Jan. 7: Santiago’s deal comes with a $2MM base salary in the Majors and allows him to earn an extra $100K for every fifth start up through 25 total starts, tweets Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The contract contains an out clause that stipulates the Mets will release Santiago on July 31 if he’s not on the MLB roster and if another club is willing to put him on its 25-man roster.
Jan. 5: The Mets have reportedly picked up some rotation and bullpen depth, adding veteran left-hander Hector Santiago on a minor league deal. He’ll head to Major League Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. Santiago is repped by Excel Sports.
Santiago, 31, appeared in 49 games (7 starts) for the White Sox last season, pitching to a sub-replacement-level 4.41 ERA/5.09 FIP/5.38 xFIP in 102 IP. The journeyman lefty apparently brought back one of the league’s only screwballs last season – which he featured regularly in his first stint on the Southside – in an effort to rejuvenate a floundering career. He was, yet again, quite homer-prone, surrendering 1.41 big flies per nine, a mark just slightly above his career average of 1.37 HR/9 a season.
The lefty has shown occasional aptitude for the strikeout over the course of his career, but it’s too often been offset by command issues – Santiago walked 5.29 men per nine last season, and has yet to finish a single big-league campaign with a total under 3.5 BB/9 in that category. He’ll look to compete for the 5th-starter role in the Mets’ rotation, currently occupied by Jason Vargas, with Seth Lugo, Corey Oswalt, and others – P.J. Conlon, Drew Gagnon, Chris Flexen, and more – also in the mix.
In 887 career MLB innings pitched with the ChiSox, Angels, and Twins, Santiago sports a career 4.05 ERA/4.88 FIP/5.05 xFIP. The lefty, it should be noted, is one of the rare pitchers to outperform his fielding-independent marks in every career season, owing in large part to his stellar 77% career strand rate.