Jon Morosi of Fox Sports tweets that the Jays have traded Nestor Molina– a prospect who we’d just started hearing some serious good about– to the Chicago White Sox for ex-Blue Jay Sergio Santos.

Santos, of course, is– funnily enough, like Molina– a converted shortstop. He played there back when he was acquired by the Jays from Arizona in the Troy Glaus deal years ago, but has turned himself into a quality reliever for the White Sox– saving 30 games in 2011, and putting up a 2.97 FIP during his two year big league career.

He’s a little walky– over 4 BB/9 in his career– but strikes ‘em out too, at a 11.58 K/9 rate in his two seasons.

He’s your closer, folks. And he’s a pretty good one– and on a ridiculously good contract. Santos was extended in early October, signing a three year deal for $8.25-million (that’s total, not per year), with three team options following that, covering 2015-17 for $6-, $8-, and $8.75-million.

If he stays healthy and performs like 2011, that’s a hell of a deal– especially compared to the going rate for free agent closers. And for the price of… well… what, exactly?

We were just getting fucking all hyped about Molina, yes, but I get the feeling this is going to be a bit like the Zach Stewart situation, where the warts on Nestor Molina as a prospect are going to come a lot more into focus now that he’s gone.

Molina supposedly has a bit of a violent delivery, and doesn’t grade spectacularly well on actual stuff. He had fantastic results in 2011, especially in a brief promotion to double-A, which is what put him ahead of guys like Noah Syndergaard and Drew Hutchison on John Sickels’ recent ranking of the Jays’ system, but you get the sense that maybe this is a real sell-high situation for Anthopoulos. At the very least, the reports on Molina are mixed. As excited as we were for the good ones while he was part of the future, as he exits, we’re all probably ready to give a little more weight to the bad. It’s the nature of fandom.

“Prospect porn to the nth degree,” as Mr. Fairservice says at the desk beside me.

I mean, yes, Molina was superb at double-A last season, but we’re talking about only a month– he spent most of 2011 in A-ball. Santos, 28-years-old, has been excellent in the Majors for two seasons. The Majors. Add in the contract, and unless Molina hits the high, high end of what some people have been saying about him– and that’s a possibility, I’ll grant, though evidently the Jays and their army of scouts doubt it– this can’t not be a win.

The silent motherfucking assassin.

Comments (192)

  1. drabek for santos?  if anything this trade reinforces the jays belief that drabek will be a star.  i dont like giving up a top 5 arm in our systems for an iffy closer especially since im of the opinion that only 90 win teams need a closer but there is no way the centerpiece of the halladay deal is getting moved a year later for sergio santos.  as much as nestor for santos bothers me, id rather whack off with a cheese grater than swap drabek for santos.

  2. Dick Griffin says Santos should be the set-up man.

  3. That’s the part of the deal, I like. The indication that they may be committed to moving their prospects for contributing major league players

    Ya. Coulda swore I heard the GM say that somewhere, once, twice, twelve times.

  4. Ballsy move by AA. One thing that is getting lost is that while Santos has a tad high BB rate, he’s also still learning to pitch. The fact that he’s already had success at the MLB level, there still might be more upside within him on reasonable terms. While losing Molina is like having a new toy taken away right after taking the wrapping off, I’m sure folks will forget about him in 1-2 yrs time. How many are still pining for Zach Stewart to be part of the Jays’ rotation? Yeah, not that many….

  5. Doubt it, sounds like Jenks and only Jenks.

  6. I dunno, Morrow is one of the few SP´s who can K 12 and still lose a fucking game. That takes skill alright.

  7. Great trade for AA, get a guy who’s much more proven and under control for the same  number of years as Molina and he won’t cost a lot till he’s proven he’s worth that much.

    Shadow assist to John Sickels for quite possibly ranking the Jays 4th or 5th best pitching prospect first.

  8. pwned.

  9. The problem with “Can’t miss prospects” is that they can and do miss.  A whole hell of a lot.

  10. Even IF Cecil is only better by 1 win this year, there’s no Jojo Reyes or Brad Mills.

  11. Would have been nice if they could have snagged Thorton or Sale in addition to Santos. Left hander out of the pen still a bit of a black hole. Then again Sale is probably going to start scratch him off would be too expensive.

  12. anyone moping over losing (another) Molina has no right to then bitch for competitiveness.  

  13. gee didn’t we trade league for morrow because a starter has more value than a reliever?
    now we are doing the reverse? how is this a silent assassin win? you could have just signed cordero and kept molina. wtf?

    santos was not dominant. he blew 6 saves 20%. you also assume he continues to be good.  if anything this is a wash trade. why not trade for these guys before they have a breakout year?

    alex must feel like he’s running out of roster spots and must move his minor leaguers before they become rule 5′ers

  14. 92 Ks in 63 1/3 innings, what a fucking beast.

    I’m excited to get a great reliever, this is what teams with great farm depth should do.

  15. I think this is a good trade.  Why wait to find out if a guy can pitch in the majors or not, when you can get a guy who can pitch in the majors. Sounds like a win to me.. oh and ya Nestor Molina being the top pitching prospect… please the Jays have more where that came from.

  16. Roy Z you rotten cunt. Santos is R handed.

  17. Just thinking about that again Jeff…I remember a spring training game against the Yankees last year. Reyes was pitching and he dominated. I guarantee the Yankees sucked the Jays in to the extent he lasted probably 1 more month in the regular season because of it.

  18. Santos better be our fucking 2Bman too. Trading a top 10 prospect for a reliever. It’s ballsy, but has a high chance to be stupid in hindsight. Now please, stop dealing with the ChiSox before you completely build thei rotation, AA.

  19. But Morrow already pitched in the Majors and had proven he could pitch against MLB batters. Molina is still only in AA, though some say he could potentially pitch in 2012. It’s a different situation. League can’t even touch Santos’ numbers, at least his K rate.  You gotta also look at the extremely team friendly contract. 8.75MIL for the 3 years. That’s less than 3MIL/year. We’re getting Santos’ 3 years of service for the less than 1 year of Bell. That is an absolute bargain. Arguably a better pitch at that.

    It’s hard to predict whose going to have a break out year.

  20. Yeah but we still keep getting sucked in….the BS has slowed over Hech because his bat isnt coming around, but Gose is still THE BEST PROSPECT in the entire universe.

  21. The way I see it, the Jays just saved 2 years of development on Molina.
    Sure there’s risk in that Molina might turn out to be more valuable than santos down the road, but isn’t that the whole point of having a deep minor league system? We cant possibly have all of these guys on the big league club, so some of them are going to have to be moved for established players. 
    And really…a month ago we all would have thought this was an absolute steal for the Jays. It wasn’t until Molina got a couple of glowing reviews recently that we started thinking so highly of him. 
    Best of luck to molina, but Santos is a better fit for what we’re trying to do now.

  22. Seriously?  Christ.

  23. you’re not trading for a reliever.  you’re trading for a 6 year controllable reliever who is 10 multiples below the street price for a reliever.  It isn’t as simple and straightforward as most of you seem to assume.  what if that 10M/year extra that Papplebon would have cost is the difference in signing an A free agent?  is trading a top 10 prospect for a reliever still stupid then?

  24. Well he’s not a “proven” closer. Dickie Griffin’s just doing the once bitten (B.J. Ryan) twice shy routine. He’s only been a “proven” closer for one year.

  25. Wow, so *that’s* why all of a sudden it was all Nestor Molina all the time!

  26. Seems like a fair deal to me.  Maybe Molina has a potentially higher upside than Santos, but he also might not pan out at all.

  27. LOL at you trying to reason with Mud Pie.

  28. Didn´t AA say recently that he wanted to get a closer and then get the fuck outta dodge ? (or something to that effect ?)..  should we really expect much more ??

  29. The one issue is that the Jays could have conceivably have signed a closer like Francisco, KRod, or
    Cordero (guys would have given you more or less the same production as
    Santos) and moved Molina in a different deal for a more valuable player.

    If they don’t use the money that they’re saving on another guy this offseason…it will come off looking pretty cheap of them. Guess we’ll have to wait and see, though.

  30. I think really, what most of us were hoping is that somehow AA would find a way to trade for  closer by re-dealing Octavio Dotel, Corey Patterson, and Marc Rzepczynski. I still just love hearing the sound of that.

  31. santos was a nobody last year, now he’s a proven closer?  you could do the same thing with carreno. He was dominant last year.  If you made him the closer he might have the same numbers.  At some point you have to take a risk and throw a rookie into the closer position like chicago did and see what happens.

    yes prospects are risks, but they are also risks of being dominant.  I remember halladay wasn’t that great 10 years ago when he was struggling.  If they had traded him it would have been a disaster.

  32. …And you know Nestor Molina is going to become a starting pitcher how? Must be that ESP that allows you to come up with your many other gems and pearls of wisdom.

  33. a nobody?? so you’re confident in throwing Molina out in the 9th and certain that he gets 30 saves and 12k/9??

  34. …That is an MLB starting pitcher.

  35. Wow, some of the comments above are eerily similar to the reaction when The Great Brett Wallace was traded away, and we all know how he turned out. This time, we traded a prospect for major leaguer though. I’m willing to reserve judgement for now.

    Isabella is right about the Molina advertising over the past few weeks. It had a covert purpose.

  36. Love this trade mainly because there isn’t a whole lot of wear and tear on Santos’ arm. As I’m sure most of you know, he was a shortstop when he got drafted by the DBacks and it wasn’t until the Jays put him on waivers that he became a pitcher in the Sox organization. I understand that Santos could be a one year wonder with the closer role, but I’m willing to drink that Kool-aid right now…

  37. Right. What would a former catcher and coach of the year know about pitching!

  38. I think people are over valuing Molina here. I know Sickles really likes him, but Baseball America and KLaw aren’t nearly as impressed. Basically, he was found money for the organization. They transformed him into found money from another organization. I think this is a good deal for both teams. It’s not like the Jays have a shortage of quality starting pitching prospects, and I would guess, that Molina isn’t one of the ones that the organization was the highest on. Remember, there’s only five spots. The Jays moved a question mark for a known quantity on a good contract. That’s a good deal in my opinion, regardless of how you happen to value high leverage relievers.

  39. He is already a starting pitcher dumbass

  40. You’re really a fucking robot.  I’d hate to see you in a mall on Black Friday.

  41. Santos is a poor man’s Kenley Jansen. Coming into the year everyone knew he had closer stuff, but the question was whether the incumbant would keep their job.
    Jansen is far more terrifying -i think he set a record for k/9 – but lost the job due to inconsistency. Santos, outside of two shitty outings around the all star break, was basically invincible from what i remember.

  42. I’m confident that a closer doesn’t really matter when you have no 3 4 or 5 starters.  I’m also confident that carreno, molina + whatever free agent could have done a similar job.  How much confidence did chicago have last year with santos?  He had no proven track record either.

  43. I wish prince would sign already so everyone can shut up about it. Two names come to mind when I think of prince, mo vaugn and Albert bell. We do not want prince. The jays have a budget and if you blow it this year you won’t have alot to spend next year when alot of the big name FA pitchers will be on the market.

    ’12 is going to be a figuring out year not a competing year nor is it a rebuilding year. This is a good trade short term and long term. Beyond a second baseman I hope the jays stand gillick and watch the market develop.

  44. What’s the problem? The Jays do fine on this deal on pure value, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t alternatives that were better than moving a top prospect away (provided Rogers was willing to spend money). If they’re using their saved money on something else, something more valuable, I’ll take that back.

    Also, I’d never shop on Black Friday. Not worth it.

  45. Did you just use SV% as a measurement to ascertain whether or not a RP is dominant. The dude is overpowering (avg: 95-96 MPH fastball, 87-88 MPH “changeup”, and an 85-86 MPH slider) and had a phenomenal 13.1 K/9 rate last year. He only just became a pitcher, so he probably has plenty of bullets left, and despite being 28 could still have the upside that AA loves to collect.

  46. you are dumb

  47. You are dumb

  48. Hey so we gave up an IFA for a proven closer, big deal it did not cost us any of our draft picks and they both are under club control for 6 years, this deal is a wash over long term and a win in the short term for the Jays,
    Potential Bullpen
    Charlie V
    Luis Perez
    Frankie(if accepts arb)

    Thats pretty complete, if only they could have included Beckham if/when KJ declines arb.

    Now the focus shifts to Japan, and possibly for King Alex to find his Prince…..

  49. I think it’s pretty fair and the organization clearly came to the conclusion that Molina’s minor league numbers don’t match his major league potential.  

  50. You are dumb

  51. You are dumb

  52. I don’t love it as much as some people,  and I don’t hate it as much as some people. In his career, Nestor Molina has gone over 5 innings 5 times, and only once over 6 innings.…, if Nestor makes it as a starting pitcher in the majors, there is a lot to dislike about this, but Santos has established himself as a pretty dominant pitcher. 

    As much as Sickels loves Molina, he wasn’t anywhere to be found on his list the year before, even as an honorable mention. 

  53. Sure, but that has nothing to do with my point about alternatives.

  54. Actually if you use Mo and Albert as the examples it works out ok.  If Prince puts up the same numbers as Mo for the same ages you’d get pretty close to full value on a 7 yr, 140-150 million dollar contract. 

    Joeys numbers may not have worked out but since it was a degenerative hip condition, the Orioles actually got most of that money back through their insurance policy on the contract.

    I’d also argue you’re much more likely to get value out of a long term contract to a hitter for the most part than a pitcher.

  55. This is true.  There are a lot of pitchers with really strong minor league stats, who become pretty mediocre as big leaguers.  Molina’s lack of dominant stuff probably led the Jays to conclude he’d likely be one of those.

  56. Robert Ray’s already gone.

    But no. No, they weren’t gonna take Ray for Santos. 

  57. Santos used to be a Jays, maybe the Jays should turn more of its position players into pitchers and trade them when their value is high

  58. They’re certainly saving money this way as opposed to paying the likes of Cordero and Francisco (which pisses you right the fuck off, I’m sure), and Santos is the better pitcher.  This is probably adequate trade value for Molina right now.

  59. Pitchers roles change dumbass.

  60. Keith Law analysis of the deal just posted (insider only):

  61. How many complaining have ever seen Molina pitch? It’s easy to call someone a lock for super stardome “on paper”.

    Seems to me you’re getting a somewhat capable major league pitcher for an unproven major league prospect. Even if Molina turns out to be good, it’s not like he’s our only prospect.

    AA’s moved an egg for one that’s recently hatched. It’s far too early to see how either will turn out.

  62. Richard Griffin: “Santos is a good acquisition as long as he is not the promised one as the 2012 closer.”  [sic]

  63. Couple of interesting points on the trade from FanGraphs

    “If he stays a starter, Molina will only need to be worth about as much as Paul Maholm
    has been worth over the last six years (13.2 WAR) in order to surpass
    Santos’ absolute value. Paul Maholm never had a minor league K/BB rate
    like Molina’s and was never a top-two prospect for the Pirates, but it’s
    still possible that Molina as a starter doesn’t achieve those heights.”

    “One last point about the trade itself. As good as Santos’ contract
    seems, $30 million over six years would only provide great surplus value
    if he continues to average 1.6 WAR per season for the next six years.
    He’s only 28 years old, but the fact remains that only four closers — J.J. Putz, Matt Thornton, Mariano Rivera and Jonathan Papelbon — have averaged 1.6+ WAR over the past six years. Francisco Rodriguez, Joe Nathan, Rafael Betancourt and Jonathan Broxton have all managed over 1.5 WAR, and with Santos’ strikeout rate he could join the group. “

  64. Everything about that story sounded like Bobby Jenks. To me at least.

  65. I never said it wasn’t adequate value. In fact, I already said the Jays are doing fine in that area. I just hope they use the money they’re saving on a more valuable player rather than pocketing it.

  66. WTF? where do these guys come up with this shit? lol

  67. So there’s no chance Fasano was doing a little over-hyping at the behest of his GM? Molina pitched in AA for a month. He might’ve made the Jays in 2012, but probably as a reliever. Would you have had him close games?

    If you’ve seen Santos pitch anytime the past 2 years, you know he has absolutely filthy stuff. If you haven’t seen him, he’ll be a revelation after watching Rausch pretending to be a closer in the AL East without an out-pitch.

  68. it’s the booze talking, methinks.

    edit: they took that blog post down. i’m guessing that griffin didn’t know how good santos has been, and that he has a higher k/9 than any of the idiots he’s been talking up. i don’t think he actually follows the mlb that closely, if he wasn’t aware of santos. either that or he’s totally hammered right now. ha.

  69. Holy shit boys – how many times are you going to repeat “Since we have a closer this obviously means the Jays are going for it!” ?

    AA has made it clear from day one of the offseason that he prioritizes a closer and then a second baseman. He got a closer, one that’s under control for 5 fucking seasons and you guys are gullible enough to think they have to go for it right now? 

  70. ricky ricky ricky, you’re a knucklehead….ohhhhh ricky ricky ricky

  71. Funny

  72. Theres no reason the Jays can’t still go out and get one of Francisco, KRod or Cordero. I think that would be a pretty good idea too, depending on the contract.
    Heck, they brought in 3 FA relievers last year. I dont think we should assume that now that we have Santos, they are done looking for bullpen help.

  73. How does anyone think you could get more in a trade for Molina?   What logically is the best MLB player you could get for him?  The other GM would hang up on you if Molina is the centerpiece of an offer for a David Wright or Felix Hernandez.  At best, you could get a Kyle Lohse type of SP , maybe a disappointing top prospect (Beckham, Wood, maybe P. Alvarez) or a good player with a lousy contract. To get someone of real value (#1/#2 SP or very good player), Molina is probably the 3rd prospect in the deal

  74. Provided they are on cheap contracts, sure. But I’d prefer to spend that money on 1B, 2B, and SP improvements now.

  75. can’t expect every trade AA makes to be spare parts for diamonds in the rough

    not like the chisox are going anywhere anyway…

  76. Fuck u gimme 2 cigarettes right now for being so fuckin stupid.

  77. My point is relievers are overvalued waaaay too much. Sure, Santos under team control for 6 years, but you know what you’re getting out of him: 60 innings. At worst, Molina will be a 60 inning guy, but he has a strong chance to be a #2 starter also, where there’s far more value.

    Maybe the fan in me is overvaluing Molina a bit, but there should have been better ways of working out a deal if Chicago is wanting to rebuild, as it appears.

  78. as long as this is his walk on music, I am satisfied with this trade…

  79. We are talkin playoffs baby, keep it up AA. gotta have it while Jose is here.

  80. But we only believed Molina has a ‘strong chance to be a #2 starter’ because of one great year in the minors. Violent delivery, control issues and non-dominating stuff doesn’t necessarily translate to ‘strong chance’ in my books. I think we’re forgetting the fact that the Jays really have no bullpen to speak of at this point – trade from an area of strength (minor leagues, pitching) to address an area of weakness (MLB bullpen). About as rudimentary as it gets.

  81. Great point, as Buddy Ebsen said in real life ‘ today is brand new ball game “.

  82. get off fantasy island folks, we got a major league closer with a proven track record in the prime of his career, controllable at a fair cost through 2017 for a question mark. i think the jays have enough unproven SP in the minors to keep fantasy islanders busy for years to come. let it go … 

  83. Trading Top Prospects; “AA don’t Give a Fuck!”

  84. This doesn’t apply to AA! He’s supposed to get value from nothing!

  85. I seriously fucking hate you. Buzz killer.

  86. I like this trade…. 

    If only for the fact that according to MLBTRs player page, Santos’s career to this point compares most favorably to……Tom “The Terminator” Henke.If the rest of his career pans out this way, I don’t give a shit what Molina does.  Also, lets not forget that it’s not a $30 mil/6 year contract the Jays just added.  It’s a $8.75 mil/3 year contract with a bunch of options.  Those are two very different things.  This means the 1.6 WAR/season that Fangraphs figured was needed from Santos to add positive value a moot point. How much WAR does he need to generate to make his $8.75 mil/3 year contract look good?  Significantly less.  And based on his numbers to this point, he can easily surpass that.  

  87. When I read your comments I hear Jamie’s voice <3

  88. I hope someone checked out this guys arm, this is the white sox after all

  89. I like the move on it’s own merits, but moreover continue to be impressed by the pattern in acquiring high ceiling, controllable talent.  To be clear, AA has made more than his share of Rauch type deals for crappy stopgaps, but to my recollection, every move he’s made to add a core piece has been for someone with plus potential to really exceed production for their position.  There have been none of the multi-year deals overpaying for middling talent that seem to dominate the lists of signings.  What money is “mis-spent” tends to be for the benefit of acquiring high end talent – eg, facilitating the Halladay deal, or taking on Teahan – while legitimate holes are filled with legitimate pieces that are easy to get behind.  If a 2b and starter are added along these same lines, this off-season will be a success in my books

  90. Impossible is nothing. NOTHING!!!

  91. Control issues?? Wrong guy

  92. yah Fullmer Fan they should sign someone to a big deal……….Wells and Rios worked out great didn’t it

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