Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:49 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 1:52 pm
By Matt Snyder
DALLAS -- The Blue Jays have acquired closer Sergio Santos from the White Sox for minor-league pitcher Nestor Molina. An announcement was made in the media room at the MLB Winter Meetings.
Santos will be the Blue Jays' closer for the 2012 season. The 28-year-old right-hander had 30 saves in 36 chances for the White Sox in 2011. He had a 3.55 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and a whopping 92 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings. Santos is signed for less than $3 million per season through 2014, so he's a very affordable back-end option for the Jays.
The back-end of the bullpen was a major weakness for the 81-81 Jays, who blew 25 saves. Only the Astros had a worse save percentage than the Blue Jays' paltry 57 percent figure in all of baseball.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopolous told reporters in the media room that Santos is definitely the 2012 closer and that they loved having team control for up to six years (Santos has three club options at the end of his current deal).
As for the White Sox, this could definitely be the first move in a bit of a firesale. Santos has a very team-friendly contract, so moving him for a prospect would seem to be part of something bigger. The White Sox have lots of payroll locked up in aging veterans and one of the worst minor-league systems in baseball. Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Carlos Quentin have been reportedly on the trade block, so this is certainly something to watch as the meetings progress.
Molina, 22, was 10-3 with a 2.58 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 115 strikeouts in 108 1/3 innings in High-A last season. He was then promoted to Double-A, where he was utterly dominant in five starts. He went 2-0 with a 0.41 ERA, 0.64 WHIP and 33 strikeouts against just two walks in 22 innings. Anthopolous said there was a lot of "heated debate" among club officials whether or not to part with Molina, but that getting Santos in return was worth the price.
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