What would the Astros of the early 2000’s have looked like with Johan Santana at the top of the rotation? Unfortunately, that is something we will never know as Santana was lost in the Rule 5 draft before he could ever take the mound in Houston.
At this point the 34-year old is no longer the pitcher he once was, and has had his share of health problems over the last few seasons. That is why the four time All-Star and two time Cy Young winner will only end up with a minor league contract for 2014.
A situation like this is just what Jeff Luhnow is looking for. If healthy, Santana still has a lot to offer. The problem though, is that we are dealing with a very big “if”. Santana did not pitch at all last season, and it was clear in 2012 that his no-hitter took a lot out of him. In fact, I’m not even sure that it is a foregone conclusion that Santana even has enough to make a rotation this spring.
But why not take a chance? Luhnow bringing Santana to camp as a flier with a decent amount of upside is a move that could help the Astros in 2014. There certainly is not any risk here. Santana would be one of many competitors for the back end of the rotation, but he would have the most talent and also the best resume.
The Boston Globe’s Nick Carfardo is reporting that the Astros could very well be a potential landing spot for Santana, for whom a deal could be imminent.
Santana is getting closer to making a decision on a minor league deal with a team. There’s been some speculation about the Twins since Santana still resides in Fort Myers, Fla., where the Twins have spring training. The Red Sox, who also train in Fort Myers, passed. But a small-market team such as the Astros could also have some interest. Santana is just trying to get back pitching and prove himself again.