What Does 80-Game Ban Mean For Ervin Santana and Twins?
The Minnesota Twins were hoping newly signed pitcher Ervin Santana could help them take a step forward in 2015. He still might, but now they’ll have to wait to find out.
The 32-year old ace has reportedly been handed down an 80-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy. Santana reportedly tested positive for Stanozolol, which is a banned substance. Santana will now miss the first 80 games of the year, effectively rendering him useless for the first half of the 2015 season.
While losing Santana is a big blow to their pitching rotation, the good news is he doesn’t have to miss the entire season and that his 80-game ban comes with no pay.
Making up for the loss of a quality pitcher they just signed to a huge four-year, $55 million deal won’t be easy, however. Santana was supposed to be a big part of a hopeful turnaround for the Twins, as he brought a solid 14-10 record, 179 strikeouts and a 1.31 WHIP from last season.
No one was likely to take Minnesota to make much noise, seeing as they finished dead last with just 70 wins in the AL Central division a year ago. Santana was a great addition that would have made life easier and brought a little more hope for the Twins, but it already wasn’t looking good.
Needless to say, with Santana on the shelf to get the season going, no one should be banking on the Twins finding much success early. No Santana puts even more pressure on Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco, while Kyle Gibson and Tommy Milone will be asked to step up more than ever. That may not end up going so well, so the Twins will have to simply do what they can until Santana can make it back.
By the time Santana does make his 2015 debut, of course, Minnesota will be far down in the standings and any hopes of making a legit run will probably be dashed.
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