Many people may be betting against Johan Santana making a comeback, I’m not one of them. I’m ready to give the left-hander a chance and so, apparently are the Toronto Blue Jays.
Jon Heyman, an insider with CBS Sports who first reported that the Blue Jays were taking a chance on Santana, isn’t betting against him either.
Johan santana has agreed to sign with blue jays. Santana is still only 34. Wouldn’t bet against him.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 26, 2015
It’s a low-risk signing for the Blue Jays and it’s not clear exactly what role Santana will play with the team who already have R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle as the veteran aces of the staff and youngster Marcus Stroman who had a breakout rookie season in 2014.
There’s also rookie Aaron Sanchez who could be moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation along with Drew Hutchison, Daniel Norris and Marco Estrada, who they got in return for Adam Lind, all looking to find a place on the big league roster with the Jays.
Regardless if you are betting for or against Santana’s comeback both sides are risky due to his complicated yet spectacular history.
Santana, who turns 35 next week, is a two-time Cy Young Award winner. Including those two wins he was voted into the top five for the award a total of five times. He’s made four All-Star appearances and he led the league in strikeouts three straight years while playing for the Minnesota Twins.
Santana has a Gold Glove, led the league in wins in 2006 and led the league in ERA three times. He also has the distinction of throwing the only no-hitter in New York Mets history.
If those aren’t spectacular statistics, I’m not sure what are. On the other side unfortunately, Santana has been fighting injuries since 2010.
A torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder shut him down for the entire 2011 season and he hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 as a result of the same injury recurring prior to the 2013 season.
That’s two shoulder surgeries in two years for the same injury, which could be seen as an important reason for which to bet against Santana. He was on his way to a comeback last year, signing a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles, when he tore his achilles tendon during an extended spring training.
Still, Santana recovered from his injuries and each time has been able to get a team to take a chance on him. He threw his no-hitter for the Mets on June 1, 2012 after undergoing his first surgery and managed to comeback after another surgery to try his luck with the Orioles.
His Achilles tendon has healed and despite some shoulder soreness during his outings in the Venezuelan winter league, he pitched well. In his first outing back he pitched two no-hit innings, facing just six batters and throwing only 17 pitches.
If Santana can remain healthy this time around he’ll be a huge asset to the Blue Jays regardless of what role he ends up in.
Santana does not believe he is done playing baseball and he wants to “go out on his own terms” according to one of his agents.
While there are plenty of reasons to bet against him, there are just as many reasons to believe in him. He’s talented and obviously a fighter. We’ll have to wait and see what happens but for now, at least, he’s got my vote.
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