Minnesota Twins: How Did the Pitching Get So Bad?

3 of 5

View image | gettyimages.com

Santana Leaves

Johan Santana was the best pitcher I have ever had the pleasure of watching in person. His change-up was legendary. Paired with an above-average fastball and slider, he had stretches where he was nearly un-hittable. In his time with the Twins, he went from a Rule 5 pickup to a two-time Cy Young Award winner as well as a Gold Glover. One of the coolest moments Santana had as a Twin was setting the franchise’s single game strikeout record. Here, take a look:

When a guy becomes the best pitcher in baseball, he ends up getting paid like it. The Twins did technically offer him a contract extension, but only in the 5 year, $100 million range, which simply was not competitive. Knowing they were going to lose him they traded Santana to the New York Mets for pitching prospect Phil Humber, Carlos Gomez and spare parts before the 2008 season. Gomez became an All Star, but not until he ended up on the Milwaukee Brewers. Meanwhile, Humber was supposed to be the Twins best chance at replacing Santana as the ace of the team. He never lived up to that promise though, becoming a mediocre reliever who is now out of the MLB altogether.

It is hard to say the Twins were wrong in not giving Santana a huge contract. He had a couple very good years with the Mets but has not been able to stay healthy since. Still, the return in the trade of the best pitcher in baseball was abhorrently low.

In a couple short years, the Twins went from having two aces to none. That was not the end of the problems for the rotation though.

Next: Young Guys Fizzle Out