REPORT: Ervin Santana, Twins agree to four-year deal
The Minnesota Twins have signed Ervin Santana to a four-year, $54 million contract. This has been reported by NBC Sports and various additional outlets.
*UPDATE: After this piece was originally published, more details of this contract became known. The dollar figure has been changed from $54 million to $55 million. If Santana exceeds 200 innings pitched in 2018, he’ll land a $14 million option for 2019. If he doesn’t reach that mark, he can receive a $1 million buyout after the 2018 season. These components were reported by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
Let talks of the Twins overpaying Santana begin. He has a 4.17 career ERA and has surrendered 20+ home runs in eight of his ten MLB seasons, including a 39 bomb total in 2012. His ERA has been 5.00 or greater three times and under 4.00 just five times. Is a pitcher who sees his ERA rise above 4.00 every other year worth roughly $13-14 million annually?
Of course not. The Twins are getting hosed to a degree. As many of my recent articles have indicated, such is the trend of the market though. There’s plenty of money in baseball and nearly every signed player this offseason has been overpaid.
A similar argument against Santana’s body of work can be used against Francisco Liriano, a pitcher and contract that I’ve recently praised. Liriano’s had many down seasons that bring his new deal into question. The primary difference is the recent rhythm Lirano’s found. He’s posted back-to-back excellent seasons and appears to have reinvented himself. The same can’t be said for Santana. His ceiling of year-to-year efficiency hasn’t been proven to equate Liriano’s run of the last two years.
If fairness to the Twins, this contract isn’t financially crippling. The largest head-scratching aspect is giving four years to a pitcher ten years deep into his MLB career. His 1,882.2 career innings and nature of allowing homers make the year total create skepticism.
-Tyler Birss (@tybirss)