Ervin Santana
Ervin Santana shown here pitching for the Atlanta Braves last season was suspended 80 games by MLB for violating the league's PED policy. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Ervin Santana was suspended 80 games on Friday for violating the League’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Santana’s suspension came just days before Opening Day of the MLB season was set to begin, and before the right-hander even threw a single pitch for the Twins in the regular season.

Major League Baseball announced that Santana had tested positive for Stanozolol, a synthetic anabolic steroid. Stanozolol is used to treat anaemia and hereditary angioedema normally, but its banned for use in sports competitions including horse racing because of its ability to lose fat while retaining lean body mass. Clearly disgruntled, the Twins released the following statement after the announcement was made:

“We were disappointed to learn of th e suspension of Ervin Santana for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. We fully support Major League Baseball's policy and its efforts to eliminate performance enhancing substances from our game. Per the protocol outlined in the Joint Drug Program, the Minnesota Twins will not comment further on this matter.”

Similar to that girl who keeps picking the wrong guys to date, Santana’s suspension is just another reminder at how atrocious the Twins have been during free agency over the past few years. Minnesota signed Santana to a four-year $54 million contract this offseason, the largest contract in franchise history. Santana was stolen away from the Braves in exchange for a draft pick in order to give the Twins much needed starting pitching at the top of the rotation. Why did the Twins need the starting pitching? Because the last two free agent signings (with the exception of Phil Hughes), blew up in their faces. Ricky Nolasco and Mike Pelfrey were both signed to large contracts during the 2013-2014 off season and the two pitchers combined for a record of 6-15 and gave up over 123 runs.

The Twins are a small market team with not a lot of disposable cash to sign big name free agents. Therefore, the organization needs to be selective with their offseason targets. The fact that Santana cheated and burned the team speaks to why the Twins have had four consecutive 90+ loss seasons. They continually strike out on free agent deals, and swallow bad contracts the way sand swallows foam.

Meanwhile, the Braves look like geniuses in all this scandal and intrigue. After losing Kris Medlen to start last season, Atlanta quickly snatched up Santana for a one-year $14 million deal. Santana went 14-10 with a 3.94 ERA and allowed a career low 16 home runs. The deal was well worth the value they got in return, and now that Medlen is healthy and the Braves are in a rebuilding phase, the draft pick they received in return for Santana’s departure should pay dividends.

Unfortunately for the Twins, they continue to sink lower and lower as a franchise. The American League Central is sure to be one of the best divisions in baseball with the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians and revamped Chicago White Sox to worry about. The one thing the Twins thought they had going for them was decent starting pitching, but with Nolasco and Pelfrey flaming out and Santana suspended for the first half of the season, it’s going to be a long year in the Twin Cities.

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