By Dan Levine
Alex Anthopoulos has taken a step towards improving the Blue Jays for 2012 by dealing for closer Sergio Santhos:
“The club acquired right-hander Sergio Santos from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Nestor Molina.
The 28-year-old Santos posted a 4-5 record with a 3.55 ERA and 30 saves last season. Santos struck out 92 hitters in 63.1 innings last season allowing 41 hits and 29 walks.
Santos was third among American League relievers last season with 13.07 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.
Molina posted a 12-3 record with a 2.21 ERA between Dunedin and New Hampshire last season in 26 appearances (23 starts).
Santos recently signed a three-year contract extension that will see him earn $8.25 million total in the 2012-14 seasons. The deal includes club options for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons.”
As the National Post’s John Lott writes, it’s a trade that makes sense for both teams as they head in opposite directions:
“This is a classic Anthopoulos trade. He hooked a promising closer who is under contract control for six seasons while giving up a prospect from the club’s strongest asset base.
Reports out of the winter meetings Anthopoulos pressed White Sox counterpart Kenny Williams to part with Santos over a long series of phone calls. Initially, Williams had no intention of trading his closer, but he bit when Anthopoulos finally offered Molina.
“We are very happy we could acquire him. … I didn’t anticipate it would take Sergio to do it,” Williams told the Chicago Sun-Times.”
Molina is clearly a solid prospect to give up, but hey, you can’t get something for nothing. Bullpen help was a major need for Toronto heading into the offseason, and Santos comes at a MUCH cheaper price than most of the rumoured options. And from the sounds of it, Chicago was just as reluctant to make the deal.
The Toronto Star’s Richard Griffin likes the deal… sort of.
“In every conversation with the Jays this off-season, Molina’s name was mentioned along with Henderson Alvarez, Drew Hutchison and Deck McGuire as starters in waiting. The Jays as far as young starting pitchers are dealing from a position of strength. Santos is a good acquisition as long as he is not the promised one as the 2012 closer. ”
Oddly, that Griffin story has now gone missing, but you can read the cached version here.
Update: Griffin rewrote the story and removed any mention of the “promised one” in the new version. Weird.
He later tweeted that,
“Santos is indeed the closer for 2012. AA likes his upside and thinks that he can match anyone in 2012 they would have obtained elsewhere.”
Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi also tweeted the following:
“AA says a top prospect like Molina would only be dealt for a player with similar years of control. Santos-Molina 6-6.”
“Jays feel Santos will give them as much, if not more, than other closing options available. Over next 3 yrs, he’ll make less than Bell in 12”
“AA also says Frank Francisco has options elsewhere, and is now likely to leave. Jays would get a comp pick for him.”
What do you think of the deal, and who else are you hoping the Jays target this winter?