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O's sign J. Santana; Ravens don't tag Monroe

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The Baltimore Orioles signed veteran pitcher Johan Santana to a minor league contract.

The early reports on Santana's battle back from surgery haven't been good, with his fastball topping out in the low 80's, but it's too soon in the rehab process to judge him.

This is exactly the type of move I love to see from the Orioles. Santana is a low-risk, high-reward signing that just adds more depth to the pitching staff. He's also the type of veteran who can give advice to the younger pitchers and potentially be a guy to lean on in a pennant race or the postseason.

Even if he doesn't ever make it back to his old self, it's no loss. If he finds his old stuff, Santana could make an impact in the starting rotation or bullpen, and he could also potentially bring the O's a compensatory pick if he generates interest from other clubs on the free agent market after the 2014 season.

Meanwhile, the deadline to apply the franchise tag came and went and the Baltimore Ravens elected not to use it, meaning left tackle Eugene Monroe is set to become a free agent.

It seems that the Ravens are still not close to a contract extension with Monroe, who seemed to be happy to make Baltimore a permanent stop but suddenly realized the value of solid left tackles on the free agent market.

It's likely his last chance to get a significant, long-term contract and he and his agents seem intent on making the most of it.

At the same time, his wife is from the area and he seemed to enjoy finally playing for a competitive football team and one of the league's best organizations. Even during the season, Monroe made it clear how much he enjoyed his time with Baltimore and felt like it could be a long-term spot for him.

The Ravens are being smart by not tagging Monroe and not giving in to his high demands. He is a very solid player, but he isn't an elite left tackle. This isn't Jonathan Ogden, and the Ravens won't pay him as such.

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