February 14, 2013; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Johan Santana (57) stretches during spring training at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
While the Toronto Blue Jays have been complacent in their efforts to improve their starting rotation, at least in terms of making offers to pitchers, they have been rigorously scouting every available arm. Let’s just say, they’ve left no stone unturned.
Well, this one you can certainly turn back over.
On Wednesday, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the Blue Jays were among seven teams to have scouts in attendance for Johan Santana‘s bullpen earlier this week. Toronto was joined by representatives from the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Philadelphia Phillies.
Reports on the results of Santana’s session are mixed. Santana was said to be in excellent shape and his change-up, as always, was crisp. However, as George A. King III notes, Santana still needs to build up arm strength and topped out at just 81 mph, with most of his pitches sitting in the mid to high 70’s for most of the session.
The 35-year-old, 2-time Cy Young award winner is trying to make a comeback after two shoulder surgeries in the last three years. There is upside if he can come back strong, as Santana was one of the best pitcher of the early part of this century, posting a 139-78 record with a 8.8 K/9 ratio, a 2.5 BB/9 ratio, and a career xFIP of 3.50.
Toronto’s interest at this stage would likely be categorized at this time as nothing more than due diligence. Their need in the rotation is well-documented, but the Blue Jays have a substantial amount of pitchers already competing for a spot that have similar hurdles to climb. Santana would be an intriguing option, but it would need to be on a minor league deal, giving Santana time to work up his arm strength.