In the middle of the 2011 season, Sergio Santos received and extension from the Chicago White Sox. It was such a good deal that many thought the Sox were basically stealing form Santos. But when you are a late-20s converted infielder, you are going to take any amount of guaranteed money you get. Considering the extension, it was very surprising to see the White Sox move Santos to the Toronto Blue Jays for a couple of prospects. Entering the 2012 season, Santos was going to be the man in Toronto’s bullpen, but injuries happened. In 2013, though, Santos will still play a key part in Toronto’s success.
Santos may not be the closer anymore – thanks to the emergence of Casey Janssen – but he still has a chance to be Toronto’s most valuable pitcher coming out of the bullpen. Santos is the type of pitcher you turn to with a 2nd and 3rd, no outs situation, hoping that he can strike out three straight guys to get out of a jam.
Santos got out of plenty of those type of jams with the White Sox with his devastating slider. Santos’ slider was one of the best pitches in all of baseball in 2011, and his success is completely dependent on the pitch. Since Santos is dependent on the slider, the arm injury is definitely a cause for concern. We should know how good Santos can be early in the season by watching the way he can control his slider. If he has little control and break on the pitch, the Blue Jays will have to find another relief ace. However, if the 2011 version of Santos returns, the Blue Jays will have a shoulder to lean on to set up Janssen.
I’m willing to bet Sergio Santos isn’t going to fade into oblivion. He will be back.