Bryz touched on this last night, and Ervin Santana-to-the-Twins certainly seems like the hot issue of the moment. Tweets and reports were flying late into Wednesday night. Let me try to recap some of the important reads for you, focusing on Twins-related material.
Mike Berardino - Twins one of four finalists for Santana, along with the Giants and two other clubs. Notes that Santana is believed to be looking for a deal in the range of four years and $65 million, which is pretty steep for a pitcher of his caliber who also has a draft pick attached to his contract. Regardless, any deal he signs will be worth more than the three years and $33 million that Minnesota offered last winter.
Jon Heyman - Heyman believes that the Twins are "pushing hard" on Santana, and have put in a four-year offer in the neighborhood of $50 million. He names the Giants and Royals as two of the other teams in contention for Santana.
Derek Wetmore - Santana is a clear upgrade over everyone in the current rotation except Phil Hughes. Yep.
One certainty: if Ervin Santana chooses the #MNTwins, it won't be for less than what Nolasco got last year.— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) December 11, 2014
It's worth noting that, at least by the stat line, there are a lot of similarities between Ervin Santana and Ricky Nolasco. They're born just one day apart (Ervin's birthday is December 12, 1982; Ricky's is December 13, 1982), meaning they're both heading into their age-32 seasons. Santana throws a little harder, shows more emotion on the mound, and has a great slider; Nolasco is a cooler presence and offers a four-pitch mix. But over the last three years, which includes a bad season for each Santana (2012) and Nolasco (2014), have a look for yourself:
|2012 - 2014||GS||IP||K/9||BB/9||HR/9||BABIP||LOB%||GB%||HR/FB||ERA||FIP||xFIP||fWAR|
I'll admit that Nolasco and Santana feel like different pitchers. And they are. They just seem to garner pretty similar results, down to even better measures of strikeout percentages and swinging strike rates. It doesn't change the fact that I like Santana better as a pitcher, and that the Twins would be certifiably better with him in the rotation in 2015, but it does make me wonder just how much I'd be happy for the Twins to give up to secure his services. He'll have a worse outfield defense behind him than he did in Atlanta (or Kansas City, for that matter), and a four-year contract means he'd be on the payroll through his age-35 season.
It's hard to have it both ways: getting better, and not paying too much to do it on the open market. I said last week that I'm not immune to the siren song, and even after seeing those numbers I still like the feel of Ervin Santana in the rotation.
Nothing was written in stone as beat writers fell asleep in the lobby of the hotel last night. But it sounds like Santana's new home could be announced today. Stay tuned.