Orioles Sign Johan Santana to a Minor League Deal

Johan Santana #57 of the New York Mets throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 17, 2012 in Washington, DC.

The Orioles today announced that they have signed left-handed pitcher Johan Santana to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

Here’s the press release from the Orioles:         

Orioles Sign Free Agent Lhp Johan Santana To A Minor League Contract With An Invitation To Spring Training

The Orioles today announced that they have signed free agent LHP JOHAN SANTANA to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Santana, 34, is a two-time Cy Young Award winner (2004 and '06), a four-time All-Star (2005-07 and '09) and a Gold Glove winner (2007).

Santana is 139-78 with a 3.20 ERA (2025.2IP, 721ER) in 360 career games (284 starts) with the Twins and Mets since making his debut in 2000. In a seven-season span from 2004-'10, he made at least 25 starts and posted an ERA of 3.33 or lower in each season, including five seasons with 29 or more starts and a sub-3.00 ERA. In that time, Santana led the majors in ERA (2.87) and strikeouts (1479), tied for 2nd in wins (110), and ranked 4th in innings pitched (1512.1), finishing in the top-5 in Cy Young voting five times (two wins, two 3rd place finishes and a 5th place finish).

On June 1, 2012 against St. Louis, he threw the first no-hitter in New York Mets history (5BB, 8K). Santana did not pitch in 2011 or 2013 due to a tear in the anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder. 

In five career playoff starts from 2003-'06, Santana has posted a 2.93 ERA (27.2IP, 9ER). He has also made three scoreless All-Star Game appearances (3.0IP, H, 2BB, 3K; 2005-'07). He is the second-winningest Venezuelan-born pitcher in baseball history behind Freddy Garcia (156) and 12 strikeouts shy of 2,000 for his career.

Originally signed by the Houston Astros as an amateur free agent, July 2, 1995, Santana was acquired by Minnesota via Florida at the 1999 Rule 5 Draft. He will wear #57.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports noted in a tweet, “Johan Santana gets $3M plus performance bonuses on minor-league deal.”

I guess it’s assuming if he reaches the majors.

Santana’s health issues have been well-documented; however, if he has anything left in his arm, then this deal for the Orioles will be an absolute steal.