and Santana effectively make that swap? Hughes has already signed with the Twins. According to ESPN NY, the Yankees have interest in signing Santana.

Any potential deal would come towards the end of the off-season, as the Yankees fill out their non-roster invitee list. Santana might be a household name, but at this point he doesn’t warrant a guaranteed contract. After missing all of last season, and all of 2011, with shoulder injuries. Those have been the kiss of death for so many pitchers that any amount of guaranteed money could be essentially flushed down the toilet. The only way to justify a rotation spot for Santana is to watch him first-hand in spring training.

While shoulder injuries spell trouble for all pitchers, Santana at least has one mitigating factor: he’s pitched reasonably well with diminished velocity. Through his first 16 starts in 2011 he threw 98 innings to a 2.76 ERA, holding opponents to a .618 OPS. While the narrative is that he fell apart after he threw the first no-hitter in Mets history, he did have quite a few good starts after that (12 ER in 30 IP) before completely falling apart in July. It’s not much of a stretch to speculate that his shoulder started becoming a problem right around that time.

The Yankees aren’t the only team with interest in a potential Santana resurgence. Both his former teams, the Twins and Mets, have expressed interest, as have the Rays, Orioles, Royals, Brewers, and Pirates. With that many teams in the hunt, there’s a non-zero chance that one team makes the crazy move of giving Santana a guaranteed contract. His agent, Peter Greenberg, has indicated that if a team does offer a guarantee, Santana could sign now. Absent one, he’ll throw in January for interested teams. At that point teams will get a better idea, and one could certainly offer a guaranteed contract.

The Johan Santana who dazzled the league for years with his devastating changeup is long gone. He started his fade in 2009, and by 2011 he was completely gone. This is a different Santana, one dealing with physical limitations. Yet he has shown, for at least half a season in 2011, that he has the ability to succeed even with diminished stuff. A second shoulder surgery certainly changes things, but Santana is still worth a peek, at least. I wouldn’t bet on the Yankees coming away with him, but in a search for low-cost, potentially valuable assets, they could do a lot worse.

Categories : Musings


  1. Darren says:

    I assume the Yankees would look past the rape issue?

  2. HectorLopez says:

    Maybe Whitey Ford can come back too!!!! If the Yanks want to look at a broken pitcher look at Pelfrey or Marcum on minor league deals.

  3. Rambo says:

    This guy was an absolute beast back in the day. Sad to see how far he’s fallen.

  4. stuckey says:

    … or in other words.

    The Winter Meetings are over, it’s Dec 12, we’re looking at a LONG dry spell and there isn’t ANYTHING we can make a post/thread about…

  5. Vern Sneaker says:

    Invite me to ST, please, Mr. Cashman. I’ve never had shoulder surgery.

  6. Matt DiBari says:

    I’m more open to a has been like Santana than a never was like Pelfrey.

  7. hey now says:

    Santana’s changeup has always been a thing of absolute beauty.

    In fact, at the risk of crossing over the line into pure blasphemy, I’d say it’s almost on par with Mariano’s cutter.

    You know it’s coming, and you’re still doing nothing with it, mofo.

    As long as it’s not guaranteed for an obscene amount of money, hell yeah, sign this guy up.

    • The Great Gonzo says:

      Mo’s cutter, Johan’s change, Randy Johnson’s slider, Bartolo’s 2-seamer and Verlander’s high heat. Oh, and ‘Good’ AJ’s hook.

      That’s the Holy Grail of modern day pitchers. Video game shit.

      And if you want to get creative and stretch a bit, Jim Johnson’s Cement Mixer and Dickey’s knuckler….

  8. Bobby D says:

    This is ridiculous! As presently constituted the yankee rotation is weak and questionable with no chance of competing for a playoff spot. What is going on? When are we going to hear about some quality options to bolster the staff??

  9. Juan says:

    If that’s the case why didn’t they go after Scott Kazmir ? Atleast he is younger than Santana.

  10. PunkPitch says:

    While we’re at it, lets sign Allie Reynolds and Bob TurDley.

  11. dars says:

    Players are coming off the boards right and left, by the time the Yankees do something, they will all be gone. Joaquin Benoit is heading to the Padres apparently. Infante may head to the Royals.

    In my eyes, the plan is clear, the Yankee ownership and management tried to trick us, the bought a few expensive players to impact and energize and interest the fans but they will commit to the 189M and they will leave the team incomplete and without a chance. Who do they think we are, the fan base of the San Diego Padres? We are knowledgeable people and now well what they are trying to pull. A team with a losuy bullpen and a rotation filled with question marks but a decent offense will lose a lot of 12-10 games and not win anything….

    • Rick says:

      Nowhere is Benoit to the Padres official and nowhere is Infante to the Royals suggested as even remotely close. We’re hearing more about the Yankees offer and Infante’s desire for an additional year and more money.

      • TheEvilUmpire says:

        Besides, they’re nice players but comparable players can be obtained if the Yanks miss out on them. Not an offseason breaker.

    • steve (different one) says:

      they can’t get anything by you!

    • steve (different one) says:

      The very best part of this post is that you posted a similarly whiney post 10 minutes before they signed Ellsbury:

      “Choo to the Tigers, Cano to the Mariners, Beltran to the Royals. Yankees will have McAnn and nothing more. This is turning to be another putrid offseason….”

    • The Great Gonzo says:

      Until the Yankees sign them both, and then the next swingin dick will come in and say the the Yankees should stop spending on non elite pieces and let the kids play.

      You can’t please everybody, and every asshole wants to be a GM.

  12. Rick says:

    I have a very easy solution to all of our problems. Buy the Rays, merge the teams. Done. You’re welcome.

  13. W.B. Mason Williams says:

    Give him a minor league contract.

    Stash him at AAA.

    Wait for the Kuroda implosion in late August.


    Win World Series.

    I’ll take my money in cash.

    • TheEvilUmpire says:

      You do realize he’ll be on the Mark Prior rehab plan? (i.e. probably won’t throw a pitch for whatever team signs him)

  14. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    It’d be a nice story, for sure, but I don’t see where he fits. Too much of a liability in the middle of the rotation, and I’m not sure I want a “vet to push the young guys ar the back of the rotation.” Perhaps if he said, “….and I’m willing to pitch out of the bullpen,” but I doubt that.

    Stealing a Sox AND Mets hero in one off-season would be pretty damn cold and empire-like.

  15. Here Comes the Pizza says:

    Is the guy in the picture behind Santana holding a chicken?

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