Three years ago, Sergio Santos was a shortstop prospect going nowhere. Now an integral part of Chicago’s bullpen, the right-hander has agreed to sign a three-year, $8.25MM deal with the White Sox, according to the team. The contract includes three guaranteed years (2012-14) and three option years for the White Sox (2015-17).
Santos, a 2002 first round pick, emerged as Chicago's closer this year. He saved 30 games and posted a 3.55 ERA with 13.1 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 63 1/3 innings. Since he didn't start pitching professionally until he joined the White Sox organization in 2009, they're intimately familiar with his arm history.
Santos obtains $1MM in 2012, $2.75MM in 2013 and $3.75MM in 2014. The White Sox have a $6MM option for 2015, an $8MM option for 2016 and an $8.75MM option for 2017 (they will have to pay $750K to decline any of the option years). The guaranteed portion of the deal buys out one pre-arbitration season and two arbitration seasons.
The deal, which appears to be modeled on the one Joakim Soria signed with the Royals in 2008, includes club options for two of Santos' free agent years. The White Sox also limit Santos' arbitration earning power by locking him up now. Yet it's not hard to see why Santos, a converted shortstop who didn't have a job after the Twins released him three offseasons ago, accepted the offer. The Paragon Sports International client gets security in the deal instead of going year to year through the arbitration process.