Johan Santana has been trying to make a comeback, and the two-time Cy Young award winner now has the opportunity to do so. According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays have signed Santana to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Santana, 35, last appeared in a major league uniform with the Mets in 2012. In 117.0 innings, Santana posted a 4.85 ERA and 4.09 FIP. His best season came in 2005 with the Twins, when he posted a 2.87 ERA and 2.80 FIP in 231.2 innings pitched.
Although he was ultimately unable to return in both 2013 and 2014, Santana attempted an immediate comeback. Santana was expected to be in the Mets' starting rotation in 2013, however shoulder surgery kept him sidelined for the entire season and made such a goal unrealistic. Last season, he signed a one-year deal with the Orioles, but Santana tore his achilles tendon in June while he was participating in extended spring training. Despite the fact that he logged over 100 innings in 2012, Santana also sat out in 2011 as a result of shoulder surgery.
For Toronto, signing Santana could be a gamble since the type of pitcher they are receiving is unclear. However, it could prove to be a low-risk, high reward type signing if Santana can remain healthy and consistent on the mound.
Earlier in his career with the Twins, Santana led the American League in strikeouts for three consecutive years. All of the procedures aside, Santana could still prove to be valuable to the Blue Jays' rotation, which is not entirely set. Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey anchor the staff, and Marcus Stroman had a solid 2014 campaign. Daniel Norris, Drew Hutchinson, and Marco Estrada will also see time as starters this spring, but Santana's experience may give him an edge.
Santana has made just 21 starts since 2010, and according to Yahoo! Sports' Mike Oz, spent some time pitching in the Venezuelan league where his velocity reached 90 mph this winter. Some MLB scouts lost interest because he subsequently suffered from a sore shoulder, but Santana could successfully make a comeback if he can find the strike zone this spring.