Twins righty Ervin Santana recently cleared trade waivers and can be dealt to any team in the coming days, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports. Teams have until Wednesday to deal for players they wish to include on their postseason rosters.
Acquiring the 33-year-old Santana would be a considerable investment for any team — he’s making $13.5MM this season and will make the same amounts in both 2017 and 2018 as well. (He also has a club/vesting option for 2019.) Santana has pitched quite well this season, however, posting a 3.33 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 140 2/3 innings. That includes a 1.89 ERA, 7.7 K/9 and a miserly 1.5 BB/9 in what has so far been a terrific second half. After an 80-game PED suspension last year in the first season of his four-year deal with Minnesota, Santana has reestablished himself as a reliable rotation option. As Berardino points out, the fact that Santana cleared waivers might indicate that the Twins might have to take on some salary to deal him. If they are willing to do so, however, they should be able to get legitimate talent in return.
The Twins are 49-79, miles out of the playoff race, and it stands to reason they would consider trading productive veterans. Last month, though, interim GM Rob Antony told MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger that the Twins were in no rush to trade Santana, pointing out that Santana’s remaining contract (basically, a two-year deal with an option) would make him a very attractive trade candidate amidst a weak free agent market next offseason and declaring that the Twins have no need to move Santana’s salary.
Still, expect to hear Santana’s name bandied about in the coming days. The ability to acquire a solid starting pitcher on a seemingly reasonable contract on the August trade market isn’t particularly common, and Santana’s talent and controllability would make him an attractive asset for any number of contenders.