5) Ervin Santana – Minnesota Twins
The Kansas City Royals allowed the now 33-year-old Ervin Santana to walk after a 2013 season in which he posted a 3.24 ERA and ate 211.0 innings with a 9-10 record. Santana was quite good for the KC Royals but they balked at his contract demands, and instead brought in Jason Vargas to back up ace James Shields and young guns Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy in 2014.
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The 2014 staff helped the Kansas City Royals win the 2014 AL pennant after sneaking into the post season with a Wild Card bid.
Santana, meanwhile, signed a one-year contract in Atlanta before landing a multi-year deal with the Minnesota Twins in 2015. Santana is now in the second season of four-year, $55 million deal.
Santana hasn’t really lived up to the contract. He got off to a rough start by serving an 80-game PED suspension to start off 2015, and then finished out the season with a 4.00 ERA in 108.0 innings pitched with a 6.9 K/9. This season, Santana sports a 4.50 ERA in 54.0 innings after a stint on the disabled list.
However, Santana has a good track record of success in Kansas City and could become an attractive trade target if the Twins eat a good portion of the remaining $36 million or so on his contract.
A quick check of Santana’s velocity data at Brooks Baseball shows that he’s increased his fastball speed from 93.18 in April, to 93.66 in May, to 93.96 in June. That’s right in line with his velocity during his successful Kansas City run in 2013. Santana’s effectiveness could jump with the KC Royals defense behind him close to his 2013 numbers.
That chance alone merits him some consideration, since Santana pitched like a solid no. 2 starter during his time with the Kansas City Royals. That’s exactly what the 2016 team needs.
Next: Another Former Royals Pitcher