Santana has signed a minor league deal with a base salary of $3 million and another $5.05 million in bonuses based on games started and days spent on the major league roster. He has a May 30 opt-out date, which fits into Duquette’s projected timeframe.
Santana will report to camp Wednesday morning.
I’ll post quotes from Duquette later today. In the meantime, here’s the lineup for tonight’s game against the Yankees in Tampa.
For the Orioles
David Lough CF
Jemile Weeks 2B
Delmon Young DH
Steve Clevenger C
Steve Pearce 1B
Ryan Flaherty SS
Francisco Peguero RF
Quintin Berry LF
Cord Phelps 3B
Wei-Yin Chen LHP
Available relievers include Eddie Gamboa, Brad Brach, Evan Meek, Brock Huntzinger, Josh Stinson, Ryan Webb, Mike Belfiore, Kelvin De La Cruz and Troy Patton.
Jack Cust is making the trip. He’s been at the minor league camp.
Update: Here are some comments from Duquette:
“Johan Santana is an elite pitcher and he’s determined to come back and pitch and he’d like to pitch at a high level, so we signed him to a minor league deal and our hope is he’ll be able to come back and help us during the season. A reasonable timeframe for when he should be able to help us this year is around June 1. That’s the way it’s looking right now.
“We’ve been working on this for a while. He lives in Fort Myers and during his time with the Mets, he had trained and done rehab with Chris Correnti, one of our trainers, so Chris had stayed in touch with him and maintained dialogue with him as he’s coming back from his capsule surgery on his left shoulder. Bruce Kison went down to see him last week. So, based upon their recommendations, and Johan’s track record speaks for itself. He’s a two-time Cy Young Award winner, he’s got a lifetime 3.20 ERA, so he has to know something about pitching. And I know that he has some long-term goals. I think he’s chasing Freddy Garcia for the most wins by a Venezuelan pitcher in history, so he’d like to come back and pitch. And his situation is very similar to Bret Saberhagen’s.
“Bret had this same injury to his shoulder and also similar surgery and rehab, and he came back and he pitched ... I think he went 25-12 the last couple years toward the end of his career. He was able to maintain his elite control and he was able to build up his velocity so that he could leverage his skills that he used to be a two-time Cy Young Award winner, so I think that’s really what our hope is in signing him. We don’t know how long he can pitch, but we think he’ll be able to come back and pitch, and he’s already shown that he’s a highly skilled pitcher, so he should be able to give us some good innings.”
The same surgeon did the procedures on Saberhagen and Santana. Saberhagen signed with the Red Sox and went a combined 25-14 with ERAs of 3.96 and 2.95 in 1998 and 1999.
Asked whether Santana would start or be used in relief, Duquette replied, “Well, that depends on how he throws and what he can do after he builds up his velocity.”
Even if Santana’s velocity is down, Duquette said the southpaw can be effective “because he has deception to his pitches and he has outstanding control. Anyone who has pitched at the level he’s pitched at had significant skills and the skills go beyond the velocity. He was a several-time All-Star. He also won the Gold Glove and he’s pitched very, very well in the playoffs and that speaks to his high skill level.”
Santana brings a reputation as a good clubhouse guy.
“I think we saw that yesterday, didn’t we, when E-Rod (Eduardo Rodriguez) tweeted out a picture of him with Johan Santana,” Duquette said. “Elite players, Cy Young Award winners, they have to have good work habits. They have to be good examples to the other developing pitchers on the staff. So, I’m sure Johan’s presence will be welcomed.
“You can’t be at the top of your profession without having a good work ethic, strong routine and a desire to be great. Johan brings all of those to the Orioles organization and he’ll apply all those skills as part of this contract.”
Duquette provided more details on the contract.
“If his contract is purchased by the major league team, he will receive a base salary and also receive bonuses based on being on the active roster and pitching. Games started,” Duquette said.
“We’re kind of excited. He’s only 34 years old, he’s determined to come back and pitch. He has some life-long goals that he’d like to fulfill and I’m sure another quality left-hander will be able to help the club.”