FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony confirmed the club made an offer to left-hander Johan Santana, who ultimately decided to sign with the Orioles on Tuesday.
Santana, who pitched for the Twins from 2000-07 and won the AL Cy Young Award in 2004 and '06, signed with Baltimore on a contract that will earn him a base salary of $3 million if he is on the Major League roster for Opening Day. Santana, who is coming off shoulder surgery, could also receive up to $5 million in performance bonuses.
Antony said the Twins had good conversations with Santana's agent, Peter Greenberg, but the Orioles simply made a better offer.
"We had conversations, but they had to make their decision on what they were looking for and what they wanted to do," Antony said. "We had some interest, and we expressed our interest and talked to him. He clearly got more money. I can tell you that much."
A reunion seemed to make sense for Santana, who is familiar with the Twins' coaching staff and lives in Fort Myers, but it did not pan out. Santana met with Baltimore reporters on Wednesday, and he said one of the main reasons he signed with the Orioles was because he wanted to pitch for a contender.
"It's unique when you're dealing with somebody who has accomplished a lot in the game like he has," Antony said. "But you just go with what you feel is comfortable and make an offer, and if it works, it works, and if it doesn't, it doesn't."
Antony added that the Twins viewed Santana as a starter but that he would not have been ready to pitch in the Majors until June. The Orioles had not decided on Wednesday whether Santana would be a starter or reliever this season.
"We viewed him as a guy who was going to spend a month getting in shape, treating April as a Spring Training, using May to pitch in some Minor League games and hopefully by June he'd be ready to pitch in the big leagues," Antony said. "We looked at him as a starter in a role he's comfortable in and has always done. So that's what we laid out to him."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.