Not too many positives came from the Texas Rangers weekend trip to Minnesota, losing 2-of-3 to the Twins. But not everything from that trip to the Twin Cities may be bad.
According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, the Rangers took “a hard look” at Twins pitcher Ervin Santana during his start on Friday. The right-hander gave up two runs on three hits while striking out five in just over six innings of work against Texas.
At this point, there’s no doubt the Rangers are in the market to shore up their rotation, with injuries to Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis and Derek Holland. They still have Cole Hamels, Martin Perez and A.J. Griffin, but the two spots behind them is a concern. Chi Chi Gonzalez has been rocked in his two starts since being called up from Triple-A Round Rock, and Nick Martinez gave up a four-run lead in the 12-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Monday.
The Rangers have also reportedly talked to the Rays about pitcher Jake Odorizzi, with names such as Jurickson Profar, Joey Gallo and Lewis Binson possibly being thrown in the mix. Adding a veteran like Santana could help as the Rangers try to keep hold of the A.L. West and position themselves for a World Series run. He does have pennant chase and postseason experience from his time with the Los Angeles Angels.
On the other side, the 33-year old is 2-7 with a 4.50 ERA for a bad Twins team this season. One possible red flag for those “looking” is his decline in strikeouts over the last couple of seasons. Santana has seven seasons of 130 strikeouts or more in his career, but only 82 in 17 starts last season. He has 60 strikeouts in 84 innings this season.
What also makes this “hard look” interesting is that Santana is owed the remaining balance of $13.5 million this season and $13.5 million for 2017 and 2018, plus a club option for $14 million for 2019.
The Rangers may be more inclined to look for younger pitchers who are more controllable. While Santana does have veteran experience, management may have to decide if the numbers are worth it.
Written by C. James