If the first day of spring training is the time of year when "every team's still a World Series contender," then the second week of November is when "anything can happen in free agency." Well, almost anything. Robinson Cano probably won't end up playing for the Oakland Athletics, for example. But might the Minnesota Twins add a pair of Santanas — Ervin Santana and Johan Santana — to their starting rotation?
Sure, why not try for both Santanas? Twin Santanas! Chances are, one will come through.
But with Ervin Santana reportedly seeking $100 million, and likely to get at least a great big chunk of it, the Twins aren't going to be adding him. They're still in rebuilding mode. In some future season, when Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano have matured, Joe Mauer's contract is about expired, they're on the verge of being a contender for real and $100 million doesn't buy what it used to, then, sure. Old Ervin Santana would be a fit.
But how about a Johan Santana reunion, in lieu of all that?
The Twins are one of several teams that have contacted Johan Santana’s agents and asked to look at Santana’s medical information, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Santana, who will be 35 on March 13, would definitely be a reclamation project, as he might not be ready to pitch in a game by Opening Day. But it would likely pique the interest of fans. He is working out near his home in Fort Myers, Fla., so proximity to the Twins’ year-round facility at the Lee County Sports Complex would be ideal.
“Johan is progressing well. He’s into his throwing program and is feeling good,” said Ed Greenberg, who represents Santana along with brother Peter Greenberg. “It’s still a work in progress, but is progressing as planned.”
When asked about possible interest in Santana, Twins General Manager Terry Ryan declined to discuss specific free agents.
It would be a convenient, nostalgic, and probably relatively cheap gimmick. But shoulder injuries often are bad news, and Santana has been dealt a double blow since 2010. Blowing out an elbow can be welcome, by comparison. But, also, Santana won two Cy Young awards with the Twins back in the day, and if anybody can come back from having made only 21 starts since the start of the 2011 season, it's him.
At worst, if it doesn't work out, Johan can retire a Twin.
- - - - - -