MLB Insider Jon Heyman reported today that the Toronto Blue Jays have signed Johan Santana to a 1-year minor league deal with a Spring Training invite. Santana was at one point widely considered the best pitcher in baseball, but his career was derailed due to injuries. The Blue Jays have said they will consider him as a starter and he will compete for a rotation spot. The news came just over a month after several major league teams scouted Santana in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he pitched in January. Santana looked "great", according to several scouts. The 34-year-old's fastball even reached 90 mph, according to several sources. Even Heyman said that he "wouldn't bet against (Santana)" to make it back into the big leagues. Even so, it'll be a tough road for a guy who hasn't pitched in a major league game since 2012.
Santana last appeared last pitched for the New York Mets, where he became sidelined for the entire 2013 after re-tearing his shoulder capsule. He signed with the Orioles in 2014 after the Mets bought out his contract, but was unable to pitch for them after tearing his achilles tendon in spring training. Before his career was derailed by injuries, however, Santana was considered one of the greatest pitchers in the MLB. He debuted with the Minnesota Twins in 2000 but struggled for the first few years of his career. In late 2003, he won his last eight decisions as a starter, finishing up 12-3 with a 3.07 ERA. The streak helped spark the Twins to a playoff berth, and Santana got the start in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees. His breakout season came in 2004, when he had one of the greatest second halves in baseball's modern era. Santana went 13-0 after the All-Star break, giving up four or fewer hits in ten straight starts. He finished with a 20-6 record, leading the league in ERA (2.61) and strikeouts (265). Santana won the American League Cy Young in a landslide that season and finished sixth in MVP voting. Two years later, he topped his '04 campaign by winning the AL pitching triple crown (19 wins, 2.77 ERA, 245 strikeouts) and another Cy Young. It was the third straight year Santana led the league in strikeouts.
Santana struggled in 2007, so much so that before a game against the New York Mets in June, Twins broadcaster Bert Blyleven joked that he would shave his head if the pitcher threw a complete game. Santana tossed a four-hit shutout and shaved Blyleven's head the next day. It would be one of Santana's only highlights from that year, however, and he would be traded to the Mets in February of 2008. Santana started out strong in New York with a very impressive 2008 campaign, ending up third in NL Cy Young voting after going 16-7 with a 2.53 ERA. He struggled the next few years as he battled injury but still showed flashes of the brilliant pitcher he once was. On June 1st of 2012, Santana threw the first no-hitter of his career against the St. Louis Cardinals. Not only was it the first no-hitter in Mets franchise history, the performance also showed skeptics that the Johan Santana that dominated in the mid-2000s was still very much alive. Now, three years later, he'll have to prove that again as he looks to revive his career one more time.
Baseball is,was, and always will be the greatest game in the world
Jake Wesley is now the only writer for MLB_NL_AL.com all of these articles are ether based on facts and pieces of his opinion.