Bob Haynie: The Orioles Sign Santana. Why Not?

Veteran LHP Johan Santana was introduced to the media on Wednesday after signing a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles. The two-time Cy Young award winner stands to make $3 million if the Orioles purchase his contract and he joins the major league roster.

Santana has twice undergone torn anterior capsule surgery and has pitched in only 21 games since the end of the 2010 season. He is still rehabbing and may not be able to help the cause until June or July.

Are the Birds getting the guy who was once one the best pitchers in all of baseball? Nope. There are no guarantees that he’ll even throw a pitch for Baltimore. But at the price, it’s a low risk, high reward scenario for all involved.

While his velocity may be gone, Santana still has the ability to get hitters out. That fact was on display when he threw a no-hitter for the Mets in June of 2012.

He will have to make adjustments to his pitching style and has the baseball I.Q. to do so. With the Orioles having a slew of arms, there is no need for Santana to hurry back. He and the organization can move along at a reasonable pace.

Santana can also be a mentor to the younger pitchers. Eduardo Rodriguez, one of the top pitching prospects for the Orioles and a fellow Venezuelan, already idolizes him.

The Baltimore Orioles are expected to compete and contend in 2014. By signing Johan Santana, they have not shifted the balance of power in the AL East in their favor.

However, if the veteran can come back in the second half of the season and be any sort of factor, this will be viewed as a strong–and low risk–acquisition.

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