In the last couple of years, we've seen the Orioles stash veteran retreads in the minor leagues just to see if they can rally for one last go at the big league level. At first, this was distressing, because we remembered the Andy MacPhail years, when signing veteran washouts meant they would get significant time on the big league club regardless of their current ability. Dan Duquette does not play that game, and he will stash whoever, wherever, just in case.
On Monday, the Orioles were rumored to be nearing a deal for a minor league contract with former two-time Cy Young winner Johan Santana. The thing is that those Cy Youngs were two shoulder surgeries ago, and last week he was reportedly topping out at 81 miles per hour when he threw for teams. That's not going to get a guy very far.
Some comments from the Orioles beat writing crew suggest that this could be more about potential later on in the season, if his rehab progresses and some of that velocity returns.
Given Santana's velocity and where he's at in rehab, won't be an immediate option. But could be a lefty relief candidate. Os are crafty.— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) March 3, 2014
There's very little cost to the Orioles in stashing him while seeing how his rehab comes along. If he somehow gets to where he can pitch in the big leagues again, it's the O's who will reap those benefits. If not, hey, whatever. He can head off to the retirement home with Dontrelle Willis, Jamie Moyer, and all of the other guys Duquette signed, stuck in Norfolk for a while, and let loose when it was clear they had nothing left.
Santana won't be taking up the space of anyone who matters as he works his way back. There's little risked for the potential of a modest reward later on. These are the kinds of moves the O's should be making. Just don't get your hopes up or go buying Santana jerseys just yet.