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Orioles, Johan Santana agree on one-year, $3M minor-league deal

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

Johan Santana appears to be headed to Baltimore for this season.
Johan Santana is headed to Baltimore for this season. (USATSI)

More MLB: Spring training | FA tracker: position players | FA tracker: pitchers

The Orioles have agreed to sign free agent pitcher Johan Santana to a one-year, $3 million minor-league contract, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

Santana, 34, worked out for seven teams last week and reportedly was only sitting at around 77-78 miles per hour with his fastball. Still, he's still in the rehab process and is shooting for a return to the hill at some point in June.

The signing of Santana is tantamount to spending a few bucks on a Powerball ticket. In the grand scheme of things, there really isn't much risk, but the incredibly unlikely reward is big. The former best pitcher in baseball was still very productive in 2010 and had a 2.38 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 68 innings pitched for the Mets through 11 starts in 2012.

Since then, though, Santana fell apart (8.27 ERA in next 10 starts) and had surgery on his left shoulder -- his second such procedure.

As far as a role, the Orioles have starting pitching depth in Ubaldo Jimenez, Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris, Miguel Gonzalez, Kevin Gausman, Zach Britton and Suk-min Yoon are eight starters for five spots right now. So Santana would have to break into the top five over four guys there.

What about as a reliever? It's intriguing. The Orioles only have Brian Matusz -- who is also attempting to stick as a starter, by the way -- in the 'pen from the left side to begin the season and Santana could thrive with a fastball-sinker-changeup arsenal as a situational reliever. It's worth a try.

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