For the second straight year, the Twins make a move to bolster their rotation.
The Twins have agreed to a contract with righthander Ervin Santana on a four-year, $54 million contract, according to a source with knowledge of negotiations. The deal reportedly includes a fifth-year option based innings pitched. The deal is pending a physical, so Santana will likely be presented in his Twins colors early next week.
The fifth year option is for $14 million. There is a $1 million buyout.
One year after signing Ricky Nolasco to a club-record four-year, $49 million deal, the Twins break that deal with Santana, who is 119-100 in his career.
The deal was hammered out Wednesday night and Thursday morning at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, home of the winter meetings.
The Twins were interested in Santana last offseason. Santana rejected a one-year qualifying offer from Kansas City for $14.1 million and elected to enter free agency. The draft pick compensation scared teams off and he ended up signing with the Braves for - $14.1 million - in an attempt to have a good year and cash in after 2014.
He went 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA for the Braves - rejected another qualifying offer - and had several teams interested in him this offseason. His deal with the Twins averages out to $13.5 million a season. Considering that Brandon McCarthy got $12 million a year from the Dodgers and Francisco Liriano got $13 million a year from Pittsburgh, $13.5 million for Santana looks like a fair deal - especially since he's been much more durable than McCarthy and Liriano.
The only concern is the length of the deal. He turns 32 on Friday.
The Twins will surrender their second round pick - currently No. 44 overall - for signing Santana. They do have a a pick - No. 71 overall - in the competitive balance round after the second round, so it's not that big of a hit.
The Twins' rotation now looks like this:
RHP Phil Hughes
RHP Ricky Nolasco
RHP Ervin Santana
RHP Kyle Gibson
RHP Trevor May/Mike Pelfrey/Alex Meyer or LHP Tommy Milone.
If the Twins can get Nolasco to be more functional in 2015 - the first big task for new pitching coach Neil Allen - this rotation will be a bump better. And there's less pressure on May and Meyer to develop.