Danny Santana wasn’t the most famous Santana on the Twins, and Kevin Chapman isn’t the best reliever named Chapman, so this deal won’t grab the headlines of that kind of a blockbuster, but this trade is significant in its own right. The Twins traded Danny Santana to Atlanta for pitcher Kevin Chapman. It is easy to say that this was the most significant player swap in the Falvey/Levine era.
Danny Santana was squeezed out of a role with the Twins, as the bench contained players that were either better at the plate or better in the field than Santana, but there is no question about why someone would want him. His versatility in the field makes him a one man depth chart, and his youth, and a very good rookie season suggest that there is still potential to improve.
After his dynamic debut in 2014, Santana struggled in 2015, to the point that he spent an extended time in Rochester, amid reports that he took online criticism especially hard. He bounced back a bit last year to seize a role as a super utility player, though questions about both his bat and his proficiency at all the positions he was playing remained. He was, as they say, a jack of all trades and a master of none. He has a reputation for getting inside his own head. Perhaps Santana is the perfect change of scenery candidate, not because he will get significantly better, though he might, but rather because he needs to relax and maybe even enjoy the ride.
In Chapman, the Twins acquired a lefthanded reliever that will likely add a bit of organizational bullpen depth. The Twins are rapidly shuffling the deck chairs of the Titanic that is their bullpen, and it will be nice to have the opportunity for a fresh arm. He hasn’t been very good in his short work this year, nor was he last year, but in 2013, his rookie year, he got very good results. Again, Chapman isn’t a huge coup or anything like that, but he will serve a purpose with the Twins, and is an appropriate return for a utility player already designated for assignment.
I wish Santana well. He seemed like a decent kid, perhaps overwhelmed by the pressures of Major League ball at times. He was slated to start in Atlanta tonight, and I hope his National League career gets off to a good start.