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.