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Template:Infobox MLB player Johan Alexander Santana Araque born March 13, 1979) is a Major League Baseball left-handed starting pitcher who plays for the New York Mets after being traded from the Minnesota Twins in February 2008. He has signed a six year contract that guarantees him $137.5 million through 2013 with a team option for 2014 that would bring the value of the contract to $150.75 million. This contract is the largest in baseball history for a pitcher.
Santana was born in Tovar, Mérida State, Venezuela and is the second of five children. As children, his brother Franklin, now a lawyer, was a more skilled player according to his father, Jesús. Johan attended Liceo Jose Nucete Sardi High School, where he played center field. He and his wife, Yasmile, whom he has known since he was 9 years old, have two daughters, Jasmily and Jasmine.
In the offseason, Santana is an active member of his hometown community. In 2006 he started The Johan Santana Foundation to provide assistance to hospitals and bought new gloves and bats for children in surrounding areas. Also in 2006, Santana, as well as the Minnesota Twins, purchased a yellow firetruck for Tovar's fire department. Santana has held a party the past two offseasons called El Cy Youngazo (the Great Cy Young) which includes a toy drive, musical groups, and beer from Santana's sponsor, Regional.  Proceeds from Johan's charity wine, Santana's Select, also support his foundation in entirety.
Santana was discovered in 1994 by Andrés Reiner, a scout who was working for the Houston Astros at the time. He signed Santana and sent him to his academy in Guacara in January of 1995. Santana did not like it and almost left but Reiner convinced him to stay. While originally a center fielder, Santana was converted to a pitcher at the academy due to his arm speed. In 1999 he was named the Tovar Mérida Athlete of the Year. After the 1999 major league season, he was left unprotected by the Houston Astros and eligible in the Rule 5 draft. The Twins had the first pick that year, the Marlins the second. The Twins made a deal with the Marlins: the Twins would draft Jared Camp with their first pick and the Marlins would draft Santana. The teams would exchange the two players with the Twins receiving $500,000 to cover their pick.
Santana made his Major League debut with the Twins on April 3, 2000, coming from the bullpen vs. Tampa Bay. He made his first MLB start on April 7, 2000, at Kansas City and recorded his first Major League win in a relief appearance at Houston on June 6. He put up a 6.49 ERA in 86 innings pitched in 2000, his rookie year.
In 2002, the Twins sent Santana to the minors for 2 months to work almost exclusively on perfecting his changeup. He did this for 10 starts and came back up to the majors with a terrific changeup to complement his very good fastball. While in the minors, pitching coach Bobby Cuellar made Santana throw at least one changeup to every batter. According to Cuellar, Santana would sometimes throw 20 in a row during games.
Santana is tough on both right-handed and left-handed hitters. He works quickly and throws a 91-95 mph fastball, a hard slider (which he has developed into a slurve), and a tailing changeup that is considered one of best changeups in baseball. Some announcers refer to the changeup as a "Bugs Bunny" changeup. His pitches are too close to take, but difficult to drive, causing batters to lunge after balls that are down and out of the strike zone.Template:Fix He consistently works to eliminate the difference in his throwing motions, making it very difficult for opposing batters to guess which pitch he's throwing. Santana also has very good control, as evidenced by his 52 walks in 219 innings in 2007. Santana was used as a long reliever early in his career after finding little success as a starter. In 2003, Santana transitioned from relief to the Twins' starting rotation after spending the first four months of the season in the bullpen. He won his last eight decisions and pitched the ALDS opening game against the Yankees.
In Template:By, Santana enjoyed one of the great second halves of modern times. He became the first pitcher since 1961 to give up four or fewer hits in ten straight starts, and his 13-0 record broke the old Major League second-half mark shared between Burt Hooton and Rick Sutcliffe.
Santana's other second-half numbers were equally impressive: 11.13 strikeouts per nine innings, 1.21 ERA, 4.74 hits per nine innings, and 6.73 baserunners per nine innings. In addition, Santana set a team season record with 265 strikeouts, surpassing the old 258 mark registered by Bert Blyleven in 1973.
Santana finished in good form with a 20-6 record and led the American League in strikeouts (265), ERA (2.61), strikeouts per nine innings pitched (10.46), WHIP (0.92), batting average allowed (.192), OBP (.249), SLG (.315), and OPS (.564) and walked only 54 batters in 228 innings. Opponents stole just six bases in seven attempts against him, and his 20 victories ranked him second behind only Curt Schilling, who won 21 games for the Red Sox. He easily won the AL Cy Young Award over Schilling with all 28 first-place votes.
Santana struggled in his first outing of 2005, giving up four runs in the first inning, but quickly regained his composure and returned to Cy Young-winning form in an 8-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners. In his second game, he rocked the Chicago White Sox with 11 strikeouts as the Twins won 5-2. Following a brief slump in May 2005, Santana worked on improving his pitching form and was immediately rewarded with a seven-inning, two-run outing against the Toronto Blue Jays, which the Twins won 7-2. Santana finished with an ERA of 2.87, second lowest in the American League behind Indians pitcher Kevin Millwood (2.86). However, the weak Twins club of the 2005 season cost him several otherwise-winnable games, and his winning percentage fell considerably in his second full year as a starter. He threw 238 strikeouts during the season, leading the majors. He finished third in the Cy Young voting, finishing behind winner Bartolo Colón of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera.
Santana won the Major League Pitching Triple Crown, the first player to do so since Dwight Gooden in Template:By. He completed the season leading the majors in ERA (2.77) and strikeouts (245), and tied Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang in wins (19). He is the first pitcher to win the triple crown with fewer than 20 wins, and the first to win the MLB triple crown with an ERA above 2.60.
Santana also led the American League in WHIP (1.0), opposing batting average (.216), and innings pitched (233.6). He continued to add to his reputation as a great second-half pitcher, losing only one game after the All-Star break while winning 10 and posting a 2.54 ERA. A brief slump cost him the opportunity to make his 20th win of the season. No pitcher in Major League Baseball won 20 games in the 2006 season, the first time in modern major league history this occurred.
Santana won his second Cy Young Award in 2006, becoming the 14th player in MLB history to win the award multiple times. He is the fifth pitcher to win the award by a unanimous vote twice, joining Roger Clemens, Pedro Martínez, and Greg Maddux; Sandy Koufax accomplished the feat three times.
From 2004-2006, Santana has led the league in strikeouts all three years, in ERA twice, and has also led in several other key statistical areas. In that three-year span, he has compiled a 55-19 record with an ERA of 2.75 and WHIP of 0.96, while striking out 748 batters.
After a slow start, with his record falling to 6-6 at one point, Johan jump-started his season with a four-hit shutout, followed by two wins. On July 1, Template:By, Santana was named as a member of the 2007 MLB All-Star Game, his third straight appearance.
On June 19, 2007, on the team bus to a game at Shea Stadium, Bert Blyleven said he would have his head shaved if that night's starting pitcher, Johan, threw a complete-game shutout. The Twins won, 9-0, and Santana went the distance. Santana shaved Blyleven's head the following day.
Santana had perhaps his best career game on August 19th against the Texas Rangers in which he struck out 17 batters over eight innings. He walked none and allowed only two hits, both to Sammy Sosa. His 17 strikeouts set a Twins club record for strikeouts in a game.
While Santana did not have a bad season, he led the major leagues in home runs allowed (33) and had the most losses of his career (13). Santana finished the season with only 15 wins, his lowest total since 2003, though he led the American League in WHIP, was 2nd in strikeouts with 235, and 7th in ERA. On the last game of the season, a rain delay in Detroit that lasted over an hour caused Santana to pitch only three innings, ending a 123-start streak where he pitched five innings or more, which was the third longest in the past half century.
Template:WikinewsparDuring the offseason the Twins wanted to trade Santana due to only a year remaining on his contract. The favorites to snag Santana were the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, with the New York Mets being longshots of getting him. The Red Sox were offering Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester, but not in a package together, while the Yankees on the other hand were offering Philip Hughes and Melky Cabrera and/or possibly Ian Kennedy. Despite many rumors of the Red Sox being favorites a deal never happened. The Yankees also were close to a deal but Hank Steinbrenner had said the Yankees pulled out. A deal finally happened on January 29, 2008 when the Twins agreed to trade Santana to the less likely out of the three, the New York Mets, for OF Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey, who are all Mets minor league prospects.  After agreeing to the trade the Mets were given a 72 hour negotiating window in which to work out a contract extension with Santana. On February 1, 2008, after negotiations that took the entire 72 hour window plus an additional two hours, the Mets gave Santana a new six year, $137.5 million contract, with an option for 2014.  The trade became official when Santana passed his physical with the Mets on February 2, 2008.  It is the largest contract for a pitcher, fourth largest contract, and second highest salary per year among multi-year contracts.
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- All-Star (2005-2007)
- American League Cy Young Award winner (2004 and 2006, both unanimous selections)
- American League Gold Glove Award winner (2007)
- Led American League in winning percentage in 2003, finishing the season at 12-3 (.800)
- Top 10 Cy Young Award (7th, Template:By; Winner, Template:By; 3rd, Template:By; Winner, Template:By; 5th, Template:By)
- Top 10 MVP Award (7th, 2006)
- Won the Triple Crown as the leader in wins (19), strikeouts (245), and ERA (2.77) in 2006
- Fanned former teammate David Ortiz for his 1,000th career strikeout (June 13, 2006).
- Set a Minnesota Twins record with 17 strikeouts over eight innings against the Rangers.(August 19, 2007)
- List of players from Venezuela in Major League Baseball
- Triple Crown
- List of Major League Baseball ERA champions
- List of Major League Baseball strikeout champions
- List of Major League Baseball wins champions
- ^ The Official Site of The New York Mets: News: New York Mets News
- ^ Santana’s Hometown Awaits His Next Move - New York Times
- ^ Scout Listens to His Instincts, Not to His Boss, and Uncovers a Star - New York Times
- ^ Many Twists & Turns In Johan'S Journey - New York Post
- ^ 
- ^ Rittenberg, Adam. "Santana's Over-the-Top Delivery", Washingtonpost.com, September 4, 2004.
- ^ New York Mets @ Florida Marlins, Sun Sports telecast, 2008-03-31
- ^ ESPN - Johan Santana Stats, News, Photos - New York Mets - MLB Baseball
- ^ Jordan Bastian. "AL Gold Gloves show changing of guard", MLB.com, November 6, 2007.
- ^ Talks start as Mets try to nail down Santana - USATODAY.com
- ^ The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: Major League Baseball News
- ^ The Official Site of The New York Mets: News: New York Mets News
- ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/m?id=3226412