Johan Santana made what’s expected to be his final extended spring training start for the Orioles today, throwing 4.1 innings and 76 pitches against inexperienced minor leaguers in Florida.
Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports that Santana struck out eight and walked zero while allowing two runs on six hits, and his fastball was clocked at 86-88 miles per hour. The next step for Santana will presumably be a minor-league rehab assignment and a long-awaited return to formal game action.
Even while winning multiple Cy Young awards Santana was never a flamethrower, but at his peak he averaged 92-93 miles per hour. At the end of his time with the Mets he averaged 88-90 miles per hour, so at the very least Santana is relatively close to being back to where he was just before multiple shoulder surgeries.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon is reportedly open to a contract extension with the Nationals, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post said Sunday. Rendon told reporters that he didn’t know if agent Scott Boras would discuss an extension with the club, contrary to previous reports confirming the two had already started that conversation.
Rendon, 27, is coming off of his best career year to date. He finished the 2017 season batting .301/.403/.533 with 25 home runs and 100 RBI through 605 plate appearances, good enough to earn him sixth place in NL MVP voting. He made his third postseason appearance after helping Nationals through the National League Division Series, and contributed a pair of extra-base hits before the team was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 5.
Rendon is still arbitration-eligible through 2019, but stands to receive a hefty payday once he enters free agency in 2020. While it stands to reason that the Nats would want to lock up a player who contributed a whopping 6.9 fWAR last year, making him the most valuable player on their roster, an extension appeals to Rendon as well. “Why not stay with one organization?” he said Sunday. The 2018 season will be his sixth with the team.