Well here’s something of a surprise: according to a team release this afternoon, the Jays have designated struggling reliever Sergio Santos for assignment, bringing up Rob Rasmussen in his place, per a team release. Once thought to be the Jays’ closer of the future, and an exciting piece of the club’s bullpen as recently as the second half of last year, when he came back from injury, allowing four earned runs, eight hits, with just three walks and 22 strikeouts over 21.1 innings in the season’s final two months.

Now he’s in limbo, with the Jays possible looking to get off the hook for what remains of the $3.75-million he earns this year (he’s got a $6-million option for 2015, plus two more options for 2016 and ’17, with a $750K buyout on each option), or at the very least to get him to Buffalo, where he can try to fix the command issues that have been plaguing him, and to clear a spot for the eventual promotion of Aaron Sanchez.

Interesting. I don’t actually believe — as some are assuming — that this is about money mostly. It’s not like he’s pitched well enough to get claimed, and as stretched as we may be inclined to believe in our worst moments of dread that the Jays’ budget is, I have a hard time simply assuming that they’d need so badly to free up such a small amount of money. Hopefully it’s a situation where he’ll accept the assignment, go to Buffalo, give Sanchez the chance to help out, and then get himself back in line to contribute down the stretch.

And according to what Alex Anthopoulos has told reporters this afternoon at Rogers Centre, that is indeed exactly what is going on.

“AA says he didn’t explore a trade for Santos and neither did Santos ask to be traded. Hoping he’ll clear waivers and pitch in Buffalo,” tweets Brendan Kennedy of the Star, letting us know that the club has indeed immediately placed him on waivers.

Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi adds that the club will find out Wednesday whether Santos has been claimed or not, but the guess here — and evidently in the Jays’ front office — is that with something like $2.2-million owed him just for the remainder this year and his buyout, given the way he’s been struggling, he’ll get through and go to Buffalo. Davidi also adds that Anthopoulos insists that when healthy, Santos is a dominant reliever, and that the plan is to get him to Buffalo and get him back on track in terms of fastball command.

This year Santos has walked 17 batters in 19.2 innings (to go along with 26 strikeouts), and he’s been homer prone, line drive prone, not as ground ball heavy as in his excellent 2013, with velocity that’s been down a half a tick — though it’s certainly possible he’s been dialling back in order to help with his command.

He’s certainly not helping anybody here, and not helping himself by waiting for a chance here to get some garbage time innings in, so… yep. It actually all kinda makes sense, doesn’t it?

And according to a tweet from Alex Seixeiro of the Fan, Jeff Blair is saying that he thinks Aaron Sanchez will be up with the big club by the weekend, for whatever that’s worth. So that’s a thing.

Comments (77)

  1. So this means Sanchez is up by September at the latest


  3. This is pretty surprising. $ has to be motivator here. They dont have any reason to do this otherwise. Hes been bad this year but over not that large of a sample.

    • U even read num nuts

    • you mean aside from the reasons listed in Stoeten’s piece?
      Agree or disagree with them, but still… there are reasons.

    • *Reads headline. *Ignores body of article. *Writes comment.

      • I read the article but dont agree. They dont want him back at $6m next season. Has he really been that bad performance wise? Relievers are up and down sometimes. He still has good stuff when hes on. Really think it just came down to $/injury risk. At least nestor molina is not doing any better.

  4. I enjoy Rasmussen – it’s like Nuke LaLoosh in real life. Live stuff, has no idea where the hell the pitches are going.

  5. Does anyone know when AA is speaking to the media? There’s got to be more to this story besides dumping salary and giving Sanchez a chance.

  6. I don’t think we really need Anthopoulos to address the move. I mean does DFA’ing a reliever whose given up 18 runs over 19.2 innings (walking almost a batter a inning) really require much of an explanation?

    • Agreed. He’s not good. Doesn’t deserve a 25 man spot.

    • When you look at just these numbers no, no explanation needed.

      But given santos’ potential and projections it is a bit of a shock.

      I guess this is a now move, and Santos is no longer trusted and can’t be counted out.

      Sucks though because his stuff is filthy when he can command it

    • no, but it’s not like AA to risk losing an arm with upside.

      • He’s 31 years old… I realize his pitching arm is fresher then that number would imply but it’s not like he has any projection left. Simpliest answer is that Santos has not been good enough to warrent exercising his options and the team wanted a fresher lefty.

        • People who spend their lives trying to be good pitchers fail all the time. A converted SS with a live arm is not a pitcher with upside.

      • Not much upside here for the Jays.

        Half a season to prove he’s worth a $6 million option? Very unlikely he can turn the ship that far around.

        Upside is for whoever signs him on a cheap deal next year after his option in declined. Maybe the Jays

        • Given the jays current budgetary constraints maybe they should be selling opportunity to guys either trying to get a break or those trying to hang onto their careers?
          $5k per inning pitched, $1750 for an at bat…


  8. Probably going to be a boring explanation, like the Jays want the option of another lefty reliever in a big series against the Red Sox.

  9. Considering Delabar is already down there trying to figure his shit out, I am very doubtful this is a Santos ‘figuring his shit out’ move, too. Simply put, the move was made because the value of keeping him around was not greater than his removal. Whether that value comes from his money being off the books or someone else pitching more effectively in his stead, we will have to see.

    Or maybe with Loup and Cecil working in 2 of the 3 games they wanted another lefty option for the BoSox bats and didn’t want to let anyone else go off the 25-man roster at this time.

    I might be willing to bet this is the rationale used by AA.

  10. I don’t understand why Jenkins was sent out instead of Santos a few days ago.

  11. The timing of this is weird – why not do it when they claimed Mills – but it actually seems like a fairly clever move.

    AA says he hopes Santos will clear waivers and straighten himself out in Buffalo so he can a dominant arm in the stretch run. Believable enough. But the other option – that he gets claimed off waivers and saves them ~$2.5M (rest of salary for this season + his $0.75M buyout) to use in a trade isn’t a bad outcome either.

    Of course, he could also clear waivers, go to Buffalo and still stink, but then, you’re happy he’s not in the big league bullpen anyways.

  12. Think he’s worth a 750k gamble to anybody? I don’t. Probably in his best interests to accept the assignment, right? Unless there’s some other way around this.

    • It’s more than that per my math – $2.5M as I said above you.

      That said, it doesn’t seem like an awful idea for an out-of-it team like Texas or Houston, or his old pitching coach with the White Sox. A $2.5M gamble that you potentially find a $6M closer or late-inning reliever (and trade chip) doesn’t seem absurd. (Though we all know how much Houston values $2.5M…)

  13. No one will pick him up at that price. He will be a rock star sooner than later.

  14. I’m not gonna sit here and say I told you so, but let’s call him what he is: a one-pitch pitcher with poor command who feasts on overaggressive swingers. His upside is Brandon League.

    • you act like anyone remembers anything you said about Santos, or that anyone here had any control over Santos being on this team. Congrats on secretly cheering against him.

      That being said, no, I disagree that he’s a one-pitch pitcher.

      • I wouldn’t say I was “secretly cheering against him” – I hate people who do that generally, though I’m probably still a tad bitter about him not panning out the first time – I just found it a little much when people kept going on about what a great pitcher he was when his results were so wildly inconsistent.

        I’d be more than happy if he could recreate himself as a useful back-of-the-pen piece. But I think a lot of his CWS success was due to the novelty factor, and I think he’s going to continue to be a volatile pitcher.

    • He’s already been better than brandon league

    • You mean that same Brandon League who has $21 million in career earnings and was trusted as the closer for two different teams, neither of which was Toronto?

    • Fastball and slider make two pitches. Too bad he has been unable to command either consistently.

    • His “one pitch” is quite unhittable when he is healthy. The guy is a converted SS. You would assume he’ll have some ups and downs. The health issues have just made those harder to bear.

    • This is a guy who, before this season, in four MLB seasons and 154 games had a career 3.21 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 2.89 FIP, ERA+ of 134, 180K in 145.2 IP (11.1 K per 9 IP). These are all very solid numbers, and when he’s on, certainly not an one-trick pony.

      I’m not ready to give up on Santos yet, and he just needs to figure out his mechanics in Buffalo. I hope nobody picks him up and he’ll stay with us on the farm for a while — but I wouldn’t be surprised if some team takes a gamble on him.

  15. He’s been poor, Remember 14 man walk in Minnesota…. He couldn’t hit a barn door…….

  16. Blair on fan now:
    There is no one dumb gm in the game now to take in Santos now that jim Bowden isn’t a gm

  17. I’ll just sit here, close my eyes, and think what this Jays team would look like if Ian Kinsler had agreed to wave his NTC and then AA somehow managed to pull off Santos for Kinsler, which I believe was the rumour (someone correct me if that’s wrong). God damn.

    • It was santos for Brett Anderson that fell through because someone in that three team deal including Texas (not kinsler) failed a physical

    • I think they tried to acquire kinsler by trading Romero + prospects

    • Yes, that probably was it BA. Getting my rumours mixed up. Oh well.

    • It had to have been something close to that. Anderson might have been involved too. Santos went there for a physical.

    • His FB velo has gone down consistantly since he was with the Sox. (95.5 in 2010, 93.8 2014) So it looks like age and injuries have caught up with him. At this point in the
      season, even though he’s out of options, I think we can take their word for it, that they’d be interested in keeping him if he can find his old stuff. What they didn’t say was that
      they don’t think it’s very likely.
      Part (if not most) of Santos’ success had to do with his “effective velocity”. Technically
      his avg FB sat at an average of 95.5. But because his release point was one of the
      longest in the league (6’10″ after David Robertson’s 7′), it gave him an effective velocity
      of 98 mph. That now seems to have disappeared.

  18. Pretty meh move in the grand scheme of things.

    I disagree with the clubs opinion, I think he’likes be claimed. That said, it’s not like this is a do or die move. If he makes it to Buffalo and figures shit out, right on. And if he gets claimed, he gets claimed. Maybe they can use his $3 million somewhere else.

    • Very interesting, actually. Doubt they move him though, he has no leverage being how he’s under control for 3 more years with no say. His asking for a trade shouldn’t faze Beane

    • No it’s not.

      Road splits are terrible. We don’t need to give up prospects for JA Happ 2.0.

      • And what RobA said about Beane not trading him.

        Milone is nice insurance against an injured starter for their pennant run and could replace Hammel in the rotation next year.

  19. It’s hard to fathom that we’ve seen Delabar, Santos, and to some extent Cecil just shit the bed this season. I only say Cecil because his walk rate is up. He’s doing OK, just not dynamite / setup-man quality like last season.

    The bridge to Janssen is more like American infrastructure these days. Maybe McGowan can continue to settle into that role and Morrow can provide a shot in the arm. It means we’re still taking our chances with Happ, but I don’t think Happ can do anything out of the pen besides long-relief anyway. Morrow can be more of a power arm out of there if he isn’t ready to resume starting yet.

    • Happ is an above-average #5 man, no need to but in the pen yet, especially with the young arms in the rotation, hell I like Stoeten’s idea of rolling with a 6 man for the next couple of months, save those arms for the POST-SEASON.

  20. Had a chuckle at Blair in the Fan just now:

    “Santos gets DNA for doing SFA”

  21. Santos DFA for doing SFA….

    Hopefully someone picks him up and takes him off our hands.

  22. All I can say is hallelujah. Santos’ epically vomitous pitching has traumatized me to the point that I hate his fat face. I am in counseling.

    “Once the waiver form leaves my hand it’s not my responsibility where the guy lands.” – AA.

  23. With all those team options with relatively cheap buyouts I’d think a rebuilding team would “consider” claiming him. He was so good when he was healthy.

    If the Padres were willing to throw 10 million at Josh Johnson someone may take this plunge.

  24. I never liked Santos. He blew the home opener in 2013 that Dickey pitched. He was injured a lot. Hopefully he does well with another team.

  25. I remember after a particularly nasty display of fastball by Santos last year, I posted something along the lines of, they should trade Janssen while he’s peaking, and make Santos the closer. Note to self: don’t listen to self.

    I hope Santos sorts it out.

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  27. Sergio Santos is gone? Oh God no! I’ll miss the way he would enter the game and get lit up. He’d look great in a Yankee or Red Sox uniform.

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