August 11, 2016

Hector Santiago loses again, falls to 0-2 with Twins

Things aren’t going as planned for pitcher Hector Santiago and the Twins after he lost his second consecutive game on Tuesday since coming to the club in exchange for Ricky Nolasco.

 

Interim general manager Rob Antony struck that deal earlier this month, and I think it’s a deal that any of us would have made to move a struggling pitcher (Nolasco) for one (Santiago) who was undefeated last month.

Nolasco’s tenure with the Twins was not good. He was 15-22 in two-plus seasons with an ERA of 5.44. Meanwhile, Santiago, after going 6-0 in July, improved to 10-4 on the season with an ERA of 4.25. But two starts later and Santiago is now 10-6 with an ERA headed toward Nolasco territory.

As tempting as this deal must have been for Antony, a closer look at the numbers show that it may be nothing more than swapping two players with similar abilities. In other words, a transaction of equal value that neither team — the Twins or the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim — really benefit from.

Despite Santiago’s 10 wins, he’s 33-34 over six seasons, although he has a career ERA of 3.73. He’s never won more than 10 games in a season — and I’d hate to think he couldn’t top that in 2016 — and has never pitched 200 innings. He also has a tendency to walk batters and serve up the long ball — 23 home runs so far this season.

In 11 seasons, Nolasco is 104-97 with a much higher career ERA of 4.59. He doesn’t walk as many batters, but he can be victimized by the long ball. He’s surrendered 22 this season, which, if you’ll notice, is one less than Santiago.

I’m not ready to give up on this deal just yet, but it does remind me of the off-season transaction that sent Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks to the New York Yankees for catcher John Ryan Murphy — a move that hasn’t worked out for anyone because neither player can hit. Hicks is hitting .192, while Murphy hit .075 in 40 at-bats for the Twins and was sent to Triple-A Rochester. He’s now hitting .206 in the minors. Ugh.

Extra innings…

-The Twins and Houston Astros played a baseball game for three innings on Wednesday — and the Twins took a 5-0 lead — before it was postponed due to rain. A doubleheader is set for Thursday.

-Miguel Sano hit his 19th and Brian Dozier his 23rd home run in Tuesday’s game.

-Longview, Washington native Trevor May is headed back to the disabled list with a lower back strain, according to MLB.com, which means the Twins will recall reliever J.T. Chargois from Triple-A Rochester. J.T.’s major league debut didn’t go so well after he gave up five runs in two-thirds of an inning to the Boston Red Sox.

Jose Berrios and Tommy Milone, in a spot start, will pitch Thursday.

 

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.