November 2, 2018

We hardly knew ye, Ervin Santana

Starting pitcher Ervin Santana is a free agent after the Twins took a pass on a $14 million club option for his services and bought out his contract for a fraction of that amount, according to MLB.com.

There’s always a chance he could return to the Twins as a free agent, but that doesn’t seem likely after he struggled to recover (if he’s recovered at all) from off-season surgery on a pitching hand finger. He finally rejoined the team late in the 2018 season, but something wasn’t right after Santana appeared in five games and was 0-1 with an 8.03 ERA.

Santana’s time with the Twins was a bit of a roller coaster.

He joined the Twins as a free agent in 2015 and quickly made a terrible impression after he was suspended for 80 games for using performance enhancing drugs. He struggled the following season, just like everyone did, because the Twins burst out of the gates in 2016 and lost 103 games.

But Santana returned to form in 2017 and had one of the best seasons of his career. He won 16 games with a 3.28 ERA, the second lowest earned run average over his 14 seasons. Santana’s performance helped propel the team to a postseason appearance opposite the New York Yankees, but it was during that game — Santana got the start — that he apparently pitched with discomfort, and that ultimately led to the off-season surgery.

Extra innings…

-The Twins also have said goodbye to slugger Logan Morrison after they bought out his contract as well. Morrison joined the Twins after he hit 38 home runs for the Tampa Bay Rays. But he was a bust for Minnesota. He never hit better than .200 and his home run total reached 15 before he had season-ending hip surgery.

-Rest in peace, Willie McCovey. McCovey, the longtime slugger for the San Francisco Giants, died Wednesday at 80. The Hall of Famer hit 521 home runs over a 22-year career, 19 of them spent with the Giants. He was Rookie of the Year in 1959, a six-time all-star, and he was MVP in 1969 after he hit .320 with 45 home runs and 126 RBI.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle:

McCovey was a fearsome hitter during his heyday in the 1960s and ’70s, not merely because of his prowess — he hit 521 home runs (still tied for 20th on the all-time list, 38 years after he played his last game) — but because of how hard he hit the ball.

McCovey also clubbed 18 grand slams, still a National League record, according to the Chronicle.

-I went trick-or-treating with family and friends on Wednesday and wore my Twins cap because rain was in the forecast. As we worked the neighborhood for candy, a passerby spotted my cap and questioned the recent hiring of the new manager by simply saying, “Rocco Baldelli?”

I just shrugged my shoulders. Frankly, I don’t get it either.

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.