Monday the Baltimore Orioles bought the contract of pitcher Johan Santana from Triple-A Norfolk. Santana had the option to opt out of his contract by midnight tonight and it appears the Orioles wanted him badly enough not to let him.
“Santana did opt out of his minor league contract.”
Yet, because the Orioles purchased it they were able to keep him from moving elsewhere. Over the off-season the Orioles signed Santana to a $3 million base contract that came with $5.05 million worth of incentives.
Santana will now be added to the Orioles 40-man roster and placed on the 15-day disabled list. The Orioles had room on their roster after designating Evan Meek for assignment. The 35-year old left-hander is still recovering from left shoulder surgery and has not pitched in the majors since 2012.
The Orioles have selected the contract of LH Johan Santana from 3A Norfolk & placed him on the 15-day DL (recovery from L shoulder surgery).
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) June 2, 2014
However, the Orioles are optimistic that Santana will be ready to start after one more extended spring training start and two or three minor league starts. He is expected to make his return to the majors by June 18. So things are looking up for the southpaw. Stacey Folkemer of CamdenChat.com writes,
“The reports out of Sarasota on Santana have been increasingly positive, as his fastball velocity has crept up to about 88 mph, along with a change up in the mid-70s.”
It is still unclear if Santana will join the Orioles as a starter or reliever though there has been speculation that he will be a starter meaning that one of the Orioles five starting pitchers will have to go being either demoted, released, sent to the bullpen or traded to make room for him to start. It is unlikely that one of those starters who may be on the chopping block will be Chris Tillman or Ubaldo Jimenez, although neither of them have performed especially well this season. More than likely the choice would come down to Wei-Yin Chen or Miguel Gonzalez. The Orioles other starter Bud Norris has pitched too well this season to be let go in any way according to Folkemer.
Regardless, the Orioles now have Santana on their roster so keep an eye out for changes to be made in the coming weeks.