Breaking: Blue Jays Sign Johan Santana


Out of the blue, the Jays signed Johan Santana to a minor-league deal with an invitation to Spring Training on Thursday afternoon. In a move that that may add some depth to the back end of the rotation, the Jays added have added a twist to the competition for the fifth and final starting pitcher spot. 

Santana, who was last seen in the Major Leagues in 2012, brings to the Jays an impressive resume of 2 Cy Young Awards to go with 4 All-Star appearances. However, since 2012, Santana hasn’t made it back onto a Major League mound, suffering his second major shoulder surgery in 2013 and then a torn Achilles tendon last June in a failed comeback attempt with the Baltimore Orioles.

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Prior to that, Santana was a yearly Cy Young candidate. Over 12 seasons, the left-hander owns a career 139-78 record with a lifetime ERA of 3.20, FIP of 3.44, a K/9 of 8.8, and an ERA+ of 138.

If (big if) Santana can stay healthy and post numbers anywhere close to the figures he had in his last full season (2.98 ERA and 3.54 FIP in nearly 200 innings in 2010), the Jays would have seemingly found a solid answer to a spot that is up for grabs in Spring Training. With Marco Estrada, Daniel Norris, and Aaron Sanchez vying for the 5th starter role, Santana could sneak in as a dark horse, allowing the Blue Jays to start Norris in Triple-A and slot both Estrada and Sanchez into bullpen roles.

If things don’t pan out and Santana is either unable to stay healthy or can’t regain his once deadly arsenal of pitches that made him one of the best pitchers in the game from 2005-2010, the Jays are still adding a veteran presence in the clubhouse that could help the development of Stroman, Sanchez and Norris.

This is a low-risk move that does have plenty of upside and certainly adds some more hype to an already intriguing Spring Training.

Next: Which non-roster outfielders could compete for Michael Saunders' spot?