Orioles among teams to look at Johan Santana
The Baltimore Orioles were among six other teams that were in attendance to see two-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher Johan Santana throw a workout session in Ft. Meyers on Tuesday. It’s been reported that left-handed 34-year-old is not completely healed from his shoulder surgery from last April. His velocity was sitting around 77-79 miles per hour and topped out at about 81 MPH, although it was noted that his change-up looked good. He is expected to back at 100 percent around June.
The Orioles beat reporter for MLB.com, Brittany Ghiroli, posted in her blog Wednesday that she expects the Orioles to still be actively seeking pitching depth even after the signing of Ubaldo Jimenez. Whether or not the Orioles are still interested in Santana after seeing his below-average velocity, is the question. Or, would they rather add an arm that is more readily available to start the season.
Of course, it wouldn’t hurt the Orioles to offer the former Mets and Twins ace a minor league contract. That would be a low risk, high reward situation. Given the struggles that Santana faced in the 2012 season where he went 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA, it might be safe to say that even when he does return to full health he wont be all that effective. He will probably have similar abilities to that of Freddy Garcia. Garcia finished with a 4-7 record with a 4.37 ERA last year after starting the season in the minors. After a rocky start with the birds, his season ERA is that low because he benefited from pitching in the National League in the second half of the season. Although it would be good to have the club house presence of Santana, he might be best suited to stay in the National League.
Ghiroli noted that there are other experienced pitching options for the Orioles to seek. Players like Barry Zito, Joe Saunders, Jeff Karstens are available. However, none of these players are really all that much of an upgrade to what the Orioles already have. But if there is one lesson we learned from the 2012 Orioles, it can’t hurt to have too much pitching.
The Orioles were rumored to be interested in bringing Saunders back. Saunders was traded to the O’s during the 2012 season and started the Wild Card game against the Texas Rangers that propelled the Orioles to a 5-1 victory sending them to the ALDS against the Yankees. The left-hander will probably be the most likely choice for the birds. He pitched over 183 innings last season for the Mariners with a 11-16 record with a 5.26 ERA.
Orioles leftie pitcher Zach Britton stands a chance to make the club as maybe a left-handed long reliever. He is a dark horse for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. If he does not make the team, the 26-year-old will be out of minor league options and put on waivers for other teams to claim.