Injured Twins right-hander Ervin Santana won’t return this season, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press tweets. The news doesn’t come as a surprise, as Minnesota’s out of the playoff race and Santana has barely pitched this season.
Long a quality starter, including as recently as 2017, Santana endured a horrid season that was cut short by nagging issues with his right middle finger. Santana underwent surgery on that finger in early February, and he was only supposed to miss 10 to 12 weeks. Instead, the 35-year-old didn’t make his 2018 debut with the Twins until July 25, and that ended up as one of just five major league starts he made this season. Santana, who hasn’t pitched since Aug. 16, will conclude 2018 with an unsightly 8.03 ERA/7.94 FIP, 5.84 K/9, 3.28 BB/9 and a 23 percent groundball rate in 24 2/3 innings.
Had he been his typical self this year, Santana would’ve been a strong candidate to return to Minnesota in 2019. Now, the Twins will have to decide on Santana’s $14MM option within the next few weeks, but it’ll be a shock if they don’t buy the veteran out and send him to the free-agent market. Not only did Santana struggle through an injury this year, but he took issue with the front office’s decision to sell earlier in the summer. Santana and the Twins seem to be heading toward a divorce, then. In the meantime, he’s undergoing three platelet-rich plasma injections in his finger, Beradino reports.