Sergio Santos Rumors


Blue Jays Pursued Trades For Kinsler, Anderson

The Blue Jays almost finalized trades that would've seen them acquire Ian Kinsler from the Rangers and Brett Anderson from the Athletics earlier this winter, but both deals ended up as "near-misses," Sportsnet's Shi Davidi reports.

Kinsler, of course, was part of the offseason's biggest blockbuster to date, when he was traded to the Tigers in exchange for Prince Fielder and $30MM.  Before that deal occurred, however, the Jays' proposed swap for the second baseman fell through due to Kinsler's partial no-trade clause that allowed him to block deals to up to 10 teams.  It's unknown what the Jays would have given up for Kinsler, though I would guess it would've been on a much lesser scale than Fielder; it wouldn't have made much sense for Toronto create another hole in the lineup by dealing the likes of Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion.

The Jays had long been rumored to be suitors for Anderson and they discussed a trade with the A's that would've sent Sergio Santos to Oakland in return for the southpaw.  Anderson's extensive injury history, however, ended up dimming Toronto's interest and Anderson was instead traded to the Rockies in December.  Interestingly, the Jays also had Santos tabbed to go to the Rangers as part of a potential three-team deal in November that was scuttled when another player in the deal failed his physical.

Second base and the starting rotation were the Blue Jays' two biggest areas of need going into the offseason, so had these two would-be deals gone through, GM Alex Anthopoulos' winter shopping could have essentially been complete.  With January almost over, however, the Jays are still looking for rotation upgrades and a Ryan Goins/Maicer Izturis platoon is still penciled into the keystone position.



Trade Involving Blue Jays, Rangers Fell Through

The Rangers, Blue Jays, and an unknown third team agreed on a trade about two weeks ago that would have sent Sergio Santos to Texas, reports Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. However, according to the FOX duo, the agreement fell through when another player involved in the swap failed his physical (Twitter links).

It's not clear if Texas and Toronto will attempt to revisit the deal in another form, but as Morosi notes (via Twitter), the news suggests that the Rangers are still looking to bolster their bullpen. The Jays, on the other hand, seem very open to using their crop of relievers as trade bait to improve in other areas.

Santos, 30, has missed a good chunk of the last two season with injuries, but was excellent when he was healthy this past season, recording a 1.75 ERA and 9.8 K/9 in 29 appearances.



Blue Jays Claim Thad Weber

The Blue Jays have announced they have claimed right-hander Thad Weber off waivers from the Padres and assigned him to Triple-A Buffalo. To make room for Weber on the 40-man roster, the team transferred right-hander Sergio Santos to the 60-day disabled list.

Weber, who was designated for assignment on Friday, made three relief appearances for the Padres allowing two runs over nine innings while striking out six and walking five. The 28-year-old began the season in Triple-A posting a 3.93 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 1.0 BB/9, and 10.0 H/9 in six starts.

This is the second time in nine months Weber has been claimed through the waiver process, as the Padres plucked him from the Tigers last August. Per MLBTR's Transaction Tracker, this is the 12th waiver claim made by the most active waiver wire GM, Alex Anthopoulos, in 2013.



Blue Jays Notes: Bullpen, Izturis, Bonifacio

The Blue Jays have been one of the busiest teams this offseason, per MLBTR's Transaction Tracker. GM Alex Anthopoulos has traded a manager (John Farrell), hired his replacement (John Gibbons, his second stint in Toronto), acquired the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, Jose ReyesJosh JohnsonMark BuehrleEmilio Bonifacio, Josh Thole, Mike Nickeas, and Esmil Rogers while signing free agents Melky Cabrera, Maicer Izturis, Henry Blanco, and Mark DeRosa. Is there anything left for Anthopoulos to do before pitchers and catchers report to Dunedin on February 12? MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm answered that question and others when he opened his inbox recently.

  • The remaining moves the Blue Jays have left to make are minor league signings for organizational depth, writes Chisholm. 
  • The only real area of competition is the bullpen. Casey Janssen and Sergio Santos will battle to be the closer. Right-hander Jeremy Jeffress is a favorite to win a job, as he is out of options. Chisholm thinks Brandon Lyon would add a reliable veteran presence to the bullpen, but doesn't see the Blue Jays re-signing the right-hander because the team has reached its payroll limit.
  • It appears Izturis received some sort of promise from the organization he would be the starting second baseman before agreeing to his three-year, $10MM deal, according to Chisholm. Look for Bonifacio to be used in a super utility role even though, in Chisholm's view, he has more upside than Izturis and would bring another element of speed to the lineup.
  • Don't expect Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison, both recovering from Tommy John surgery, to make a major impact until 2014.
  • The Blue Jays' farm system has been weakened by the flurry of trades this offseason. Chisholm notes there's talent in the lower levels, which is at least three years away, but that isn't a concern for the Blue Jays because their core is tied up for a similar period at the big league level.    



AL East Notes: Yankees, Pimentel, Santos, Orioles

It was on this day in 1974 that the first real "free agent" signing in modern baseball history was made by (who else?) the Yankees when they inked Catfish Hunter to a five-year, $3.75MM deal.  Hunter was freed from his previous contract with the A's after an arbitrator ruled that the club has breached the terms of the right-hander's deal, thus paving the way for Hunter to sign with New York.  The deal was a record for its time, as Hunter was earning three times as much money as any other Major League player.

Here are some items from around the AL East...

  • The Yankees have learned several lessons in 2012 including Alex Rodriguez is less dependable than ever and their fiscal cliff is real, according to LoHud.com's Chad Jennings.
  • Right-hander Stolmy Pimentel was part of the trade package the Red Sox sent to the Pirates in the Joel Hanrahan deal.  WEEI.com's Alex Speier looks at Pimentel's career arc and wonders if his departure could signal a change in how the Sox value their prospects in terms of their trade value.
  • Sergio Santos spent almost all of the 2012 season on the DL but his ability to provide depth at closer will be a major factor in the Blue Jays' playoff drive in 2013, writes Richard Griffin of The Toronto Star.  Santos was expected to be the Jays' closer last year but Casey Janssen stepped into the job and performed well, making him the incumbent late-game choice heading into next season.  Griffin thinks Santos will be the choice to take over the job if he stays healthy, though I don't see the Jays making a switch unless Janssen struggles.  Just a reminder that you can keep track of all the closer news on MLBTR's sister Twitter feed @CloserNews.
  • If the Nationals re-sign first baseman Adam LaRoche but miss out on free agent southpaw J.P. Howell, MASNsports.com's Dan Kolko suggests that the Nats and Orioles could match up on a trade.  In Kolko's proposed deal, the O's would send one of their several left-handed relief options to Washington as part of a package in exchange for Michael Morse, who would be expendable for the Nats if LaRoche was back in the fold.
  • In other AL East news from earlier today, we learned the Rays are in the market for more relief pitching.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.



AL East Links: Ibanez, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox

Four years ago today, the Yankees traded a package headlined by Wilson Betemit to the White Sox for Nick Swisher. After helping New York to the 2009 World Series and three other playoff appearances, Swisher is now in line for a big multiyear contract as a free agent this winter. Here's the latest from the AL East...



Blue Jays Acquire Sergio Santos

The Blue Jays acquired reliever Sergio Santos from the White Sox for righty prospect Nestor Molina, announced the team.

Santos

In Santos, 28, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos found his closer on the trade market.  The converted infielder posted a 3.55 ERA, 13.1 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 0.85 HR/9, and 43% groundball rate in 63 1/3 innings for the White Sox this year, saving 30 games in 36 tries.  He was formerly a shortstop in Toronto's minor league system from 2006-08.  It was surprising to see Santos (pictured) dealt, as there had been no rumors and he signed a three-year, $8.25MM deal with the Sox in September.  The contract includes three club options, so the Blue Jays have cost certainty on Santos potentially through 2017.  For fantasy analysis of Toronto's Santos acquisition, check out Bryan Grosnick's post at CloserNews.    

Molina, 22, posted a 2.21 ERA, 10.2 K/9, 1.1 BB/9, and 0.6 HR/9 in 130 1/3 innings across High and Double-A this year.  Molina is a converted infielder himself, and appears close to MLB-ready.  Though Molina was not among the Blue Jays' top 30 prospects in Baseball America's handbook before the season, his stock presumably rose with his excellent 2011.  Molina is a good prospect who doesn't offer much projection, writes ESPN's Keith Law.  Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus agrees, saying "his stuff falls well below his statistics," and he projects as a #4 starter with a shot at becoming a #3.

"This is the start of a rebuilding," White Sox GM Kenny Williams told reporters today, noting that it is not "the start of falling domino rebuilding."  Santos himself was affordable, but perhaps Williams preferred a future rotation candidate in Molina.  A lot is riding on Molina after this surprising one-for-one swap.  Given Williams' rebuilding comment, look for plenty of rumors regarding John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Carlos Quentin, and others in the coming weeks, although the offers have disappointed Williams to date.  

Anthopoulos and Williams matched up once before, on the July deal that sent Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart to Chicago for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen.  

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.



White Sox, Sergio Santos Agree To Multiyear Deal

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.



Transactions History: Sergio Santos

When the Twins claimed a shortstop off of waivers on this date in 2008, they probably wouldn’t have guessed that Sergio Santos would go on to become a closer for their division rivals. Yet that’s exactly what’s happened since Minnesota claimed Santos from the Blue Jays three years ago. 

Santos, selected in the first round of the 2002 draft by the D’Backs as a shortstop, arrived in the Toronto organization late in 2005, when the Blue Jays sent Orlando Hudson and Miguel Batista to the D’Backs for Troy Glaus. The Twins then claimed Santos on May 16th, 2008, before he had ever pitched in a professional game. After Santos posted a .242/.279/.374 line in the minors, the Twins let the infielder go.

Later in the offseason the White Sox signed Santos and within months, he was on the move again. The White Sox traded Santos to San Francisco late in Spring Training on the condition that the Giants would find him an everyday job in Triple-A. Unable to provide Santos with a regular role, the Giants sent him back to Chicago less than two weeks later.

Once the 2009 season began, Santos began the transition to the mound, as Yahoo's Jef Passan explained last year. The right-hander posted an 8.16 ERA through 28 2/3 innings for four different White Sox affiliates and allowed 37 hits and 20 walks, while striking out 30. 

By 2010, Santos had graduated to Chicago's 'pen. He posted a 2.96 ERA in 51 2/3 innings with 9.8 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 as a rookie. Armed with a 95 mph fastball, Santos has posted similar numbers through 19 frames this year. He has yet to allow an earned run and he has 10.4 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 as Ozzie Guillen’s most effective reliever - almost certainly not what the Twins were envisioning when they claimed the former shortstop off of waivers on this date in ’08.



Odds & Ends: Loe, Baldelli, Vizquel, Hill

Links for Tuesday, as catcher Chris Iannetta rejoins the Rockies after a torrid Triple A stint...









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