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MLB rumors: Twins willing to listen on Ervin Santana

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Despite the fact that the Twins are currently in first place, it sounds like they’ll listen to offers for Ervin Santana this summer.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Minnesota Twins Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

After his hot start to the season, veteran Twins starter Ervin Santana could be a trade candidate this summer, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Santana, 34, struggled after returning from a PED suspension in 2015, but he quietly bounced back and posted some of the best numbers of his career last season. That success has carried over into 2017, as he has a 2.07 ERA and 0.89 WHIP over his first nine starts of the season. Unless he really starts to struggle over the next month, it appears as if he’ll be in line to be an All-Star for the first time since 2008.

As things stand now, the Twins certainly don’t seem to be a team that would be in position to sell at the deadline, seeing as they’re tied with the Cleveland Indians for first place in the AL Central. The Twins weren’t expected to rebound this quickly from last year’s 103-loss season, though, so it’d be understandable if their front office was planning for a scenario in which they fall out of the race later this summer.

Heyman writes that teams will “have to give up some decent prospects for Santana,” and if that ends up being the case, a Santana deal could bring even more young talent to a Twins system that already stands to receive a major boost when they pick first in next month’s MLB Draft.

If Santana continues pitching the way he has to start the season, his contract will be a surprisingly good value for any club that acquires him, as he’s making $13.5 million this season and will earn the same salary in 2018. He also has an $14 million option for 2019 which vests if he pitches 200 innings in 2018 or 400 innings combined between 2017 and 2018.

Santana is currently the ace of the Twins’ staff, but they’ve got a substantial amount of young pitching depth that might be able to offset his loss. Five of MLB Pipeline’s top 10 Twins prospects are starting pitchers in the upper minors, headlined by left-hander Stephen Gonsalves.