Reports: Twins agree with SP Ervin Santana on four-year contract

BY foxsports • December 11, 2014

For the second consecutive winter, the Minnesota Twins are spending big money on a free-agent starting pitcher.

The Twins on Thursday agreed to sign right-hander Ervin Santana to a four-year, $55 million deal, according to multiple reports. FOX Sports MLB insider Ken Rosenthal reports that Santana's deal includes a $14M vesting option for a fifth year, based on innings pitched, or a $1M buyout.

Santana, who turns 32 on Friday, spent the 2014 season with the Atlanta Braves after pitching for the Los Angeles Angels for the first eight years of his career and the Kansas City Royals in 2013. In 31 starts with the Braves last year, Santana was 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA and struck out 179 batters in 196 innings. Santana has a career ERA of 4.17 with a record of 119-100.

The money the Twins are reportedly giving Santana is slightly more than they paid to sign right-hander Ricky Nolasco last offseason. Nolasco signed a four-year, $49 million deal which, at the time, was the largest free agent contract in the Twins' history. Santana's deal tops that by $6 million. Nolasco's first year with Minnesota was a forgettable one, as the right-hander went 6-12 with a 5.38 ERA.

Throughout his 10-year big league career, Santana has logged 200 or more innings five times. He made his only All-Star appearance with the Angels in 2008 when he was 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA. Santana later won 17 games in 2010 with the Angels. In his lone year in the American League Central with the Royals in 2013, Santana was 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA and a WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) of 1.142.

Minnesota's starting rotation had the worst ERA in baseball in 2014 after also struggling during the 2013 season, so plenty of emphasis had been put on the need to acquire starting pitching. The Twins previously signed free-agent outfielder Torii Hunter earlier this winter, but the Santana signing Thursday marked the first pitching acquisition of the offseason.

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