Sergio Santos Rumors

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


Odds & Ends: Beimel, Cust, Dukes, Santos

Saturday links..


Odds & Ends: Dodgers, Giants, Lo Duca, Stults

Tuesday night linkage..


Cafardo’s Latest: Fielder, Pedro, Gagne, Santos

In his latest column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe ranks baseball's managers, from first (Bobby Cox) to 30th (rookie skipper Brad Mills). He also shares a few hot stove notes:

  • Contracts like the eight-year pacts signed by Mark Teixeira and Joe Mauer may indicate what it'll take for the Brewers to lock up Prince Fielder long-term. Milwaukee "would like to seal the deal right now," avoiding the drama that will only increase as Fielder approaches free agency.
  • Cafardo wonders if Pedro Martinez could end up pitching for the Dodgers at some point this season.
  • Alex Gonzalez said "forget it" this winter when the Red Sox asked him to wait until they had dealt with Jason Bay. Gonzalez adds: "I was going to get a starting job, and in this market, I'm glad I didn't wait."
  • Eric Gagne believes he can still succeed at the big league level, but he may have trouble catching on anywhere this late in the spring.
  • Sergio Santos would have plenty of teams interested in him if he doesn't break camp with the White Sox. Santos, a former first-round pick as a shortstop, is out of options and competing for a spot in Chicago's bullpen.

Olney On Santos, Trades, Sheffield

In today's blog post at ESPN.com, Buster Olney writes about White Sox pitcher Sergio Santos, who made the transition from being a flamed-out shortstop prospect to a hard throwing relief candidate. Santos was part of the Troy Glaus-Orlando Hudson swap back in 2005, but moved to the mound in 2008 after hitting .226/.268/.332 in over 1,500 Triple-A plate appearances. Santos is out of options, so he'll have to clear waivers to be sent to the minors. 

Here's some other hot stove topics Olney touched on…

  • Some baseball people said that conversations leading to trades haven't really started yet. "I'd say that'll happen in another week or so, like clockwork," said one scout. "Everybody wants to get a sense of their own team and their own needs, and who they're going to move, before they start talking trade."
  • Gary Sheffield did not want to settle for a pinch-hitting role, and the feeling was that he did not want to be sent to the minors. Olney doesn't think it would be a surprise if he waited until mid-season to sign, Pedro Martinez-style, but it also wouldn't be a surprise if he never played again.