Don’t look now, but the Orioles just signed another former All Star. In the aftermath of the Yoon, Jimenez, and Cruz signings, the Birds have agreed to a one-year deal with two-time Cy Young award-winning pitcher Johan Santana. The signing will allow Johan to rehab his shoulder injury at the major league complex. Can the Orioles really use a guy like this? Why the hell not?
It’s a low risk, high reward signing. He isn’t expected to be ready to throw until May or June, but he could possibly be used later in the season as a lefty reliever out of the bullpen. It was rumored that the Birds were looking to move lefty specialist and former starter Brian Matusz back into a starters role in spring training. This move could help jumpstart that.
What’s the worst that can happen? Santana pitches for the Orioles, makes a few appearances, and his arm falls off? No problem, thanks for your time Jo. Maybe he comes in, terrorizes lefthanders late in the game and helps develop the younger pitchers like Bundy and Gausman. If Johan can be a shadow of what he once was, this is a good move by the Orioles.
The O’s were one of several teams to watch Santana throw last week. Scouts in attendance reported that his fastball was around 77-78 MPH and topped out at 81. Yikes. That would be good for a high school varsity pitcher. Have to believe that with more time to rehab and work on his shoulder his velocity will rise.
Part of me thinks that this is a good move, bringing in a veteran guy who can help develop the young guys on the team. But another part of me thinks this is the Orioles just being the old Orioles. Sammy Sosa, anyone? Bottom line is that if he is good enough to help the ball club, he will be here. If he’s not good enough, then he will be sitting in a rocking chair somewhere. Guess we’ll wait and see.