Johan Santana: Perfect Low-Risk, High-Reward Signing for Yankees

As the Yankees stay away from big time free agents like Max Scherzer and James Shields, there is still a hole in the rotation that needs to be filled if they want to compete next year. While they do have guys capable of all-star seasons in Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda, both of their injury histories are too inconsistent. In other words, more depth is needed for their to be any chance for a thriving rotation in 2015.

A few days ago, Dan Martin of the New York Post reported that veteran lefty Johan Santana was attempting a comeback. Santana, 35, has been showcasing his talent in the Venezuelan Winter League and is hoping for a shot with an MLB club in spring training and the Yankees are reportedly interested. In my opinion, this a perfect low-risk, high-reward signing that the Yankees should take advantage of.

In his last relatively full season (2012), Santana went 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA. He also threw the New York Mets’ first no-hitter in franchise history that year. While he isn’t going to be the top of the rotation guy he was back in the early part of his career, there may still be a chance for him to eat some innings for a team that gives him a chance.

Back in his prime, Santana was lights out, winning two Cy Young Awards and pitching to an ERA under 3.50 every year from 2002-2010. Then, at the end of the 2010 season, Santana tore his shoulder out, an injury that would virtually ruin the rest of his career. Santana missed the entire 2011 campaign and prepared for a 2012 return. However, other than his no-hitter for the Mets in 2012, he never quite returned to form.

Santana then re-tore his shoulder in early 2013, taking him to the end of his stint with the Mets. Other than a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles last spring (one that was later terminated by the O’s due to an Achilles’ tendon injury), there has been very little noise coming from Santana on whether or not he would like to attempt a comeback, until now.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports recently reported about Santana’s current pitching abilities.

Ever since Johan Santana pitched his one hitter, the Mets have struggled even further than before.
Ever since Johan Santana pitched his one hitter, the Mets have struggled even further than before.

“Johan Santana began comeback w/ perfect outing for magallanes. 6 up, 6 down. 18 pitches. fastball 90 mph, changeup working,” Heyman tweeted.

Seems like a perfect guy to take a flier on, if you ask me.

Look, his days of “ace hood” are long gone, but who knows, maybe Johan Santana can slot perfectly into the Yankees 5 spot in the rotation and pitch to a sub-4.00 ERA. Or, he could completely flop at camp and be released by the Yankees altogether.

Whatever the outcome may be, it really doesn’t matter, as his contract would only be a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. If it was up to me, I would welcome the opportunity of gaining a veteran presence like this, especially with the low-cost circumstances.

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