Former Atlanta Braves starter Ervin Santana reached a four-year, $55 million deal with the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, per multiple reports.
Ervin Santana is going to the Minnesota Twins.
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The Twins reached a four-year, $54 million deal with the former Atlanta Braves starter on Thursday, per The Minnesota Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III. The deal also has a fifth-year option worth $14 million "based on innings pitched" and a $1 million buyout. It is pending a physical.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press' Mike Berardino notes it "would be the richest free-agent contract in franchise history." The previous record holder was Ricky Nolasco's four-year, $49 million contract. Santana is now Minnesota's second highest-paid player. First baseman Joe Mauer tops him at $23 million per season.
Now that Santana's contract is in the mix, Berardino says the Twins have a projected payroll of $103.5 million for 2015. This is the team's second-highest ever, trailing their 2011 Opening Day payroll by almost $10,000. Eight Twins -- including the recently re-signed Torii Hunter -- are currently signed at a combined $83.15 million.
Neal says the two sides consummated the deal at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, where the winter meetings are being held. The Twins had been eyeing Santana since the beginning of the 2014 MLB season. He turned down a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Kansas City Royals to test the market. He wound up signing with the Atlanta Braves on a one-year deal for the same amount to increase his market value this season.
Minnesota will give up its second-round pick in the 2015 First-Player Draft as a result of the Santana acquisition, per Neal.
ESPN Desportes' Enrique Rojas also confirms the agreement between Santana and the Twins. He notes the fifth-year option hinges on Santana pitching in at least 200 innings in 2015.
Twins general manager Terry Ryan told Berardino on Wednesday the team is looking to improve in several areas, with pitching as a major area of concern:
"We're looking to win some baseball games here. We have really struggled on that mound. That's not the only thing we have struggled with, but as an organization and as a team we have not won the amount of games we need to get up to that point where in September, we don't want to be just a non-factor.
"We want to be playing for things beyond the halfway mark. We've kind of gotten to the halfway mark and all of a sudden it disintegrates. We're trying to get better. To get better, it probably starts right there in the rotation."
The 31-year-old Santana has a 119-100 record to go along with 1,507 strikeouts on a 4.17 ERA in 299 career games with the Los Angeles Angels, Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves, per ESPN stats.
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