The sun rises in the east, winter comes after fall, and Johan Santana is attempting an MLB comeback.
That’s right, folks. The former Twins great and two-time Cy Young Award winner is once again trying to crawl his way back into the majors. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it is: Johan has made this announcement basically every year since he last pitched majors, which was in 2012. That was the year he threw his only no-hitter, the 134-pitch affair with the Mets that some claim ended his career. To those speculators, Santana has a clear message: Bite me.
A lot of teams may be hesitant about Johan’s seemingly imminent and total combustion of the human body, but the Twins shouldn’t be. In my opinion, the Twins not only should sign Johan Santana, but need to sign Johan Santana.
Here’s 57 (minus 50) reason why.
1. Why not?
Seriously. What would the Twins have to lose by signing Johan Santana to a minor league contract? That’s all it would take. Johan’s last couple comebacks came on minor league deals with the Orioles (in 2014) and Blue Jays (in 2015), and neither costed that much. The Twins should give Santana a minor league deal—either he’ll be unsuccessful and only cost a couple thousand dollars and a minor league roster spot (assuming he’s not on the DL), or he’ll be successful and we’ll freaking have Johan Santana back pitching in a Twins uniform.
What’s the worst thing that could happen? The Twins lose more than 103 games somehow due to Johan? I’m not even sure if that would be worse than losing 103 games due to some lesser hacks.
There’s really nothing I see to lose here, especially since it’s not even my money.
2. He’s due
When a hitter goes into a long hit-less slump, we often say that he’s “due” for a hit. It’s just the law of averages—at some point, the slumping batter will get another hit.
That’s basically the case here with Johan. How many comebacks has he attempted at this point? Five? Six? At some point he has to actually comeback, and no, I don’t care if he’s going 38 years old next year next season. Jaime Moyer pitched until he was 49 years old, and he never even won a Cy Young Award.
Santana is still totally capable of making a comeback at coming back. He should, rightfully, do it with the Twins. I mean, how many times can he tear his achillies tendon or suffer a season-ending toe infection? Wait—don’t answer that.
3. Getting the Band Back Together
The most important thing to point out here, however, is that we’re running out of band members to get back together. Big Papi retired, and good lord who knows if any team is going to sign A.J. Pierzynski for next season (coughDoItThadcough). That leaves only one player from the 2002 Twins—our beloved ‘Contraction Kids’, the last Twins team to win a playoff series—still (maybe?) in the majors: Kyle Lohse. And Ron Gardenhire’s office door at Target Field is way too expensive for the Twins to go back down that road.
Psyche! The Twins should totally sign Kyle Lohse too.
4. Two Johan Santanas
Just imagine if the Twins had not just one, but two Johan Santanas. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the deal: Ervin Santana’s real name is actually “Johan Santana”. He decided to change his name when he was pitching in the minors so he wouldn’t have to spend his entire career living entirely in the shadow of the Johan Santana. That’s when he made up the name “Ervin”.
Imagine the possibilities if the Twins had both players on their team. They’d be like twins, on the Twins. It would be the best fun story for marketers and broadcasters since Michael Cuddyer’s magic tricks. The deal would practically pay for itself.
5. It’s a thin free agent market for pitchers anyway
Don’t tell me you’d rather the Twins sign someone like Ivan Nova, because you’d just be a liar.
6. He deserves a final chance at the Hall of Fame
Johan Santana, for a good period of time, was the undisputed best pitcher in baseball. He’s arguably a Hall of Famer, although the most compelling reason for why he is not is that he simply didn’t pitch long enough. Hence, the obvious solution is to get back in the majors and start pitching again.
So do it, Twins. Get Johan back in here and let him show all those stupid BBWAA members why they were so unbelievably wrong for voting Bartolo Colon for the 2005 AL Cy Young Award.
God that still pisses me off.
7. He will never give up
He. Will. Never. Give. Up. Period. I fully expect Johan to attempt MLB-comebacks until MLB and the MLBPA make a specific provision in the CBA that legally prevents him from doing so. He’s torn the anterior capsule in his left shoulder twice, torn his Achilles tendon at least once, messed up his back, jacked up his elbow, and lord knows what else.
A normal person would have given up by now. An extraordinary person may have, say, pitched all of 2006 with a torn labrum and a stress fracture in his shoulder and then given up. But Johan? Johan is something even more than extraordinary. He’s Johan Santana—the Johan Santana. He’s not giving up.
The Twins need someone like that on their team. They need to give him a chance. They can’t give up. I mean, what would Johan Santana do? Not give up on Johan Santana, that’s what.
So, what do you think? Should the Twins sign Johan Santana to a minor league deal, or should the Twins sign Johan Santana to a minor league deal?