Orioles Sign Johan Santana

2:21pm: Sherman has the incentive breakdown and other details (Twitter links). Santana would be owed a $100K termination payment if he is released before March 25th. The incentives (per games started) are as follows: $250K (5 starts); $350K (10); $500K (15); $750K (20); $150K (21 and 22); $200K (23 and 24); and $400K (25).

12:12pm: The Orioles have signed left-hander Johan Santana to a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, the team announced. Santana, a client of the Legacy Agency, reportedly has a $3MM base salary if he makes the roster and also can earn $5.05MM of "very makeable" incentives based on games started and days on the roster. Santana's deal is also said to contain a May 30 opt-out.

Santana, who turns 35 in 10 days, did not pitch in 2013 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder for the second time in three years. Santana's last work came in 2012, when he was excellent through the season's first half. That strong stretch was highlighted by the first no-hitter in Mets history on June 1, when Santana shut down a strong Cardinals lineup. However, Santana also walked five in the game and needed a whopping 134 pitches to complete the no-no — 26 more than he'd thrown in any other start of the year. Santana posted an 8.27 ERA over his next 49 innings before being shut down for the season.

The Orioles were one of seven teams to watch Santana's most recent throwing session, during which he topped out at just 81 mph. However, Santana still isn't close to being 100 percent, and that workout came very early on in his timetable to begin building up arm strength. MLB.com's Britt Ghiroli tweeted yesterday that the Orioles view Santana as a potential left-handed reliever, but the incentives suggest that the Orioles will at least try to give the former ace the opportunity to make some starts once he is healthy.

One of the best Rule 5 Draft selections in history, Santana broke out with the Twins in 2002, posting a 2.99 ERA in 108 innings. Over the next five seasons in Minnesota, Santana posted a 2.92 ERA and won a pair of AL Cy Young Awards before being traded to the Mets for a package of prospects highlighted by Carlos Gomez and former No. 3 overall draft pick Phil Humber. Santana signed a six-year, $137.5MM extension with the Mets and was solid when on the field but looks poor in hindsight due to his injury troubles.

Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com first tweeted that the two sides were nearing a deal and later added that it appeared to be done. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted the base salary and was the first to confirm the deal was finalized (Twitter link). MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweeted the incentives total, Kubatko added details (on Twitter) and Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted the opt-out date. Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio tweeted yesterday that Santana was in Orioles camp and wondered if something might be cooking between the two sides.

42 Responses to Orioles Sign Johan Santana Leave a Reply

  1. Tom 1 year ago

    Orioles add another Rule 5 draft pick! Oh, wait…

  2. Bleed_Orange 1 year ago

    This is a ‘catching lightning’ signing. His invite to spring training must only be for veteran leadership and to work with the young guys. Hopefully there isn’t an opt out clause in the contract and he can stay in Sarasota until July and get healthy.

    • Damon Bowman 1 year ago

      Reports state there is there’s a May 30 opt-out date.

  3. Addias 1 year ago

    This is a good get. Very Red Sox-like.

  4. UltimateYankeeFan 1 year ago

    A little surprised that the Orioles didn’t include a team option for 2015 (like the Yankees did with Andrew Bailey) in case Santana does come back sometime this season and pitches decently.

    In any case it’s an almost no risk, potential decent reward for very little money by MLB standards.

    • Trock 1 year ago

      Good call on that one. I was surprised on that as well.

    • Trock 1 year ago

      Good call on that one. I was surprised on that as well.

    • Damon Bowman 1 year ago

      I think O’s management took it more as a one-shot roll of the dice. Since the incentives can boost Santana’s salary from a $3 million base to just over $8 million if he hits targets for starts and Santana accepted that, it tells me he wants to prove to everyone that he’s “back” and might not have accepted an option that limited him to playing in Baltimore for ’15.

  5. Tyler Young 1 year ago

    3 million dollars though …

  6. Stephen J. Puopolo 1 year ago

    I was gonna say they really overpaid for him. Granted it’s a low risk move cause it is a minor league deal but at the same time, why not wait to see if there is someone that can take over the 5th spot of the rotation without any issue? Hopefully he ends up being more than serviceable and provides a more solid rotation.

  7. JohnnyHamer 1 year ago

    As a realist and an O’s fan I am happy and a little excited about this move but I am not expecting much.

  8. BradyAnderson 1 year ago

    yeah I am fine with the signing and potential price, other than the intent for him being a reliever. 3mil for a finesse lefty reliever, when we already have three in britton, matusz, and patton….not including AAA depth

  9. What the ? 1 year ago

    I can’t imagine he will make it through the Baltimore gauntlet, er I mean physical.

    • OrangeCards 1 year ago

      I can’t imagine someone being dull enough to make this lame, tired joke AFTER Johan passed the physical and the deal is officially announced by the team, but it happened.

      • snowbladerp14 1 year ago

        it funny how the phillies failed 2 guys this year and get no heat but its probably because they havent done anything outside burnett

    • ps2014 1 year ago

      Not only is this brilliantly executed, but it’s also original. Pat yourself on the back, friend. You’ve earned it.

    • disadvantage 1 year ago

      I don’t get it…

  10. BradyAnderson 1 year ago

    theres no way we view him as a reliever at a potential 5mil.

    • blob 1 year ago

      $5 mil is probably the average free agent salary for a reliever. didnt run the numbers, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    • Damon Bowman 1 year ago

      Everything I’ve read is that the majority of incentives are tied to Santana starting. If he comes out of the pen, he doesn’t rack up a lot of extra bucks.

  11. Dynasty22 1 year ago

    So he can possibly make 5 million to be a reliever? I wonder if they may use him as a closer.

  12. Dynasty22 1 year ago

    So he can possibly make 5 million to be a reliever? I wonder if they may use him as a closer.

  13. goorru 1 year ago

    He’s done, I have a better chance of making twenty starts this year.

  14. kungfucampby 1 year ago

    So is Johan Santana healthier than Grant Balfour according to the Baltimore’s doctors?

    • rlball6 . 1 year ago

      No. We didn’t want to give Balfour two full years. Santana is just getting a minor league deal.

    • Damon Bowman 1 year ago

      So comparing a starter who is known to be rehabbing from injury to a closer who may or may not have problems down the road makes sense to you?

  15. slashieboy . 1 year ago

    He is brave trying to come back in the AL East.

  16. slashieboy . 1 year ago

    He is brave trying to come back in the AL East.

  17. mikefichera 1 year ago

    low risk low reward.

    • snowbladerp14 1 year ago

      how is it a low reward

      • mikefichera 1 year ago

        Cause i’ve just watched him pitch for the last 2 years with that injured shoulder and if the reports are that his velocity is topping out at 81, he will barely able to contribute at all (assuming he doesn’t reinjure his anterior capsule) and if he does contribute at best he’ll be a No 5/long man/loogy. So, low risk, low reward.

        Now, I know players strengthen over time. But before his second anterior capsule surgery Johan Santana was topping out at 88-89. After this second surgery can you reasonably believe he’ll be able to reach that?

        The only saving grace is that Johan still does have an amazing change up…but if they are sitting on an 85mph fast ball….they’ll get lucky eventually.

  18. orangeoctober 1 year ago

    not a bad move really since they arent expecting anything other than maybe a lefty reliever halfway through the year. and since its a minor league deal if he doesnt pan out, who cares you lost nothing. maybe they hope he’ll mentor eduardo rodriguez a little. a few years ago the Orioles would’ve made this move with hopes that he’d start 20 games this year lol

    • Rabbitov 1 year ago

      Honestly, I think its a great move

      • snowbladerp14 1 year ago

        its a little more money that I originally thought but hey its not my money

  19. Huff's dog 1 year ago

    Overpay. If it was a straight-up minor league deal, that is one thing. However he didn’t pitch at all last season and pitched rather poorly in 2012.

  20. blob 1 year ago

    so basically they got what should be a pretty decent assistant pitching coach for their young arms for the duration of the month.

  21. Mario Saavedra 1 year ago

    Johan Santana, Nelson Cruz, Ubaldo Jimenez. The Orioles are ready to win the 2010 World series.

    • blob 1 year ago

      not if “can’t hack it” chris davis has anything to say about it.

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