I don’t like this deal for the Twins, and I don’t like that it wasn’t some competitor of the Cubs making the move.
First, the signing:
Santana deal done. Four years, $54 million
— LaVelle E. Neal III (@LaVelleNeal) December 11, 2014
Ervin Santana, who turns 32 tomorrow, outpitched his below-average 3.95 ERA last year (3.39 FIP, 3.47 xFIP). No argument there. And he was worth nearly 3 wins for the second year in a row. But as he enters his mid-30s, I have trouble trusting that his huge spike in strikeout rate last year (21.9%, up from a sub-18% mark the previous five years combined) is sustainable.
Steamer and ZiPS agree with me, projecting Santana as a below average pitcher next year – and that’s the year in this four-year deal when he’s supposed to be at his best. (And those projections were in the NL, too.)
And the Twins are giving up a draft pick for this privilege, too. I just don’t like the deal all around.
The second tier pitching market sure has gone quickly, hasn’t it? All of Santana, Jason Hammel, Brandon McCarthy, Francisco Liriano, and Justin Masterson (if you include him there) went off the board this week. You can debate who is the preferred pitcher in that group, but Hammel’s deal – 2/$20M guaranteed with a club option – easily looks like the best.