Blue Jays sign Johan Santana

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The Blue Jays just announced that they agreed to terms with left-hander Johan Santana on a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Santana hasn’t pitched in the majors since August 17, 2012 as a member of the Mets. The 34-year-old missed all of 2013 after his second major shoulder surgery and saw his comeback attempt with the Orioles come to an end last June due to a torn Achilles tendon. He rehabbed the injury in order to showcase himself in the Venezuelan Winter League, but he was eventually shut down due to shoulder discomfort. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reported on Sunday that Santana was due to resume his throwing program this week, so he might not be close to game action, but that didn’t stop the Blue Jays from taking a chance on him.

Santana is basically a lottery ticket at this point, but it would be really great to see him go out on his own terms as opposed to continued physical ailments getting in the way. Here’s hoping he gets that chance.

A two-time AL Cy Young Award winner, Santana owns a 3.20 ERA across 12 seasons in the majors.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.