The Twins have avoided arbitration with left-hander Hector Santiago by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $8MM, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (on Twitter). Santiago, a client of Excel Sports, earns a nice raise over last year’s $5MM salary. He’d been projected to earn $8.6MM by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.
The 29-year-old Santiago was in the midst of a typically solid season with the Angels (4.25 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 in 121 innings) when he surprisingly found himself traded to the Twins alongside minor league reliever Alan Busenitz in exchange for Ricky Nolasco and injury-prone former top prospect Alex Meyer. Santiago’s fortunes turned immediately upon getting to Minnesota, and he struggled badly with the Twins over the life of the two months he spent in Minnesota.
In 61 1/3 innings, Santiago logged a 5.58 ERA with just 5.4 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 as he became significantly more prone to home runs. Those numbers are obviously an eyesore, but the new Twins front office is apparently confident that Santiago can return to form, as CBO Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine saw fit to retain him at a not-insignificant $8MM rate. Prior to this discouraging season, Santiago had posted a 3.62 ERA 457 innings with the White Sox and Angels from 2013-15, working primarily as a starting pitcher.