He’s a former Cy Young winner (twice actually), he’s thrown a no-hitter (the first in Mets history) and has had annual salaries over $24-million, but today Johan Santana has signed a minor league deal with an invite to spring training with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Santana, who is 35, is actually only 10 days older than current Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle and would be the second oldest on the staff to R.A. Dickey. He has not pitched in the majors since 2012 after ending the season with back inflammation and then the next spring tearing the anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder for the second time. He had the same injury in 2011, causing him to miss the entire season. He also tore his achilles tendon last June when pitching in extended spring training for the Orioles.
The former Twins and Mets pitcher has a 139-78 career record and provides the Blue Jays with some depth and insurance in case one of their young starters can’t crack the starting five or has to take over at closer. Only, of course, if he still has anything left and doesn’t get hurt.
Santana did pitch in the Venezuelan Winter League for teams to scout him but was shut down with shoulder fatigue. An MRI revealed no structural damage. The move is a low risk, high reward one for the Blue Jays, who are looking for a little luck after new Blue Jay Jay Saunders hurt his knee stepping on a sprinkler head in the outfield earlier in the day.
“I’d be interested”
Earlier in the day, Johnathan Papelbon was asked about the Blue Jays by CSNPhilly.com and had this response:
Yes, Toronto, interests me–if it interests Ruben [Amaro Jr.]. I know some of the guys on their coaching staff. They’re a good team. If Ruben can do a deal with them, I’d be interested.
The comments came after Francisco Rodriguez signed with the Brewers, the other team asking about Papelbon’s services.
Papelbon doesn’t come cheap as he is owed $13 million this year and has an option for next year for the same amount. He was not clear whether that option would have to be guaranteed for him to waive his no-trade clause. The option as it stands now is only activated if he finishes 48 games.
With the potential of having to find another outfielder, the Blue Jays would likely expect that the Phillies (the last team Toronto faced in the playoffs in 1993) would have to take on a large portion of his salary.