From the Department of The Oddly Specific, here’s Marlins ace Jose Fernandez:
He delivered his message quiet matter-of-factly, as if he were discussing the everyday, the mundane, the fully expected. With neither fanfare nor a deep breath to preface his quiet announcement, Jose Fernandez calmly said, “My goal this year is to have a 1.95 ERA.” There.
Oh, 1.95? Well, of course? Why not? Why not 1.90?
“I think I can,” Fernandez said with an earnestness that is delightful and disarming. His response to his listener’s somewhat incredulous reaction was an incredulous reaction of his own, as if to say “What, you don’t think I can?”
I think he probably can. I just wonder how one arrives at that specific number as opposed to saying “under 2.00” or something. Either way, I kind of like Fernandez. The more I learn about him the more of a mildly strange ranger he seems to be, and I love strange rangers.
Free agent right-hander Ervin Santana picked up a minor league deal with the White Sox, according to various reports Friday. Per Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com, Santana will make $4.33 million if he manages to crack the major-league roster this spring. Any official confirmation from the team is still dependent on the results of a physical.
The veteran righty hasn’t seen any action in MLB for some time. He was laid low by prolonged discomfort in his right middle finger last spring, and underwent a capsular release/debridement procedure that kept him off the mound for all but 24 2/3 innings of his 2018 campaign with the Twins. When healthy, however, he’s been as durable and productive as they come. Santana earned his second career All-Star distinction in 2017 and pitched to a 16-8 record in 33 starts with three shutouts, a 3.28 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 7.1 SO/9, and 2.9 fWAR through 211 1/3 innings.
Barring further complications with his pitching hand, the 36-year-old should be a stabilizing force for the White Sox’ rotation in 2019 — assuming he can beat out southpaw Manny Bañuelos and right-handers Jordan Stephens and Dylan Covey for a back-end role, that is. According to FanGraphs, the club’s starters ranked worst in the league in 2018 with a collective 5.07 ERA, 5.18 FIP, and 3.1 fWAR.