Samuel Deduno looks like the favorite to land the No. 5 spot in the Minnesota Twins' starting rotation now that Ervin Santana has signed elsewhere.
The Twins reportedly offered Santana a three-year contract, but the former Angels and Royals right-hander signed with the Atlanta Braves on a one-year deal worth just over $14 million today. Santana went 9-10 with a 3.24 earned-run average in 32 starts with the Royals last season.
Had Santana picked the Twins, he might have been the team's No. 1 starter. Now that he's no longer in the picture, the final spot in the rotation could belong to Deduno. Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey own the first four spots in the rotation.
On Sunday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told the Pioneer Press that he's not sure if Deduno will win the final spot in the rotation, but he would love to have him on the 25-man roster.
"He's filthy," Gardehire said. "He's healthy. Coming out of the 'pen, whatever, I like the guy. I would love to have this guy on my staff. He's got great stuff, great makeup and he can help us win baseball games."
Deduno tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press that he'll do whatever Gardenhire asks of him.
“My role is a starter, but if they need me in the bullpen to help the team, that’s all right,” he said. “I’ve been doing it in spring training.”
Twins writer Rhett Bollinger believes Deduno has a slight edge over Kyle Gibson, Vance Worley and Scott Diamond for the fifth spot in the rotation.